Nestled on the southern bank of the Potomac River, we experience some milder weather than some of the other metropolitan areas to our north and west. But this great weather comes with a cost, a high water table. This means that the sump pump is one of the most important plumbing units in your entire home. A failed sump pump is the number one cause of basement flooding in the McLean area and our McLean VA plumbing service has seen our fair share of fails. This is why we stress the importance of yearly inspections on your sump pump, especially if you have a finished basement.
Here are a few steps you can take to test your sump pump :
To make sure the pump is working, fill a 5 gallon bucket with water and pour it into the sump pump pit. If the pump kicks on, go to the outside of the home where the water discharges and make sure that this is happening. On occasion the motor will run but the pump will fail. If the pump doesn't kick on, check the float. The float work in the exact same way that the float in a toilet reservoir works, so if there is an issue you can manually bend the float arm.
Check the air hole in the discharge line. If it is clogged, clean it out. If the air hole is blocked it can cause a vacuum effect that will not allow the water to be discharged from the system and will instead try to collapse the evacuation line.
Disconnect the main power to the sump to check to see if the back-up battery is working. This is very important because large storms often knock out power while dumping large amounts of rain. This double whammy can cause significant flood damage. Our McLean VA plumbing service suggests that battery back-ups be replaced every three years.