How to Clean the Intake on a Submersible Pump

Submersible pumps are made to be fully inserted into the water, and then the pumping action either moves the water around, as in a filtering system, or it pumps the water out, as in a sump pump or well water system. All submersible pumps come with a screened inlet to catch dirt and debris from reaching the impellers. If the pump is running but there is little or no water flow, the most common reason is that the intake screen is plugged and must be cleaned.

Clean the intake on any submersible pump.
  1. Turn off all power to the submersible pump at the breaker panel. An electric shock could occur if the pump still has power going to it during the cleaning.
  2. Search for the inlet side of the pump. In most cases an arrow is on the pump face that shows which way the water flows. Also in most cases, only the inlet on a submersible pump has a screen to stop foreign objects from getting inside the pump.
  3. Pull out any vegetation or other large objects that may be blocking the intake screen. Use a brush to brush away any other debris that may be clogging the screen.
  4. Wipe off the intake area with a rag to make it as clean as possible. When finished, reinsert the pump back into place and turn the power back on.

Things You Will Need

  • Brush
  • Rag


  • For submersible-pump applications that make it difficult to access the pump, find submersibles that have self-cleaning intakes that make them virtually maintenance-free.

About the Author

Dale Yalanovsky has been writing professionally since 1978. He has been published in "Woman's Day," "New Home Journal" and on many do-it-yourself websites. He specializes in do-it-yourself projects, household and auto maintenance and property management. Yalanovsky also writes a bimonthly column that provides home improvement advice.

Photo Credits

  • the circulating pump image by YURY MARYUNIN from Fotolia.com