Here’s what you need to know about sump pump upkeep this winter

If your home has a basement, there’s a good chance that it has a sump pump. Here in the Chicago area, sump pumps are essential to the protection of basements from water incursion. Yet, many homeowners take their sump pump for granted. In reality, you should be checking your pump regularly to ensure that it’s functioning properly and protecting your home. In this article, we’ll provide a guide to sump pump upkeep and some signs you should call us for sump pump services and a free plumbing inspection.

Why is a working sump pump so important?

Sump pump upkeep can help keep your basement dry and safe during times of heavy rain here in Chicagoland.

Sump pump upkeep can help keep your basement dry and safe during times of heavy rain here in the Chicago area.

During the winter and spring months here in the Chicago area, heavy snow and rain can saturate the ground with excess water. Since many basements are below the water table, water will begin to seep up from the ground into the basement. The sump pump, being located at the lowest physical point in the home, is the first line of defense. When it senses water intrusion, the pump kicks on, sucking in water, and pumping it through pipes to places where it can safely drain off.

During times of heavy rain or snowmelt, a basement sump pump is the only thing preventing your basement from flooding, causing significant water damage and leading to needed mold remediation.

There are many different types of sump pumps and ways that sump pumps can be set up. However, here’s what is true for all of them: a working sump pump is essential. In the next section, we’ll review how you can confirm that your pump is working as expected—and what to do if it is not.

How can you make sure your sump pump is working properly?

You should periodically check your home’s sump pump to ensure that it’s working as it should. Here are some quick and easy ways to test that your pump is operational and diagnose any potential issues:

  • Since they pull in water from the bottom, most sump pumps only work properly if standing upright. Many sump pump disasters occur because the pump has been accidentally knocked over.
  • The pump should automatically turn on when it senses water. Take some water in a bucket to the sump pump and confirm that the device turns on and is actively draining the water. If not, you’ll need to give us a call.
  • The pump has to put water somewhere. Make sure that the discharge pipe is free of any blockages, including leaves or rocks. These can prevent the pump from effectively removing water from the basement.
  • Take a look at the sump pump’s electrical cord to ensure that it isn’t damaged or fraying. A sump pump needs to be plugged into a grounded outlet with its own breakers. If the sump pump doesn’t turn on during your test, try resetting the breakers and seeing if that resolves the issue.
  • If your sump pump relies on a backup power supply—such as a propane generator—you should also confirm that the generator is working before the start of winter.

Again: when in doubt, call in one of our plumbers for a free inspection. When it comes to a sump pump and the prospect of your basement flooding, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

When should you call the experts?

At King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we specialize in sump pump upkeep, repair, and installation. No matter what your sump pump needs are here in Chicagoland, we have you covered. Call us today for 24/7 emergency plumbing service and a free plumbing inspection. We’ll send one of our experienced, friendly plumbers out to your home to diagnose the issue with the pump and make the right fix.

Remember: proactive, fast action can be the difference between a dry and flooded basement this winter. When in doubt, call us.