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If you’ve read our post on water main valves, this is the followup, featuring another important way you can prevent accidental water damage on your home. If you haven’t, I encourage you to go back and make sure you’re caught up on all the best ways to keep things safe and clean. It can seem overwhelming at times, but water damage prevention really does come down to just that- prevention. Careful checking, keeping an eye on things, and being aware of where damage can originate.

What is a sump pump?

Simply put, a sump pump is a device used to keep moisture and water out of your basement. The most common type is called a pedestal pump, an option that is less expensive and longer lasting than some other models, making it a popular choice for home basements. It should have a power supply with a ground fault interrupter, which will prevent electric shocks, and a motor with 1/3-1/4 horsepower. The motor operates using a ‘float switch’ or a ball that moves along a metal rod and indicates water levels.

How to check a sump pump

If a sump pump prevents water damage by keeping dampness and liquid out, then it stands to reason that a pump malfunctioning or even not working as well as it should could be a recipe for disaster. Regularly check your sump pump to ensure that it is working correctly by following these simple steps:

  • Make sure your pump is plugged in! As simple as it sounds, this is a surprisingly common mistake, and possibly the easiest to remedy.
  • Test the pump by filling the sump pit (the indentation around it) with water and watching to be sure it drains away
  • Examine the drain hose of the pump itself- water should be carried at least 20 feet away from the house to prevent it from pooling and causing flooding or water damage near the foundation
  • Check the breaker if your pump is plugged in and still not working, and consider adding a backup battery so that it will continue working even during a power outage, which can occur during a hurricane or flash flood
  • Make sure the drainage pump isn’t frozen or clogged, so the water can actually escape

Whether you’re familiar with sump pumps or not, by the end of these checks, you should be able to identify any possible issues and troubleshoot some of them yourself. If you have any questions, issues, or flooding concerns, contact the Flood Medix! We have the expertise to make sure that your home is safe, dry, and prepared- any time of year.