How to Test Your Sump Pump

It is important to know how to test sump pump so that you can keep your drainage system functioning well. The testing process is not limited only to the functionality test of the pump. You should also inspect the drainage system and the related components to ensure that everything is in order. Here’s a quick guide on how to carry out a sump pump test easily.

how to test sump pump

How to Test a Sump Pump?

Start by going through your user manual by the manufacturer to find if there are any specific tests to check the sump pump. In addition to that, there are some other ways of testing your sump pump without calling over a plumber. Let’s identify the steps of the sump pump testing process.

Turn the Sump Pump on and Off

The best way to test most electrical appliances is to turn them on and off as it resets the appliance. It solves any basic issues in the motor and the memory unit of the computer. Turn off the sump pump properly by flipping the circuit breaker. Turn the sump pump on and wait for a few seconds before the sump pump starts removing water

Run the Sump Pump

Add some water to the sump pit and check the functioning of your sump pump. Pour a few gallons of water into the sump basin and let the pump run for some time. Check whether the sump pump runs continuously and removes the water within 5 – 10 minutes. If everything is working properly, the sump pump will pump out all the water. If you live in a region with a high level of groundwater, you need to run this test for twice the duration.

Examine the Drainage

The next step in testing the sump pump is to check the drainage pipes. Sometimes, the pipelines and hoses get clogged with gravel, rocks, silt, and other debris. You should clean the pipes occasionally to keep the system functioning properly. Once you add water to the pump pit and the sump pump activates, check whether the water comes out of the drainage pipe at the discharge point. If you see any problem with the water removal rate, you will need to have the drainage line cleared.

Test the Alarm System

Don’t forget to test the alarm of your sump pump. Having a properly functioning alarm in the sump pit is useful to get notified if there is something wrong in the system. Press and hold the test button of the alarm to check whether the alarm operates. If it is a WiFi-supported system, check the connection to ensure that you receive the notification via email or phone app.

Check the Battery Backup

Some pump systems have a battery backup or you can install a suitable backup sump pump externally. Its task is to remove water even if the primary sump pump fails during a power outage. So, to check the battery backup, disconnect the primary pump from the power and add some water into the sump pit. The battery-powered sump pump should turn on and start removing water. 

Clean the Pump

Keeping the sump pump clean is important to ensure the proper function of the sump pump. Remove any pebbles and debris from the drain lines to prevent interior clogging. If they reach inside, in addition to the restriction of water flow, it could damage the pump as well.

Check for Signs of Corrosion

Sump pumps with metallic bodies could rust over time. So, check for any visible signs of corrosion on the metal parts of your sump pump as you clean it. You should also inspect the pumps with plastic bodies for any damages. If there are any, you need to consult a sump pump professional to find out what you can do about it to restore the sump pump housing.

How to Test Sealed Sump Pumps?

It is difficult to test a sealed sump pump as you have limited access to its basin. But you can still test it similar to the previous steps by adding some water to activate the pump.

How to Test a Sump Pump Without Electricity?

Your primary sump pump cannot be tested without electricity. But you can test your backup sump pump without electricity. Add some water to the pump pit and check whether the battery-powered sump pump or the water-powered sump pump you have turns on. 

How to Test a Sump Pump Switch With a Multimeter?

For this, you need to refer to the user manual. Adjust the settings of the multimeter and place its probes on the sump pump connections as indicated in the manual. Then check the readings you get and compare them with that given in the guide. If you get different readings, you might have an issue with the continuity of the sump pump. Call a professional to get your sump pump inspected and troubleshoot the issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Tell if Sump Pump is Working?

You can detect whether your sump pump is working simply by listening to it. If you hear a low humming sound as the pump turn on, then it is working. You can also check this by examining whether the sump pump removes water at the discharging terminal. If the water is removed without any issues, then you can confirm that your sump pump is working well.

How Many Years Does a Sump Pump Last?

A sump pump will usually last for about 10 years without major issues. You need to service it from time to time and inspect it for any signs of damage. Scheduled maintenance will enhance the useful life of your sump pump even beyond this time.

What is the Labor Cost to Install a Sump Pump?

The sump pump installation cost depends on the price of the sump pump unit and the labor cost charged by the installer. The labor cost will usually range from $45 to $200 per hour. But the process of installation differs from one household to another. So, the cost may vary with the additional preparation work, permits, and time required for the project.


Knowing how to test sump pump will save you a fair amount of money since you don’t have to call a professional every time something goes wrong. Nevertheless, it is important to test the system occasionally to make sure that everything is running smoothly. If you find your sump pump leaking, here’s how to troubleshoot it.