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Serving North Side of Chicago, Northshore, North & Northwest Suburbs

How to test your sump pump and why it’s so important


Don’t let a little rain turn into an expensive mess. Make sure your sump pump and back-up battery are working.

We recommend that you test all your sump pump equipment 4 times a year. The best time to do this is during a heavy storm, so you can see how well the pump is working against a real rain fall.

Start by confirming water is entering from the drain tile, or place a garden hose into the basin to increase the water level to help run the sump pump equipment.

Confirm that the sump pump is turning on/off, which means the pumps switch is ok and the sump pump is operating normally. Confirm the pump’s operation for at least 4 cycles, just to ensure there are no inconsistencies with the pump’s operation.

To check the pump’s check valve is working, hold the outside of the valve itself as the pump is operating and when the sump pump stops running, you should feel a thump inside the valve as the water has settled inside. This indicates that the flapper valve inside the check valve is working.

Finally, in self testing your sump pump equipment, you want to make sure the sump pump vent is clear. This is a very small hole in the sump pump body or casing, usually at the lower portion of the sump pump itself.

The vent allows air caught under the sump pump by the pump’s impeller to be released effectively when the sump pump needs to operate. If clogged or restricted, the sump pump will not operate properly.

To discharge all of the water and reveal the vent hole, lift up and hold the sump pump switch, or separate the two plugs and plug in the sump pump manually. You should see a small single stream of water streaming outward from the pump near the bottom.

Unplug the pump from wall outlet. Once the pump has stopped running, you may hear an air gasping noise as well. The sump pump vent is clear and ok.

We recommend the same above testing schedule and process, along with a yearly service visit to check over all pump equipment.

If you have any questions about or issues with your sump pump, give us a call at (847) 503-9497.

Click here for Sump Pump Replacement.

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