How to Install a Sump Pump: The Essential Guide

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Baltimore had almost 11 inches of rain last summer. Were you a victim of flooding? Are you looking for better flood prevention for your home?

A sump pump is an effective way to remove excess water from under your house. You can install a sump pump yourself with a bit of work.

Learn how to install a sump pump and where to get help if you need it.

What Is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a device that removes water from your basement or crawl space. It helps prevent damage from flooding in your home.

During heavy rain, the soil around your home becomes oversaturated. The extra groundwater flows toward the sump pit. When the pit begins to fill with water, the pump turns on.

The sump pump removes the water outside to empty through a downspout. This prevents groundwater from rising to the level of your basement floor and flooding your house.

Types of Sump Pumps

Before you can start your sump pump installation, you need to be sure what type of sump pump you have. The two main types are submersible and pedestal. Sump pumps can run on electricity and/or battery power.

Submersible vs Pedestal Sump Pump

Submersible sump pumps sit underwater. They’re quieter and have more horsepower than pedestal pumps. However, they’re usually more expensive.

Pedestal sump pumps sit above the pump basin above the water. They’re smaller but also less powerful than submersible pumps. They’re a more economical option.

Electricity or Battery Power

Standard sump pumps run on AC electrical power. If your power goes out during a storm, the pump won’t work. You can find models with backup battery power for extra peace of mind.

Battery-powered backup sump pumps are also available.

How to Install a Sump Pump

If you have some experience with DIY projects, installing your sump pump could take as little as a day. The concrete will take more time to fully cure, though.

Wait to start the installation until you have a few days with no precipitation in the forecast. Digging the hole and positioning the pump is easier if the ground isn’t too wet.

Gather your tools before you start. In addition to the sump pump, you’ll need supplies including:

  • Jackhammer or Sledgehammer
  • PVC pipe
  • Silicone caulk
  • Drill
  • Pipe wrench
  • Hack saw
  • Sump pump check valve
  • Gravel
  • Concrete mix

When you have your tools and the weather is relatively dry, you’re ready to start your sump pump installation.

1. Choose a Location

The best place to install your sump pump is the lowest point in the basement. This is where you first notice moisture accumulation.

However, you need a location close enough to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) power outlet to plug in a standard sump pump. A GFCI outlet helps prevent electrocution. A GFCI is especially important for a sump pump because the circuit may accidentally come into contact with water.

An electrician can install a GFCI outlet if your basement doesn’t have one.

2. Prepare the Site

Next, you’ll need to dig a hole for the sump pump basin. Measure the basin and mark a circle a few inches larger than the basin on the floor. Dig a hole that’s a few inches deeper than the basin.

Digging a hole is much easier if you’re installing the pump in the dirt in your crawlspace. If you’re trying to break through a concrete basement floor, you’ll need a sledgehammer or jackhammer.

The hole should be deep enough that the top of the basin will sit flush with the floor with abed of gravel underneath.

3. Position the Basin

Before you place the sump basin in the hole, add 2-3 inches of gravel to the bottom of the hole. You can put a paver or fieldstone over the gravel if you want.

Place the sump basin in the hole. Backfill around the perimeter with gravel.

4. Install the Discharge Pipe

Drill a hole in the wall to accommodate the PVC discharge pipe. Slide a section of pipe through the hole to the outside. Leave enough pipe on the inside to install the joint that will connect it to the pump.

Trim the pipe outside. Attach a joint and more piping if necessary to run the water away from the foundation.

Seal around the pipe on the inside and outside of the wall with silicone caulk.

5. Install the Pump

Follow the manufacturer’s directions to install the pump in the basin. 

Place a submersible pump at the bottom of the basin. The pump should be in the middle.

After positioning the pump, check the float valve to be sure it doesn’t touch the sides of the basin.

6. Attach the Pipes

Attach a length of PVC pipe to the outlet on the sump pump. Install the check valve according to the manufacturer’s directions. The check valve prevents water from flowing back into the basin.

Use another length of pipe to connect the check valve to the discharge elbow joint you installed earlier.

7. Test the Sump Pump

After the pipes are connected, plug the pump in. You can test the sump pump by pouring a bucket of water into the sump basin. The float should rise, turning on the pump.

The water should pump out through the pipe. Check the pipes and connections for leaks. You can also verify that the water is discharging correctly away from your home.

8. Cover the Sump Pump

When everything is working correctly, you can close the sump basin cover.

Then you can cover the hole surrounding the pump. Mix a small batch of concrete and spread it to cover everything except the sump pump lid.

Better Flood Protection for Your Home

Now that you know how to install a sump pump, you’re one step closer to preventing flooding in your home. If the installation process seems intimidating, help is available!

Armored Basement Waterproofing offers a total waterproofing system for your house. We redirect all the water that tries to enter your basement to one or more sump pumps. We can install a wall liner for even more protection.

Contact us today to schedule a free inspection. We’ll give you a detailed proposal to solve your moisture problem. Let us help you protect your home.