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How to Clean a Sump Pump - Maintenance Tips

how to clean a sump pump

A sump pump is an important part of your septic system because it pumps excess standing water out of the ground.

If you do not maintain this piece of equipment, problems can arise such as a backup which will cause sewage to back up into your house or basement.

Read how to clean a sump pump and how often you should be doing so in order to keep things running smoothly!

How to Clean a Sump Pump

This pump is a vital component of any home with a basement. By pumping water out of the basement and away from the foundation, sump pumps help to prevent flooding and serious water damage.

Unfortunately, sump pumps can become clogged with litter, rendering them useless. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to clean a sump pump.

The following steps will help to ensure that your appliance is in good working order.

1. Unplug and Disconnect Your Sump Pump

Before you begin, it is important to disconnect your sump pump and disconnect it from any power source. This will help to prevent any accidents while you are cleaning the pump.

If your sump pump is hardwired, you will need to turn off the circuit breaker that controls the pump before proceeding.

Once the pump is disconnected, you can remove it from the sump pit.

2. Remove the Pump from the Basin

Once the pump is unplugged, you can remove it from the sump pit. Be careful not to damage the discharge pipe as you remove the pump.

If your sump pump has a check valve, be sure to note its orientation before removing the pump.

The check valve helps to prevent water from flowing back into the pit, and it must be installed in the correct position when you reassemble the pump.

If your sump pump does not have a check valve, you can skip this step.

If you are not sure how to remove the pump from the basin, consult your owner’s manual.

Once the pump is removed, take it outside and proceed to the next step.

3. Clean the Pump

The next step is to clean the pump. Start by removing any refuse from the impeller, volute, and discharge port. A small brush can be used to scrape any stubborn debris.

If you see any damage to the pump, be sure to replace any damaged parts before proceeding.

Once the pump is clean, you can reassemble it and reinstall it in the sump pit. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when reassembling the pump.

If you have any questions, consult your owner’s manual or contact a professional for assistance.

4. Drain the Sump Basin

The next step is to drain into the sump basin. This can be done by removing the drain plug and allowing the water to drain out of the pit.

Once the pit is empty using a bucket, you can replace the drain plug and fill the pit with fresh water.

5. Remove and Clean the Grate

This step is to remove and clean the grate. The grate helps to keep refuse out of the sump pit, and it should be cleaned on a regular basis.

To clean the grate, simply remove it from the pit and scrub it with a stiff brush. Be sure to rinse away any debris before replacing the grate.

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6. Clean your Sump Pump Basin

Cleaning your pump basin is important to do every few months. You can do this by adding a half cup of bleach to the basin and filling it with fresh water.

Allow the water to sit for a few hours and may drain into the sump pit. This will help to kill any bacteria that may be present in the water.

7. Put the Sump Pump Back

After you have cleaned the pump and basin, you can reassemble the sump pump and put it back in the pit.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual for instructions on how to properly reassemble the pump.

8. Reconnect the Discharge Pipe

The next step is to reconnect the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe helps to carry water away from the sump pit, and it must be installed correctly to ensure the proper operation of the pump.

9. Plug-In and Test the Pump

Reconnect the pump to the pipe that carries water away and screw the sleeve on tightly.

Once the discharge pipe is reconnected, you can plug in the sump pump and turn it on.

Test the pump by adding water to the pit. The pump should activate and begin removing water from the pit.

If the pump does not operate properly, consult your owner’s manual or contact a professional for assistance.

By following these steps, you can keep your sump pump functioning well. Regular care will help to prolong the life of your pump and prevent costly repairs.

How Often Should I Clean My Sump Pump?

You should clean your sump pump every few months to ensure that it is in good working order. Regular care will help to prolong the life of your pump and prevent costly repairs.

What Kind of Sump Pump Cleaner Should I Use?

You can use a variety of different cleaners to clean your pump. A mild detergent or bleach solution will work well. You can also purchase a sump pump cleaner at your local hardware store.

Is Vinegar an Effective Cleaning Agent?

Vinegar is an effective cleaning agent and can be used to clean your pump. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water and use a brush to scrub the pump. Rinse well with clean water.

How Long Can a Sump Pump Last?

With proper care and maintenance, an average sump pump should last for 10 years. It is important to perform regular checks to ensure that the pump is working properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I pour vinegar in my sump pump?

Vinegar is a strong acid. Its enzymes aid in the breakdown of even the toughest dirt, grime, and grease. It's not only a great sump pump cleaner; it's also an excellent floor, tile, and bathtub cleanser.

Will bleach hurt my sump pump?

A small amount of bleach will not hurt your sump pump, but too much can damage the pump's seals. When using bleach to clean your pump, always ask a professional for help.

How do I clear my sump pump debris?

The best way to clear your sump pump litter is by using a garden hose. Insert the hose into the discharge pipe and turn on the water. The water pressure will help to remove any refuse that may be blocking the pipe.


Cleaning your pump is an important part of regular maintenance. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your sump pump is in good working order.

Regular cleaning will help to prolong the life of your pump and prevent costly repairs. Call us today for a professional plumbing service if all fails.

About The Author:

Scott Reyes, our proficient Managing Editor and a true plumbing aficionado with over 10 years of dedicated expertise. With an in-depth understanding of the plumbing industry, Scott is your go-to source for all things plumbing-related. His wealth of experience ensures that our content is not only informative but also a reliable resource for your plumbing needs. Dive into Scott's articles to tap into his extensive knowledge and insights.
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