8 Steps to Cleaning Your Sump Pump Properly

Sump pumps are an integral part of maintaining a dry basement. Due to the nature of this helpful household appliance, sump pumps require regular cleaning to keep their systems functioning properly. We suggest annual sump pump cleaning, including removing and washing off the pump, clearing the check valve, removing water and debris from the pit, and more. 

8 Steps to Cleaning Your Sump Pump Properly

If it has been a while since you’ve cleaned your sump pump, or this is the first time you’ve even considered it, continue reading for seven steps to clean your sump pump correctly.

What you’ll need

First, it’s important to gather the necessary materials and items for cleaning the sump pump. 

  • A tarp or plastic sheeting
  • A tool useful for scraping debris
  • A large bucket
  • A garden hose
  • A wet/dry vacuum for final cleanup

How to clean a sump pump

Before anything, make sure it’s not rainy outside, or you don’t have any appliances that drain into the sump pump basin. It’s important that there is no water coming into the area as you are working on the sump pump. 

  1. Disconnect the sump pump from the power supply. Unplug the sump pump or turn off the circuit breaker at the power source. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! Attempting to repair or clean a sump pump while connected to the power source is extremely dangerous.
  2. Wrap the pump. Save yourself from extra cleanup by wrapping the bottom of the pump itself in the plastic tarp/sheeting. Set the pump in an area that will allow you to access all sides for easy cleaning.
  3. Clean the pump. Now for the fun part. Start the cleaning process by spraying the pump with the garden hose. Once the pump is sprayed and all loose residue has been removed, use the scraping tool to remove any stuck-on debris.
  4. Rinse the pump. Spray the pump again with the garden hose, rinsing off any last residue that might be remaining.
  5. Drain the check valve. Keep your bucket handy while draining the check valve. Any water from the check valve will be caught in the bucket. 
  6. Use the wet/dry vacuum to remove standing water from the sump pit. This step is self-explanatory. Use your shop vac to remove excess water from the sump pit. You’ll also likely need the shop vac to clean up any water or residue that might have made a mess of the cleaning space. 
  7. Reconnect the pump. Reconnect the sump pump and make sure all components are situated in the sump pit as they were before you started the cleaning process. Reconnect the sump pump to the power source, and be sure to turn the breaker to the ‘on’ position if you turned it off during step two. 

Bonus step: Make a note of the date you cleaned the sump pump and keep it accessible for reference. You’ll want to add this maintenance item to your home maintenance list every year, or more often for homes with hardworking sump pumps due to severe weather. 

Sump pump maintenance and installation

If you run into any issues while cleaning your sump pump – or you realize it’s time to upgrade an older unit – talk to the helpful team. We’re here to help keep your basement dry and safe all year round. Call us today.

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