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Sump pump cleaning expert tips on how to do it right

For homes that have them, sump pumps serve an essential purpose by keeping water from flooding the basement and causing massive amounts of property damage. But just like any other major appliance or fixture, from time to time, a sump pump will need to be taken apart and cleaned to ensure it stays fully functional when it’s needed. Otherwise, if a sump is never cleaned, it not only can create the potential for flooding at the most inopportune moments, but it can also become inundated with bacterial growth, causing health concerns and foul odors. Rather than risking it, homeowners can follow these steps to clean their home’s sump pump and keep everything in working order.

Sump Pump Cleaning Preparation

Before getting into the actual sump pump, homeowners will want to make sure they have the correct equipment on hand, including:

Protective gloves

A large plastic sheet or tarp

A deep bucket

A wet-dry vacuum

A functional, outdoor water hose

A plastic scraping tool

In addition to supplies, homeowners will want to take some precautionary steps before getting to work:

  • Ensure that any appliances that typically drain into the sump pump are not in use while trying to clean the unit. If possible, turn off the water to the area of the home with the sump pump. Turning off the water to the entire home is unnecessary, but helpful for additional precaution.
  • Unplug the sump pump, or for extra caution, switch off the circuit supplying power to the pump.
  • If it can be disassembled, drain the check valve into the bucket before disposing of the water. Technically, this can be done later in the cleaning process as well, so it’s up to the homeowner’s discretion when to follow this step.
Cleaning the Sump Pump

With the preparations complete, and proper precautions in place, it’s time to set to work actually cleaning the sump pump:

Disconnect the discharge pipe. Then, to avoid spreading sludge and gray water around the floor near the sump pump, either wrap the pump in the plastic sheet or tarp before removing it from the pit. Alternately, homeowners can place the plastic on the ground near the pump, and lift the pump onto the sheet — both methods work, so follow whichever feels most comfortable, and minimizes the mess.

  • Wrapped inside the plastic, carefully transport the pump outside to an open area near the water hose. Use the hose to rinse off as much of the build-up from the pump as possible. Afterward, use the plastic scraper to tackle the excess. Repeat as necessary until the pump is clean. 
  • If the check valve has not been drained, this is the time to do it. After disposing of the water, use the wet-dry vac to suck up any remaining water in the pit.
  • After transporting the pump back inside, lower the pump back into the pit, and reconnect the discharge pipe and check the valve. Then, plug it back in, and restore power and water if they have been shut off. 

As can be seen, cleaning a sump pump can be quite an involved process, but it’s worthwhile to ensure everything keeps running smoothly. If any of the above proves to be too difficult or daunting for the average homeowner, don’t fret! Instead, consider calling the plumbing experts at Duane Blanton Family Home Services. The licensed technicians at Duane Blanton have over 30 years of experience to draw on, providing them the expertise to sort out any potential sump pump issues homeowners may have. Give the professionals at Duane Blanton Family Home Services a call, at (815) 781-2567, or use their online scheduling portal to conveniently schedule right from your phone or desktop browser!


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