How to Clean a Sump Pump Hole

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If you reside in an area that is susceptible to floods or your basement itself becomes flooded during wet/rainy conditions, then you know that a sump pump is a valuable piece of equipment. As water infiltrates your basement, it drains into the sump pump hole or pit, where it is pumped outside, thus preventing potentially severe water damage. In order for the pump to work, however, the pit/hole must be clean. If it is filled with silt or other debris, the pump will not function properly when needed. Luckily, cleaning the sump hole/pit should prove a simple task.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Drop cloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • Bucket
  • Putty knife (if needed)
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Garden hose w/ spray nozzle
  • Disconnect the sump pump from its electrical power source. Either unplug the pump or throw the appropriate breaker in your home's circuit box.

  • Disconnect the discharge hose/pipe from the sump pump. For most pumps, you will need a screwdriver to loosen the clamp that holds the discharge pipe to the body of the pump.

  • Pull the pump out of the hole/pit and place it on a drop cloth. Holding the pump in the drop cloth, move the pump outside. Chances are, the pump will be dirty or stagnant water may dribble out. By moving the pump outside, you'll avoid making a mess in your basement.

  • Wear a pair of rubber gloves and reach into the sump pit. Pull out as much large debris as possible with your gloved hands. Throw the debris into a bucket or other large container.

  • If the sides of the sump pit are covered in sludge, scrape it off with a putty knife. Remove the sludge with your hands or use an old cup to dip it out and discard it into the bucket.

  • Remove any stagnant water in the sump pit with a wet/dry vacuum. Spray the pit with a garden hose and high-pressure nozzle and vacuum again. If the pump itself is dirty, you should spray it clean with the garden hose as well.

  • Reinstall the pump in the pit and connect the discharge line. Restore power to the pump and spray enough fresh water into the pit to activate the pump. This will cause clean water to be sucked through the sump pump, effectively washing it out.

Tips & Warnings

  • According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, you should clean the sump pump hole at least once a year in order to remove any silt, sand and other deposits that have accumulated over the months.

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