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Installing a Sump Pump

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If a flooding basement is a constant problem for you, then you might want to install a sump pump. Unlike other options for controlling water damage, a sump pump will remove water from your basement rather than temporarily holding it back. The following will explain how to go about installing sump pump in your basement, should you decide to put one in.

Before You Start

There are several things to do before you go about installing a sump pump:
  • Inspect the outside of the home for any factors that might be contributing to the flooding of your basement, like clogged gutters or landscaping that slopes toward the home rather than away from it. Make the appropriate fixes.

  • Find the best place to put it. The sump pump should go at a low point of your basement, next to an exterior wall (at least 8 inches from the wall).

  • Try to find out where your utility connections are so you can avoid disturbing them. You may need to contact the developer of your home to find this out.
TIP: Your home might be already fitted for a sump pump. If so, use the pre-existing pit, which will save you a lot of time and work.


The next step is to begin digging the hole for the pump. This can be done by placing the liner of the pump in your desired sport and drawing an outline around it, allowing for plenty of extra room. You should consult the manual of the sump pump to find out how deep your hole will need to be.

Once you have your outline and know how far down you need to dig, use a rented jackhammer to break through the concrete floor. Begin by hammering out the perimeter and then going into the middle until the entire area is shattered. Then, remove the pieces of concrete. If you are unable to get them out, use the jackhammer at an angle to pry up the large pieces.

After breaking through the concrete, you can use a shovel to clear away dirt until you get to the recommended depth. At this point, you'll want to place the plastic lining of the sump pump into the hole. The space between the liner and the gravel should be filled in with gravel until it gets to a height of 1 inch below the rest of the floor.

TIP: If you like, you can cover the gravel around the sump pump with concrete, though this would only before aesthetic reasons.

Now that the hole and lining are prepared, you will be ready to put the sump pump inside. Firstly, you'll need to attach a PVC adapter to the pump. Most brands have a discarge port with a 1.5 inch diameter, so you'll need to get PVC with that diameter as well. Next, attach a short piece (enough so that it will rise just above the top of the liner) of PVC piping into the adapter. The power cords of the pump should then be secured to that piece of PVC.

At this point, you can place the pump into the lining and put the lid over it. If the lid doesn't have space for the PVC pipe on the top of the pop, you'll have to drill an opening yourself. A check valve should be installed at the top of the PVC piping, which will keep water from flowing back into the pump. An additional length of pipe should then be attached above the valve.

The next step is to drill a hole that will allow you to install the piping to bring the water outside. You can do this by drilling a small hole (using a 1/4 inch drill bit) into the inside of the rim joist. Then, go outside your house and re-drill the same hole with a larger (2 inch) bit. Once you have the hole, place a length of PVC pipe through the hole, at a right angle to the pipe rising up from the pump. Hold up a PVC elbow joint to see how everything lines up and to find out how much you have trim off the pipe leading to the pump. You can then attach the three pieces together.

You can now turn your attention to the outside. Cut the portion of the pipe that extends outside the house so it is only sticking out half an inch. Then, place another elbow joint to this one, with an additional length of pipe pointing downward. At this point, you can place a long splash block so the water won't end up back inside your house. The final steps are to caulk the piping and, finally, plug the pump into the outlet.

Installing a sump pump into your basement isn't an easy task. However, if your basement is prone to flooding, it is well worth it. Next time water enters your basement, you can simply rely on your new sump pump to get it out of there.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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