Why You Should Clean Your Sump Pump Drain Pipe – and How to Do It

Whether you have a finished or unfinished basement, keeping this below-grade area dry is important to your comfort and health. That’s why your home relies on a trusty sump pump. But like most types of plumbing, even a sump pump needs attention and some regular maintenance. One common issue that affects Chicago homeowners is a clogged sump pump drain pipe. 

Why You Should Clean Your Sump Pump Drain Pipe – and How to Do It

What is the drain pipe of a sump pump?

The sump pump’s job is to remove groundwater from around the foundation so the water doesn’t enter your home. Once the sump pump pushes the water, it travels through the drain pipe (also known as the discharge pipe) until it is released into the municipal storm drain or, in many cases, on your property away from the house. 

Over time, the drain pipe can be clogged by debris or gunk build-up, slowing down or even blocking the sump pump from discharging. The good news is that cleaning out the drain pipe can often be removed and cleaned with a few common household items like a plumber’s snake, hose, screwdriver, bucket, and a wet-dry vacuum. 

Steps for cleaning sump pump drain pipe

  1. Unplug the sump pump or turn off the breaker
  2. If your sump pump discharges outside, remove the screen at the end of the drain pipe outside. Rinse off to remove debris or blockages.
  3. Remove the water from the sump pump basin. You can use a wet-dry shop vacuum or small container to scoop out the water.
  4. Lift the sump pump by the handle or the body of the unit. Avoid pulling up on the float switch or power cord.
  5. Remove the drain pipe by loosening the clamps that attach the pipe to the sump pump.
  6. Use a plumber snake or a metal hanger wire to push any blockage through the pipe.
  7. Use a hose (higher pressure, if possible) to flush the pipe and clean the inside walls.
  8. Shine a light into the pipe and visually inspect whether there’s any more debris or build-up inside the pipe. If so, repeat the last two steps until the pipe is clear.
  9. Reattach the drain pipe to the sump pump, place the pump back into the pit, then turn the power back on. Test to ensure everything is connected properly by pouring water into the pit until the float switch triggers the pump to run. 
  10. Be sure to check the drainpipe outside to make sure the water is being discharged at least 10 feet from the foundation and the ground slopes away from the house.

Professional sump pump service

If you notice that your sump pump isn’t running as smoothly as usual, you’ll want to check the drain pipe and follow these instructions as soon as possible to avoid potential water damage in your basement. Should you need any help, you can always call the professionals at Rocket Plumbing. Our licensed plumbers will make sure your sump pump is doing its job to keep your basement dry, clean, and safe. Schedule an appointment by calling (773) 219-1200.

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