Bob Vila Radio: Sump Pumps Need Maintenance, Too

Periodic maintenance ensures that your sump pump remains a first line of defense against the extensive, expensive damage caused by basement flooding.

With melting snow and spring rains just around the corner, now is the most important time of year for sump pump maintenance.

Sump Pump Maintenance


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Listen to BOB VILA ON SUMP PUMP MAINTENANCE or read the text below:

First things first, remove the cover on the sump pump pit, check the interior, and get rid of any debris that’s settled there. To test the pump, simply pour some water into the pit. Once the water level reaches nine inches or so, the pump should kick on and send water out of the house via the exit pipe.

Provided the sump pump itself is working as it should be, give a little thought to the exit pipe. Lots of folks install flexible hoses on the end of their exit pipes to help move pumped water even farther away from the house. In winter, those hoses are often removed to prevent damage from freezing. The trouble is that if the pump runs during the winter (without the extension hose in place), water exits right next to the foundation. To get around that problem now or in the future, keep a couple of hoses on hand. If you notice the sump pump running a lot during a period of freezing temperatures, simply reattach one of the hoses to the exit pipe. If it freezes, switch it with the other hose. It can also help to wrapping some pipe insulation around the hose.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.