Inspection Training

How to Inspect the Sump Pump

When you are inspecting the basement or the crawlspace there is a good chance that you will run into a sump pump. This is among one of the more important items that your clients will want to know if it is working properly. Please review the procedure below for the proper way to inspect a sump pump during a home inspection.

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NACHI SOP

International Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection

 

3.6. Plumbing

 

I. The inspector shall inspect:

H. Drainage sump pumps with accessible floats.

 

II. The inspector shall describe:

N/A

 

III. The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

N/A

 

IV. The inspector is not required to:

N/A

 

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector will still visibly inspect the sump pump even if there is not an accessible float. If the lid is sealed the inspector should still check the water level in the pit if there is a viewing port on top of the lid.

 

Tools Needed

The inspector will use the sump pump hook to pull the float up on a sump pump if there is a float present. The inspector will also need a flashlight in order to see down the sump pit to see the water level.

 

Procedure

  • If the sump pump lid is not sealed the inspector should move the lid off the pit and determine if the float is external or internal. If it is external, use sump pump hook to pull the float up above the motor to test the operation.
  • If the lid is sealed and it is a clear lid and you can see into the pit, you must take a picture of the inside. If there is a sealed lid with a viewing port, then you must try to take a picture through the port. Sealed lid no access we still need a picture. Sealed lid but clear you can get a picture. If there is a port that is removable then try to test the sump.
  • Making sure sump pumps are working is a big deal, if the house floods and we are at fault it would be bad. Make every attempt to test and take lots of pictures to show we did everything we could to test it. Please make sure the system has a backflow device just above the lid.
  • If you find the sump pump is not working, try to get a picture of the float hooked in the up position. This will help us show that it was tested by actually pulling on the float. If you have an internal float and cannot test it check the drain line to see if it has water in it, tap on it and it will sound solid and be heavy.
  • This section requires that two pictures be taken. The first picture should clearly show the water level, perimeter drain lines coming into the pit and the pump showing if there is an internal or external float. The second picture should show where the sump pump is located. If you say “Not Inspected” (Obstructed/Sealed Lid/Too Deep) make sure to get a picture of why you couldn’t inspect and a picture of the water level, if possible.
  • There is no NEC requirement for GFCI protection for a sump pump. If the location of the sump pump receptacle requires GFCI protection, then you must have GFCI protection.

 

Common Defects

  • Sump pump not working or responding to controls.
  • Sump pump installed but water levels are high in the pit.
  • Sump pit but no pump installed at the property with high water levels in the pit.
  • Damage to the sump pump or its connections.

 

Common Mistakes

  • Not testing the external float in the sump pump for operation.
  • Not taking the correct pictures that are required.
  • Not taking a picture of the water level if the lid is sealed but there is a viewing port.

 

Report / Software

IN


  • The property had a sump pump installed in a pit in the [word 1]. The sump pump [word 2]. The sump pit [word 3]. This system protects the property from water intrusion by discharging rising groundwater or seepage from surface runoff to the exterior of the property or to a waste pipe or storm drain. Sump pumps require periodic maintenance to ensure that they work when they’re needed and should be tested on an annual basis to ensure they are in working order. The pumps can be tested by lifting the float, but to avoid potential shock/electrocution hazard testing should be performed using a tool which will not conduct electricity. Pumps have a filter that should be cleaned during routine maintenance.
    • Sump Pump Location (Basement Floor/Crawlspace)
    • Float Type (External/Internal)
    • Pit Condition (Dry/Water OK/Water Too High

NI

  • The sump pump and/or pit could not be inspected. The sump pit [word 1].
    • Obstructed
    • Sealed
    • Too Deep

NP

  • OK Pit w/ No Pump: The property contained a pit in the [word 1] for a sump pump but no pump was installed. The sump pit [word 2]. Recommend monitoring the pit for rising water and consult with a qualified contractor to install a pump as necessary. A sump pump system protects the property from water intrusion by discharging rising groundwater or seepage from surface runoff to the exterior of the property or to a waste pipe or storm drain. Sump pumps require periodic maintenance to ensure that they work when they’re needed and should be tested on an annual basis to ensure they are in working order. The pumps can be tested by lifting the float, but to avoid potential shock/electrocution hazard testing should be performed using a tool which will not conduct electricity. Pumps have a filter that should be cleaned during routine maintenance.
    • Location (Basement Floor/Crawlspace)
    • Pit Condition (Dry/Water OK/Water Too High
  • No Pump or Pit: The property did not have a sump pit or sump pump installed

RR

  • Pump: The property had a sump pump installed in a pit in the [word 1]. The sump pump [word 2]. A qualified contractor should evaluate and repair/replace as necessary. This system protects the property from water intrusion by discharging rising groundwater or seepage from surface runoff to the exterior of the property or to a waste pipe or storm drain. Sump pumps require periodic maintenance to ensure that they work when they’re needed and should be tested on an annual basis to ensure they are in working order. The pumps can be tested by lifting the float, but to avoid potential shock/electrocution hazard testing should be performed using a tool which will not conduct electricity. Pumps have a filter that should be cleaned during routine maintenance.
    • Location (Basement Floor/Crawl Space
    • Defect (Did not respond to controls)
  • Pit w/ No Pump: The property contained a pit in the [word 1] for a sump pump, but no pump was installed. The water level in the sump pit at the time of the inspection was higher than what is considered acceptable. A qualified contractor should evaluate and repair or replace as necessary and according to current standards. This system protects the property from water intrusion by discharging rising groundwater or seepage from surface runoff to the exterior of the property or to a waste pipe or storm drain. Sump pumps require periodic maintenance to ensure that they work when they’re needed and should be tested on an annual basis to ensure they are in working order. The pumps can be tested by lifting the float, but to avoid potential shock/electrocution hazard testing should be performed using a tool which will not conduct electricity. Pumps have a filter that should be cleaned during routine maintenance.
    • Location (Basement Floor/Crawlspace)