Pittsburgh Sump Pump Maintenance Anyone Can Do

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They may be small and relegated to some damp hole in your basement or somewhere out in your yard, but a heck of a lot is expected of them. Not just in the amount of work, they’re expected to perform, but they can’t be late or a no-show when they’re needed.

It’s your sump pump. Yours must be operational when it’s time for it to operate because most insurance policies exclude water damage caused by a failed sump pump.

In the city of Pittsburgh, sump pump maintenance is crucial. So for those who are depending on theirs to be operational when the rain starts coming down, who better to turn to for advice than from Pittsburgh plumbers.

Premier Pittsburgh plumbers like the folks at Kwiatkowski Plumbing, who we contacted at 412-681-9525 and advised us to go through our system once a year.

Set a Sump Pump Maintenance Schedule

The rule is once a year or once every six months for high-use systems.

It all begins with the purchase and installation of your sump pump. Start by making sure to set aside any documents that come with it. Save basic information like the make and model, and for sure a parts list if it has one.

Then put the papers in a ziplock baggie, and if it’s in a basement, use a tack or a small nail to attach them to a wall or a post.

Put it somewhere near the pump, so there won’t be any confusion if they are ever needed. Another item you could throw in the baggie is extra hose clamps for the check valve because they’re easily stripped out.

Also, if you have a pump failure alarm that has batteries in it, you may want to include enough of those in the baggie so that they can be changed out once a year.

One thing’s for sure, and that is if your sump pump should ever fail to come on when needed, you don’t want your alarm to fail as well.

How Does a Sump Pump Alarm Work?

Its job is to sound off if your sump pump fails to activate.

A sump pump alarm is optional. You don’t necessarily need to have one to pump the water out, but they’re lovely for peace of mind. Even so, if your sump pump is located outside, exposed to the elements, a sump pump alarm in Pittsburgh may be more challenging to install.

It’s the rising water that comes with a failed sump pump that activates the alarm. It could be a float system, but the most popular seem to be sump pump alarms that use an electronic trigger.

In simple terms, picture an alarm that looks very similar to a home smoke alarm positioned a few inches off the floor. Then underneath this contraption, two electrical contact points are positioned away from each other.

As long as there’s no rising water, everything is fine. But should your sump pump fail and water begins to rise, it’s that increasing water that makes the connection between the two electrical contact points and that in turn activates the alarm.

The one weak point of this type of floor-mounted alarm system is that you have to be home because if the rising water keeps going, it will eventually shut it down; unless it’s set on a floating platform.

How to Service a Sump Pump?

There is something that you need to do first and last.

But for those folks who are rolling up their sleeves to start doing their sump pump maintenance in Pittsburgh, there are priorities. They have their toolbox in hand and are clomping down the stairs, planning on making a quick business of what needs to be done.

So then, just what is the first thing it needs to be done for proper sump pump maintenance? The answer to that question is that this person heading down the stairs in their work shoes needs to turn right around and head back up.

This is because the very first thing that you need to do before a finger is laid on your sump pump is you need to go out to the power box and turn the switch off. If it isn’t identified in writing, find it and label it with a felt pen.

Also, while you’re at it, you may consider picking up a padlock at the local hardware store and putting it on the bottom of your home’s power box. Then, even with the switch is off, make a point of unplugging the pump before you start working on it.

This is because you may have flipped the wrong switch. Then the last thing that needs to be done during Pittsburgh sump pump maintenance is to fill the sump with water and check to see that it works correctly.

Give Your Sump Pump in Pittsburgh a Bath

Yours probably needs a good cleaning.

A lot of what goes into servicing a sump pump revolves around the removal of crud. As the water flows in and enters the system, it carries a lot of it along.

So according to the Pittsburgh plumbers at Kwiaktowski Plumbing, after shutting off the power, the first thing to do is disconnect the check valve so the pump can be lifted out of the sump.

Then if you can, use a water hose to give it a good spray cleaning. Then wipe it down and use a wire brush or a small screwdriver to clean all the teeth in the wraparound water inlet located at the bottom of the pump. Then the next item to focus on is the float valve.

The float valve has to function smoothly because it triggers the pump to come on. So give it a good cleaning and wipe down and then test it with your finger to ensure that it’s not hanging up. You need to ensure that all the float valve needs is a light nudge to come up and activate the pump.