A well-maintained sump pump saves you money on repairs by keeping water from flooding your basement. However, if the discharge pipe becomes blocked, the pump will be unable to move water from your basement to the outside of your house. In addition, debris may have clogged the drain pipe if the water in your sump pump pit is moving slowly or not. This article will help you learn how to unclog a sump pump without assistance from a plumber.
Tools that You Need to Unclog a Sump Pump
You can unclog most clogs using household equipment. However, if you don’t have a ShopVac in the basement, you may need to rent one.
- Wastebaskets for the wet sump pump
- A flashlight for inspecting the discharge line
- A screwdriver for removing clogs
- A bucket of water for testing purposes
- Create a new screen if the existing one is ineffective.
- New screen if the current one is not effective
Steps on How to Unclog a Sump Pump
Step 1: Disconnect the sump pump.
Begin unclogging your sump pump by disconnecting it from the discharge lines and electrical connection, then remove it from the sump basin. Next, place the pump somewhere; we recommend putting it in a wastebasket to collect any water accumulated on the pump.
Step 2: Clear the discharge pipes.
Check to see whether anything is clogging the discharge pipes’ outlet. It might be a trapped animal or ice from the winter. You can use a plumber’s snake to remove obstructions inside the lines. After eliminating all objects, try testing the pump by filling the sump pit with water using a hose. And if the water level drops, you have cleared the clog. If not, then proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Thoroughly clean the sump pit and intake filter.
Remove the basin’s lid. Examine the sides and bottom of the pit for silt accumulation or other debris blocking the pump’s intake strainer. Try to remove as much silt as possible and clean up the filter’s surrounds. Then check the pump to see whether it has improved.
Step 4: Clean out the pump’s intake and impeller.
Remove the pump from the pit by disconnecting its connections. Then check the suction eye for debris and remove it. Also, examine the impeller within the suction eye and remove anything lodged inside it.
Step 5. Reattach pump
Reconnect the sump pump to the discharge lines, the alarm, and the power supply. Then, perform another test to ensure that the pump is operational and that you have properly reattached the drain lines. The float switch should rise when the pit fills with water and start the pump. Ensure also to test the check valve.
If your pump still does not remove water, it is possible that it’s might not be a clogging problem. If you have a weeping hole drilled at the discharge to allow trapped air to escape, check whether the valve is properly installed.
Step 6: Consult a plumber
When everything else fails, it’s time to bring in the experts. Though it will cost you, it will always be less than the expense of water damage repairs.
What Are the Causes of a Clogged Sump Pump?
1. Corrosion or scaling
After several years, the inside surface of a metallic discharge pipe can rust or develop scales from water that has flowed through it. Treating this can be difficult and may need the appropriate chemicals to get the desired results. Besides, more serious cases may require the entire replacement of the pipes. Also, since now you know how to unclog a sump pump, this won’t be a big issue to deal with.
2. Uncovered sump pump
An uncovered sump pump usually attracts a variety of items into the sump pit where the pump is located. Plastics, toys, and other objects you have stored within will likely end up in the hole installed at the basement’s lowest point.
Install an airtight sump pump cover if possible. It will prevent pets, children, and objects from falling, keeping moisture and gases within. Furthermore, if you have a submersible, the noise levels will reduce.
3. Frozen discharge
During the winter, the discharge pipe is prone to freezing. A simple solution is to install a downward sloping pipe outside. This ensures that the water completely drains from the pipes. Alternatively, bury the pipes below the frost line. It reduces the likelihood of frozen pipes, but it also preserves the appearance of your home.
4. Clogged strainer
Some sump pumps contain filters at the water intake towards the bottom of the pump. You use this component to screen away bigger materials that may become lodged in the pump’s impeller. If you haven’t cleaned the filter in a long time, dirt, pebbles, rust, and other debris may accumulate. We recommend clearing out the filter once or twice a year since it might reduce the effectiveness of your sump pump even though it is not completely covered by debris.
5. Silt build-up
Groundwater from outside might try to enter your home through micro cracks. As it moves through this process, the water brings small dirt particles known as silt, which finally settle at the bottom. When there is enough of it, it causes congestion.
Therefore, ensure you clean up the bottom of the sump pit once or twice a year to remove silt and other debris that may have gotten into the sump pump. If there is a lot of mud, consider installing a sump pump stand or an inch or two of gravel. Also, look for the source of the silt to see if there is anything you can do about it.
Methods to Avoid Clogging Sump Pump
1. Back up your sump pump.
When you backup your sump pump, it ensures that you have protection even if something goes wrong. It keeps your basement dry while you work to resolve the issue. Besides, a battery backup sump pump will ensure the system is still running in case of a power outage.
2. Sewage pump
Sump pumps are only intended for use with clean groundwater. However, if you can’t avoid having sediments enter your pit, consider installing a sewage pump to prevent any problems. It can handle materials up to 2 inches in diameter with ease.