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Cleaning a Sump Pump

sump pump.jpeg

Category: Plumbing

Although basements are becoming more prevalent all around California, many older homes still lack them. If you're one of the fortunate Californians with a basement, you could have a sump pump to prevent floods (and if you don't, you should think about getting one). The history of basements in California, the characteristics of sump pumps, and sump pump maintenance will all be covered in this blog.

Homes in California with basements

Basements are uncommon in Californian homes, but why? California experienced a significant housing boom after World War II, necessitating swift building. Although some homes feature what are known as "California basements," modest ones only big enough to accommodate a water heater, HVAC systems, circuit breakers, and so forth, some developers would forego basements in order to speed up construction.

The frequent earthquakes in California are another factor in the rarity of basements. Today, we are aware that basements are a secure location to flee to in the event of an earthquake, but back then, builders were not aware of this. Therefore, the likelihood is that a west coast property you own or purchase was built between 1945 and 1980 will either not have a basement or have a very small one.

Today, new complexes are adding basements designed for living, relaxing, or possibly a "man cave." The International Residential Code (IRC) and California state amendments must be followed while building these basements (Sections R401 & R402). There is no reason to believe that these basements are unsafe during earthquake activity if they were constructed in accordance with code. You should also have a sump pump in these basement-containing homes.

How do sump pumps work?

A sump pump is a device used to pump water out of basements that have flooded due to storm runoff, broken pipes, or other causes. It comprises of the pump itself, a drainage tank where water can safely accumulate, and a sump, which is a trench dug at the lowest point of the room it is guarding.

How then does a sump pump function? Water goes into the sump from below when it enters the room. When the sump has accumulated enough water, the system turns on and pumps the water away from the home's foundation.

Types of Sump Pumps

Pedestal and submersible models of sump pumps are available. The pedestal type's motor is visible but is also easy to service because it is positioned on top of the tank. The submersible engine is located inside the tank, which makes it harder to maintain but keeps it out of sight.

Sump pumps can also be manual or electric. Once a particular level of water is reached, electric sump pumps turn on automatically (be sure to also have a battery backup sump pump). If water damage happens while you're gone from the house, there isn't much you can do because manual sump pumps need to be turned on in order to drain the water.

How to Clean a Sump Pump

Have a stinky sump pump? Make sure it isn't pouring or predicted to rain before you begin cleaning the sump pump because you don't want any water entering the region. Next, assemble all of the necessary supplies:

  • Tarp or plastic sheeting

  • Scraping tool

  • Large bucket

  • Garden hose

  • Wet/dry vac

Let's start cleaning now! The task ought to be carried out annually, ideally before of the rainy season. Thankfully, it just takes 7 easy steps to complete.

  1. Shut off the circuit breaker or unplug the sump pump. It is extremely risky to repair or clean a sump pump while it is attached.

  2. Put the pump in a location where you can easily access all sides for cleaning after wrapping it in the plastic tarp or sheeting.

  3. Use the garden hose to spray any loose debris off the pump.

  4. After removing any tough, stuck-on material with the scraping instrument, rinse it off.

  5. In order to capture any water, drain the check valve.

  6. To remove standing water from the sump pit, use the wet/dry vacuum.

  7. Put the sump pump back together and in its original location in the sump before you started cleaning. Reconnect the power source to the sump pump, and there you have it! Your sump pump is in good shape.

When in doubt, seek the advice of a professional plumber.

Why add to your workload by attempting to resolve plumbing difficulties on your own when you already have a lot on your plate? Contact a professional instead. We offer a wide range of residential plumbing services in Los Angeles and are always ready to assist new homeowners in getting their plumbing systems up to speed.

Interested in a free, over-the-phone price estimate?
In need of an urgent repair?
Contact Ori at 818-612-8772 or email

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