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How to Test Your Sump Pump

Test Your Sump Pump

Sump pumps are essential for protecting your home against water damage during heavy-rains and serious storms. Sump pumps remove any excess water in your basement, crawlspaces and around your foundation, and transport that water away from your home. It’s important to test your sump pump twice a year, before the spring and fall seasons, so that you can avoid flooding and make sure it’s ready for when you need it. Luckily, testing your sump pump is easy and only takes a few minutes.

Sump Pump

1. Free your exterior drain pipe of any debris

Make sure that it’s still directing water away from your foundation. You can also locate your sump pump in the basement or crawlspace, and remove any debris that may have gathered in or around your pump to prevent it from clogging.

2. Check the pump's power

Locate the two cords running to an outlet from your sump pump. One cord is the pump cord and the other float cord. The pump cord will be plugged into the back of the float cord. Unplug the two cords, and plug in the pump cord only. This should turn on the pump and you should hear the motor running. If it’s working, re-connect the cords and plug them back in.

3. Pour water in the pump pit

If your sump pump only has one cord, you can test it by slowly pouring 5 gallons of water into the pump pit. The float should rise and the pump should then turn on. Once the water gets pumped, make sure that the pump turns itself off.

Contact your local plumber

If you’re testing your sump pump and it doesn’t seem to be working properly, contact your local plumber right away. Sump pumps typically last up to 10 years, but if it runs often, you may consider replacing it every 5-7 years. Sump pumps are only good in an emergency if they work, so take the time and test your sump pump regularly! You don’t want to be stuck in a bad position wondering how to clean up after water damage.

Don't forget to stop by your local Do it Best store or shop online at for sump pumps and sump pump parts.

While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.