a sump pump with the cover removed

Winter snowmelt is upon us.  Check your sump pump to be sure it is functioning.  Get yourself a battery back up for when the power fails if you do not have one. 

The winter snowmelt comes fast and furious.  Within days, your foundation can take on several inches of water, depending on the snowmelt and conditions near you. 

Massive snowfalls happen in the Twin Cities Metro area in March and April and then melt within a day or two.  According to Current Results, the average snowfall for March in Minneapolis is over 10 inches.  These snowfalls contribute to a snowmelt effect that can take your sump pump by surprise because it has been sitting idle for long periods of time. Snowmelt and rain contribute to shocked homeowners whose sump pumps were not ready. This happens when snow freezes overnight and then melts again during the day and the rain comes fast and furious, melting snow in its path.   

Inside Your Home 

If you stay on top of sump pump maintenance, your equipment will be ready when you need it. Your sump pump may sit concealed in the basement, in a corner in a covered basin, and is out of sight and out of mind.  It operates only when needed, and that likely has not occurred all winter. 

Test your sump pump frequently to ensure it is functioning properly. A defective sump pump otherwise will not present itself until it is needed, and then it would be too late to remedy. You will have a flooded basement.  

In the spring, you will want to remove the cover to your sump pump, fill the basin with water, and be sure that the float rises and the water is ejected through the discharge tube. 

Outside Your Home 

It is best to clear snow away from your house to avoid it melting directly into your foundation. Inspect landscaping near the home for low spots that may attract water pooling. Fill these spots with dirt, rock, or foliage. Check to make sure your gutters are clean and extensions are used to divert spring rains and snow melts away from your foundation. Inspect the sum pump drainage tube connection outside. Remove any obstruction of snow and ice. 

 Enjoy Spring 

These preparations protect your home as the melt continues and you will know if you need to have any professionals come and service your sump pump.  The average working lifespan of a sump pump is 5-10 years.  If your sump pump is older than 10 years, it would be best to have a professional plumber come and evaluate it. 


If you find yourself with a wet basement, call ServiceMaster right away.  We work with water damage and answer our phones 24/7.