Testing Your Sump Pump

Testing Your Sump Pump and Determining Its Lifespan

Testing your sump pump is essential in households with basements or crawl space access. It is designed to remove excess water that may accumulate in these areas due to heavy rainfall, melting snow, or rising groundwater. However, like any mechanical device, a sump pump can fail at any time, and it is crucial to test and maintain it regularly to ensure its proper functioning.

Why Test Your Sump Pump?

Regularly testing your sump pump is vital as it gives you peace of mind, knowing it will work when needed. It also allows you to identify potential issues early on and address them before they become more costly problems. Moreover, if there is a power outage or a sudden increase in water level, you will be confident that your sump pump can handle it.

How to Test Your Sump Pump

Testing your sump pump is a simple process that should be done at least twice a year. Here’s how:

testing your sump pump
  1. Locate the outlet pipe: This will carry water from the sump pump to the outside of your home.
  2. Check the power source: Ensure the sump pump is connected and plugged into a properly working outlet and connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) for added safety.
  3. Fill the sump pit with water: Slowly pour enough into the sump pit until you reach your pump’s float switch or trigger point. This mimics how the sump pump would activate during a natural flood.
  4. Observe the sump pump: As the water level rises in the pit, your sump pump should automatically turn on and start pumping out water. Once it reaches the bottom of the pit, it should shut off.
  5. Check for any issues: While the sump pump is running, listen for any strange noises, vibrations, or leaks. If you notice anything unusual, it may be a sign of a problem that needs to be addressed.
  6. Repeat the test: After the sump pump has turned off, refill the sump pit and repeat the process to ensure it turns on and off correctly.

If your sump pump fails to turn on or off during the test, it could indicate a malfunction that requires professional attention.

How Long Will a Sump Pump Last?

Testing Your Sump Pump, a sump pump lifespan will vary depending on several factors, such as quality, usage, and maintenance. On average, a sump pump can last 5-10 years. However, some high-quality pumps can last up to 25 years with proper maintenance.

Determining the Size of Your Sump Pump

The size of your sump pump is crucial as it determines its ability to handle water flow in your basement or crawl space. Here are some factors to consider when determining the size you need:

  • The size and depth of your basement or crawl space: Larger spaces require a bigger sump pump to handle more water.
  • The average rainfall in your area: If you live in an area with heavy rain, you may need a larger sump pump to keep up with the water flow.
  • The soil type around your home: Clay and compact soils tend to hold onto water, requiring a more powerful sump pump to remove it.

We recommend consulting a professional plumber at Pooles Plumbing or a sump pump specialist to help determine the right size for your needs.


Testing your sump pump regularly and understanding its lifespan and size requirements are crucial steps in maintaining a functional and efficient sump pump. Following these guidelines protects your home and investment from potential water damage caused by floods or rising groundwater. Prevention is always better than dealing with the aftermath of a failed sump pump. So, make it a priority to test and maintain your sump pump to keep your home safe and dry all year round.