Testing a sump pump takes less than 5 minutes. When was the last time you tested yours?

Zoeller Sump Pump from YS Greene Plumbing and Water Systems

Sump pumps are far too easy to ignore until it’s too late.

We usually advise customers to check their sump pumps when changing their furnace filter, and to write a reminder on the furnace filter, as these typically require changing about as often as you should be testing your sump pump.

What’s a sump pump?

Sump pumps are a high output transfer pump that remove water from your home. In Ohio we’re used to getting our fair share of rain, and our groundwater levels are typically pretty high. This means when a weather event rolls through, there’s often more water around the foundations of our homes than natural drainage can handle.

The sump pump sits in a sump pit, usually in a corner of the basement. The sump pit is typically 2-3 feet deep and 18 inches wide, and should have a lid.

Sump pumps have a float system that is similar to a toilet. The pump is activated when the float reaches a high level, pumping water from the pit outside of the home and far enough away from basement walls that it won’t immediately return.

They really are the unsung heroes, without we’d have standing water in basements and damage to property several times a year, and all the side effects that come with high moisture levels in homes (mold, bugs, smells and structural damage).


How to test sump pumps.

Testing is super easy! Here’s how:

  1. Fill a 5 gallon bucket with water. Recovered rain water is a great way to do this in a more environmentally conscious way.
  2. Locate the sump pump and remove the lid.
  3. Check the pump is powered and operational (lift the small float for a second or two to make sure it kicks on).
  4. Pour the contents of your bucket into the sump pit. As the water level rises you should see the float rising with it, until it activates the switch and starts the pump.
  5. The pump should quickly drop the water level of the sump to normal and automatically stop. Note, It’s perfectly normal for the water level to rise slightly after the pump stops and drains.
  6. Replace the lid and note the day you tested it.


What if my pump doesn’t work?

Call us on (937)340-1051 immediately if you’re in Greene County, Ohio. Estimates are always free and we’ll give you a clear price up front to replace your sump pump. Changing a sump pump is an affordable way to get huge peace of mind that your home won’t flood when the storms come. If your pump is old (or you don’t know when it was last changed), changing it is often a worthwhile precaution. Pumps should be changed every 5 years.

We only install American-made cast iron bodied sump pumps from Zoeller – the leading name in sump pumps. They come with a great manufacturers warranty too!



  1. Write a reminder to yourself on your furnace filter. We should be changing furnace filters monthly or every 2 months in most installations, so it’s a good reminder to take an extra 5 minutes to test your sump pump.
  2. Sump pumps should be fitted with a little valve that prevents the head of water in the pipe from flowing back to the sump. If you get a lot of water back in the sump when the pump stops, this valve is either not present or has failed. It’s an inexpensive fix, so call us!
  3. Ensure the lid is fitted to your sump pump. It prevents accidental falls and keeps critters, debris and everything else out of the sump.
  4. Check where the pumped water discharges. Many older homes allow the sump pump to dump water too close to the foundation.  Get the water as far from your home as possible.
  5. Check the grading of the landscape around gutter downspouts and sump pump discharges. Yard grading makes a huge difference in how your home gets water away from it’s foundation. A simple french drain or some downspout extensions can make a huge difference and keep sump levels much lower. Also check for gutter leaks.