sump pump spring

You’ve probably heard the saying “April showers bring May flowers.” If you’re from Chicago, you know the real truth—spring showers bring nasty floodwaters!

Chicago weather can be unpredictable. It can go from sunshine to pouring rain in an instant, and it’s important to prepare your home for any water that could enter it. For homeowners that have been down the flooded path before, they know that water damage is no joke. A couple rainy days could lead to thousands of dollars in repairs and restorations.

Sump pumps are an integral part of protecting a basement from water accumulation and damage. They can sit above or below the floor, pumping out any water they collect to the outdoors. It’s important to make sure your sump pumps are in working order before spring arrives. If your sump pump is suffering from a malfunction, it can overflow and cause your basement to fill with water.

Here are a few simple steps you can follow to make sure your sump pump keeps your basement water-free all spring long:

Remove Any Debris

To start, check around the sump pump to see if there is any debris that could be sucked up into the pump when it operates. This can include rocks, gravel, mud, or even your son’s old toy cars (how they ended up there, you’ll probably never know). Remove as much of the debris as possible. Loose objects can jam the pump and prevent it from working when it’s needed down the road.  

Debris can also get caught in the “weep hole,” or the small 1/8” hole located between the pump and the check valve. If it looks clogged, clean it with a toothpick until it’s clear.

Test Out the Float Switch

The float switch is the part of a sump pump that detects when the water level in your basement gets too high. If the float switch isn’t working, your sump pump won’t be activated when it floods.

To test the float switch, pour a few gallons of water into the sump pump’s water collection pit and wait for it to turn on. If working correctly, it should automatically remove the water then turn itself off. If it fails to remove the water, you might need to replace the switch.

sump pump diagram

Inspect the Check Valve

The check valve is located on the discharge line of your sump pump. It keeps water from flowing back into the water collection pit after the pump turns off. If your check valve is malfunctioning, the water in your discharge pipe will fall back into the collection pit when the sump pump shuts off, forcing it to restart and begin pumping again.

To make sure your check valve is working, ensure that the internal flap can swing freely. If it seems stuck, flush it out with water and vinegar to remove any mineral deposits that are making it stick. The “weep hole”, mentioned above, also needs to be clear in order for the check valve to work.

Clean the Inlet Screen

Check to see if the inlet screen is clear of debris. If it is blocked, gently remove it from the pump and rinse it with water until it is clear. A clogged inlet screen can cause your pump to work harder than it needs to, which could burn out its motor.

Check the Power

Inspect the power cord for any damage and ensure that the pump is plugged in. If the cord looks like it could get tangled with the float, use zip ties or tape to secure it in a safe position. 

Sump pumps are extremely important for homes that experience flooding or water intake of any kind. They not only prevent your basement from flooding, but they also stop mold and mildew growth, keep your crawlspace dry, and add value to your home.

By performing yearly maintenance on your sump pump, you can ensure that the pump will reliably protect your home during spring. With an efficient sump pump, a spring shower doesn’t have to mean a home disaster! Our licensed plumbers can help repair or install a sump pump for your home. Contact us today for a free estimate on all our plumbing services.