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How to Service your Sump Pump

Sump pumpLike every other part of your house, your sump pump needs to be cleaned regularly. Many homeowners will neglect this for years at a time and then have to deal with overflow or other issues. In order to ensure your sump pump is operating at optimal efficiency, make sure you follow the steps in this article for cleaning it. If you have issues while cleaning your sump pump or are worried you might damage something, contact a professional.

Safety First

Make sure you protect yourself above all else. Make sure the sump pump is unplugged and powered off. You can turn off your circuit breaker if you’re unable to unplug it. Ensure that no one in the house is going to run an appliance or cause water to drain into the sump pump during this process. Typically water will come from washing machines or basement plumbing, but it’s not a bad idea to make sure no water is used in the house during this process.

After this prepare your supplies. You will need to gather supplies like a bucket, gloves, plastic scraper, plastic drop cloth, safety goggles, and clothing you can move in. Always wear gloves when handling gray water, no exceptions.


  1. After you have ensured that the sump pump is turned off and disconnected, disconnect the pump from the discharge pipe. Make sure they’re completely separated or you won’t’ be able to properly clean it.
  2. Wrap the pump in plastic and carry it outside. Make sure it is completely sealed or you risk dripping inside.
  3. Take your garden hose or another source of water and rinse off any dirt or sludge from the exterior surface of the pump. You should be able to remove the majority of it with just the pressure from the hose.
  4. Using the plastic scraper mentioned earlier, try to clean off the rest of the debris. There might be some caked on debris on the exterior that needs to be cleaned. Scrape out the inside as well to clean out the rest of the sump pump.
  5. Let dry.


  1. Drain any water left in the sump pump using a wet/dry shop vac. If you don’t have one available, look into a rental service or borrowing one from a friend.
  2. If there is a check valve on the pump, see if it can be disassembled safely. If there is a check valve, carefully take it apart and allow any remaining water to drain out of the valve. Once all water has drained, remove the valve from the sump pump. Use your garden hose or another water source to rinse the valve thoroughly, then let it dry. After it has dried, reassemble it.
  3. If you feel that the pump is not completely cleaned yet, repeat the process above until all parts of the pump are clean.
  4. Let the pump dry completely.
  5. Once the pump is completely dry, reattached it to the discharge pipe.

Now you’re done! You can turn the unit back on and use water in the house again.

Issues and Damage

If you are worried you have broken a piece or notice damage to your sump pump during this process, contact a professional. You could cause damage to your structure or the pump if you put a faulty sump pump back into the system. Look for cracks or damage on the components during the cleaning process. The average sump pump lasts 10 years with proper maintenance and cleaning, so make sure you take care of yours.

If you have any questions feel free to contact Pilgrim Plumbing at (781) 253-2055.

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