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Person cleaning out a sump pump

How to Clean a Sump Pump

Is there something not quite right with your sump pump? When was the last time you cleaned it? Regular cleaning will keep your sump pump functioning properly, so it’s always prepared for when you need it most. Most sump pump models should be cleaned once a year but check your manual for more detailed information. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning it yourself, you could always have an expert do it for you, but either way you should familiarize yourself with the process.

How to Clean a Sump Pump

Before you begin to clean out your sump pump, put safety first. Always unplug your sump pump or turn off the power on your circuit breaker. Make sure no one in your home is operating any appliances that may drain into the sump pit, like a washing machine, or any basement water draining into the sump pit, and always wear protective gloves when handling gray water. Prep your cleaning area and gather cleaning supplies like a bucket, a plastic scraper and a large plastic sheet to protect the ground. Then follow these steps:

  1. After checking to make sure your sump pump is off, disconnect the pump from the discharge pipe.
  2. Wrap your pump in plastic to prevent drips and carry it outside. Using your garden hose, rinse off any dirt or sludge from the surface of the pump. A plastic scraper or putty knife may be necessary to clean out the sump pump and remove caked on debris. Leave in a safe place to dry.
  3. Drain any standing water from your sump pit using a shop vac.
  4. If you have a check valve that can be disassembled, carefully disassemble and allow any water to drain out of your check valve first, then remove it. Rinse the valve thoroughly with water, then dry and reassemble it.
  5. Once thoroughly dry, reattach your pump to the discharge pipe.
  6. Plug your unit back in. You’re all done!

Look for Possible Damage

As you’re cleaning out your sump pump, check for any damaged or cracked components. Call a professional if you’re unsure your sump pump is functioning properly or if you need a new unit installed. With proper cleaning and maintenance, the average sump pump should last around ten years. If anything goes wrong before then, call your local Mr. Rooter at 855-591-0128 or request and estimate online.

Did your pump fail you when you needed it most? We recommend Rainbow International for water damage restoration and mould removal services. Rainbow International is part of Neighbourly’s community of home service professionals. They can also help with carpet cleaning, odour removal and air duct cleaning.


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