How do you “inspect” a sump pump? OK, you test the float. Do you follow the drain line to ensure it discharges to the exterior and does not leak? If the line is long, and the pump turns off, how do you know the water that is in the drain line won’t flow back into the pit and reactivate it? If the pit is dry, do you assume the drain line functions or do you put water in the pit and test the function of the pump? Because you hear the pump running, does that mean it functions? Do you ensure that the water flows toward and into the sump? What if it’s not plugged in? Do you plug it in? Too many variables!
The NC SOP states: “7.1 The home inspector shall observe:…sump pumps”. Note the word test is not there. It goes on to state in the plumbing section: “7.3 The home inspector is NOT required to: operate automatic safety controls.”
I’m not sticking my hand down in a pit. Sorry. I tell them, “The basement/crawl space could be subject to moisture intrusion, but is equipped with a float activated sump pump. Common sense dictates that moisture should be handled before it even enters a residence, but many residences do have sump pumps. Nevertheless, the area and the sump-pump should be periodically monitored, and particularly before each rainy season, and storage items should be isolated from the floor and walls.”