How to Clean a Sump Pit

How to Clean a Sump Pit. If you have a sump pump in your basement, its likely sitting in a hole, or pit, in the basement floor. A sump pit holds water that's leaked into the basement due to rain or ground water that's risen into the basement so the sump pump can remove it. Over time, a sump pit will accumulate dirt and other debris. It's a good idea to periodically clean your sump pit.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Gloves
  • Hose
  • Bucket
  • Plastic sheeting or old blanket (if needed)
  • Wet/dry shop vac

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Turn off electrical power to the pump at the main circuit panel. Disconnect the pump from the discharge pipe and remove from the pit. Set it into a bucket or heavy-duty plastic container or wrap it in plastic sheeting or an old blanket and bring it outside.

Hose off any sludge and dirt from the sump pump. It may be necessary to scrape some of this off the pump if it's caked on too thick.

Remove any standing water in the sump pit with a wet/dry shop vac or scoop it out using a bucket. Then place a bucket under the check valve and drain water from it. Remove check valve and wash it with water. Reinstall check valve.

Take out any bricks that the sump pump might rest on and remove the sludge and dirt from these as well. Then set the clean bricks back into place.

Reinstall the sump pump in the pit and connect it to the discharge pipe. Make sure the float moves freely; if stuck, it may either keep the pump running and burn it out or not turn the pump on when needed, resulting in the basement becoming flooded.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's a good idea to wear work gloves when removing the dirty pump from the sump pit and when scraping any sludge off the pump or inside the pit.
  • Make sure the basement is adequately ventilated before cleaning the sump pump pit; if your washing machine and shower drains to the sump, the residue in the pit could contain detergent and soap and the odor might make you feel sick.
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