How to Test a Sump Pump?

Where there’s heavy snow or rainfall in your area, your surroundings can flood quickly. A sump pump will help provide adequate support to handle massive flooding and potential damage during bad weather. Sump pumps help get rid of overflowing water at the foundation level, in crawl spaces and basements. We hope this review will show you how to test a sump pump for maximum performance.

The pump springs into action and dives excess water out of the area. Testing your sump pump a few times each year will help keep it working correctly and ensure it’s running when flooding occurs. Testing your sump pump involves checking the pump, sump pit, electric circuits and cords, and clearing away any debris that may be present.

Step by Step Guide on How to Test a Sump Pump

Clearing The Drain Pipe

Always aim to keep your drainpipe clean and clear of debris, dirt, or ice. The drainpipe helps channel water away from flood-prone areas around the house. Clearing the stuff from the basement or around the foundation will ensure the water moves freely when pumping.

Check The Power Supply

Usually, there are at least two power cords that provide current to the sump pump. One cord powers the float switch, and the other lies to the rear of the float cord and controls the pump itself. To test the current remove both cables and plug the pump cord to switch on the sump pump.

Listen to how well the motor is running, or if there are any gaps in the pressure. If all is well, re-attach the cables and plug them back into the outlet.

The Water Test

If there’s no float plug, you can do a water test to see if the pump is working correctly. Gradually pour at least 5 gallons of water into the pump basin. Watch to see if the float rises to activate the pump. If it pumps the water, ensure the pump switches off automatically afterward.

Next, check the pump for any build-up of debris. Take the lid off, and spot a torch around the pump walls and base to detect any material or blockages. Take out any trash that may be present.

Check the Float

Over time, your float switch may knock against the cover and sides of the sump pump, causing it to malfunction. Check to see whether the pump is working well when you switch the pump on. Some experts also recommend conducting a quick test of the pump when it starts to rain, and water seeps into the area. 

Check the Pumping Action

Take off the pump cover and shut off the power supply to the pump. If there is any material, insects, or worms, remove them. Shut off the pipes and remove the sump pump along with the drainpipe attachment.

Let it dry out and clear away any pieces of material that may be present. Next, use a large basin or bucket to house the pump, ensuring the power cord stays clear of any water. Pour some water into the basin until it reaches the level of the pipe.

Plug the cord into a nearby outlet. The pump should start pumping the water from the pipeline. The action will give you the right gauge on how powerfully the pump is working.

Switch off the current and lift the pump out of the basin. Watch the float and the switch closely. Listen for a faint click while slightly lifting the float a few times. If you notice any kinks, move the switch from side to side and try it again.

If the problem persists, it may mean you need to repair the pump.

Check the Impeller

Use a flashlight to inspect the impeller. Turn the axle slightly and check if it is moving smoothly or is out of alignment. Also, check for any dents, rusting, or other damage on the impeller.

Check the Bearings

The bearings sit inside the sump pump casing. Look for any changes to the coating, like scratches or rust. Call the plumber to replace these parts if necessary. Moreover, it is crucial to know how to test a sump pump accordingly.

Check the Sump Parts

For further testing, you may need to look at some of the pump accessories. Please take a close look at the electrical arts and drainpipes to ensure everything is working as they should. 


Some sump pumps come with circuit parts to help protect against electrical shots. Check the elements to ensure there are no scratches or breaks, and also to ensure they fully connect to the sump pump circuit.


If your power connectors are loose, they may spark a fire in your basement. Since the pump utilizes high volumes of current, it’s essential to ensure there’s adequate insulation. Check to ensure each part is receiving full power supply.

Sump Basin

It’s also useful to check for any rat openings or other damage to the pump walls. Use a searchlight around the inner walls and look closely for any signs of wear and tear.

How Do I Know if My Sump Pump is Working?


Testing your sump pump at regular intervals is an excellent way to help extend the lifespan of the pump. In our guide, you will be able to know the whole procedure. Checking each area of the pump ensures you will have the pump ready and able to help push off excess floodwater during flooding or other weather systems. Moreover, test the power supply, circuits, float switch, and sump basin and keep them clean and clear of clogs, rust, debris, and other hazards.

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