sump pump

The 5 Biggest Sump Pump Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

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Having a sump pump can be a blessing to homeowners.

It is one of the most important components of your house that you need to take good care of. As it can be a lifesaver when things go wrong such as flooding.

However, homeowners sometimes unknowingly and unintentionally harm the sump pump when trying to do maintenance work.

Here are the 5 biggest sump pump mistakes you can easily avoid and extend the lifespan of your sump pump.

The 5 Most Common Sump Pump Mistakes Homeowners Make and How to Avoid Them

Before we take a look at the most common sump pump mistakes homeowners make and how to avoid them, it is important to know what a sump pump is, what does it do, and why it is important to take proper care of it.

A sump pump is a pump that is used to remove water from a sump basin designed to gather water, usually installed in the basement of a house.

The main purpose of a sump pump is to pump and redirect the excess water away from the basement of the house to a designated place such as a city storm drain. Thus preventing your basement from flooding.

Sump pumps are usually seen in lowland areas where flooding is frequent due to excessive rainfall, or storm surge.

Though it can be a lifesaver, failing to properly and regularly perform sump pump maintenance work will lead to malfunctioning or even failure.

You don’t want that. Do You?!

Now, let’s dive into the top 5 biggest sump pump mistakes you can easily avoid.

Mistake #1: Not testing the sump pump

Like all other machinery, the sump pump also needs to be tested regularly to keep it functional when the need arises.

It is recommended to test it twice each year: once before spring and once before fall begins. That should give you enough time to prepare for the worst of weather conditions like summer and winter. Ensure that your sump pump is ready to tackle the water problem when it is needed.

Is it hard to test it? You may ask.

It is as easy as pouring water into it.

  • Fill a 5-gallon bucket with water.
  • Slowly pour the water into the sump basin until the float gets activated.
  • You should now see the water level slowly dropping
  • Eventually, the pump should shut off itself once the float reaches the designated threshold level.
  • If this is not what happens, you know there are some issues, and you may need troubleshooting or repairing or replacements.

Mistake #2: Not keeping Backup Power

You may think – well, my sump pump is directly wired into my home’s electrical power system. Then why bother wasting money on a backup power system.

See, what happens is that when storm surges occur, the first thing that goes out is electrical power (like it or not).

Therefore, it is wise to keep an alternative battery backup system or a generator to provide your sump pump the power it needs to operate even in the worst-case scenario like blackouts and storm surges.

And believe me, when strong storms do come, a backup powered sump pump may be the difference between a wet and submerged basement and a dry basement.

Mistake #3: Float Switch issues

A sump pump’s float switch is responsible for dictating the pump motor when to activate or deactivate the motor, based on the water level in the basin. But to do so, the float needs sufficient space to float and sink freely.

Therefore, if there is any obstruction along the way, then the sump pump fails to work as intended.

The result could be either that the pump is unnecessarily running (thus burning up the pump’s motor) or it is not running when it needs to be.

Mistake #4: Not checking or inspecting the discharge pipes and the check valves

The discharge pipe is the channel through which the water gets thrown away to a designated safe place.

Hence, if there are too many deposits of large debris in the discharge pipes or some sort of obstructions, the water will not be able to get discharged properly.

Also, since most pipes are buried underground, it may, at times, be hard to detect any leakage or broken parts. So you may need to seek professional assistance in this case.

Do inspect for clogs or damage regularly and make sure that the pipes are not bent and able to discharge the water without any impediments.

Mistake #5: Debris in the Pump

Keep the pump away from debris, as any sort of debris can lead to a faulty sump pump.

With that said, take measures to keep the surrounding areas near the pump and in the basin free of debris.

Make sure not to sit your pump on loose silt or small pieces of gravel, which can easily be sucked up into the pump. Instead, place it on steady, flat brick or platform.

You may also consider putting a filter fabric in the basin to keep away large debris. 


Regular and proper maintenance is the key to extending the longevity of your sump pump. However, when providing maintenance works, the above mistakes are common for homeowners and need to be avoided.

It is recommended to seek professional help during installation as faulty installation could lead to unwanted problems and expense in the long run. Also, in case of a damaged pump that needs replacement or repair, seek certified professionals.

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