Torrential rains are in the skies for the Baltimore, Maryland and Washington area this week. Don’t get caught in the storm with a failed sump pump. Keep the water out of your basement and house with a simple sump pump check you can do yourself.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket with water. Pour the water slowly in the sump pit until it fills to the top. When the water level rises to a certain point, the float should trigger the sump pump to turn on. You will hear the motor of the sump pit churning and the water level should begin to lower. If the pump does not turn on check the following:

  1. Float Trigger/Switch: Look into the pit and see if the float is caught on anything. The float trigger will only work if it can freely move up and down in the pit as the water rises and lowers.

  2. Breaker: When your sump pump overheats it sometimes trips the breaker. Go to your electric panel to ensure all of the breakers are switched on.

  3. Power to the Outlet: In rare cases, sump pumps stop working because of a failed electrical component. To test the electricity, plug a lamp into the outlet where your sump pump’s power is supplied. If the outlet is bad, run an extension cord from another one to power your pump.

  4. Battery: Some households have a battery back up system as a secondary source of power in case of a power outage during a storm.  If you think your battery is on the frits get it tested to see if it still holds a charge. Many local auto parts stores can test your battery.

If your sump pump is not in working condition contact your trusted plumber to diagnose the problem before it’s too late! A failed sump pump that isn’t addressed can lead to a flooded basement.

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