Every sump pump manufacturer recommends that sump pumps be tested on a regular basis. Regular and proactive testing is the best way to avoid a flooded basement or crawl space.
When manually testing your sump pump, always check to see that there is water in the sump pit before running the pump. If the pit is dry or only has an inch or two of water, fill a five-gallon bucket with clean water and slowly pour the water into the pit until the float switch causes your pump to start.
Sump pumps should never be run or tested dry because the impeller seal could be damaged by doing so.
Once the pump is running, watch the outlet pipe to be sure it isn’t blocked and the pump is working properly. When the water falls below the predetermined level, the pump should turn itself off. If this doesn’t happen, it’s time to troubleshoot and repair or replace your sump pump installation if necessary.
Realistically, most homeowners don’t take the time and effort to test their sump pump on a regular basis. If that’s you, you might consider purchasing a proactive sump pump test and monitoring system to do the work for you. There are a number on the market. The BEACON ProAct™ 200 is the only system that automatically tests all components of your sump pump installation under real operating conditions by automatically delivering fresh water to the sump pit.