Have You Checked Your Sump Pump Recently?

  • 22 Mar 2019
  • Written by  Big Lakes County

Sump Pumps 101

A sump pump is an important part of your home's foundation drainage system. It helps protect your house from flooding due to ground water infiltration.

Your sump pump is usually located in your basement in a utility room or laundry space.

As a homeowner, you are responsible for the drainage system on your property. It is important to ensure that your sump pump is in good working condition and your lot is correctly graded.


It is important to perform regular maintenance on your sump pump system every spring as well as every few months. Maintenance can help prevent backups and flooding.

Check your sump pump by slowly pouring water into your sump pit. Watch for the "float" to rise and trigger the pump. Once the pump has started, the water level will quickly lower and the float will shut off the pump.

If your home is in a wet area or the water table is high, you may want to invest in a backup sump pump system. 

Grading and drainage

Proper lot grading is important for the correct flow of surface run off which prevents flooding problems and potential damage to you and your neighbour's properties.

The grade and landscape of your lot should:

  • take water away from your house
  • create a positive slope away from your house walls for at least 1.5 metres (5 feet)
  • have the ground drop a minimum of 75 mm (3 inches) within the 1.5 metre slope

Do not change this grade as it will help minimize flooding in your home. Water that sits too close to your home may flow down your foundation and to your sump pump, which will have to re-pump the water out. This can cause your sump pump to burn out prematurely.

Connections to sanitary sewer

Make sure your sump pump system is not connected to the sanitary sewer system. Unauthorized connections cost all ratepayers more in treatment costs. Stormwater does not require the same level of treatment as sewage. 

Stormwater can also over tax the sanitary sewer system during storms. This overtaxing increases the risk of a sewer backup in both individual residences and the whole sanitary sewer system.