28 January A man applying finishing touches on a newly-installed sump pump

How to Install a Sump Pump in Your Basement

Posted by PlumbWize

Basement flooding is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. The average cost of a basement flood can set a homeowner back $2,000 (for minor floods) to around $25,000 (for more substantial floods). Taking into account that flood-prone basements could possibly flood multiple times a year, expenses can easily tally up.

Meanwhile, sinking foundations, which are more commonly seen on properties with a higher water table, can cost $1,000 to $3,000 to repair and more extensive foundation damage from long-standing excess moisture in the soil can cost around $10,000 to $15,000 to repair. In saying this, it’s a good thing sump pumps were invented!

A sump pump can help avoid costly damages and is cheaper than basement exterior waterproofing. This makes sump pumps a cost-effective solution that many homeowners opt for. With the help of an expert plumber, you can install a sump pump in your basement and have it running in no time! 

At PlumbWize, we assist with this type of installation all the time. In fact, through the years, we’ve helped thousands of customers with sump pump installations and sump pump maintenance services. In this article, we will walk you through the steps on how sump pumps are installed, along with some sump pump fundamentals. 

Let’s get started!

A covered sump pump on the basement floor

Deciding on the Type of Sump Pump

In terms of functionality, we can classify sump pumps as either main sump pumps or backup sump pumps. You can opt to have both of these types or a personalized setup can be recommended to you by an expert sump pump installer

Main sump pumps are either submersible or pedestal sump pumps. The main difference between the two is that submersible sump pumps have motors that are inside the sump pit while pedestal sump pumps have motors that are positioned on a stand above the pit. 

Backup sump pumps, as the name suggests, are not meant to function by themselves but as a secondary sump pump to the main pump. These can either be battery-operated or powered by water pressure. Because main pumps are typically powered by electricity, these backup sump pumps are meant to take over only during power outages. As such, they are not as robust as main sump pumps. That covers the basics, however, there are more nuances regarding choosing the best sump pump for you including the brand, horsepower, and so on.

First, Create the Sump Pit

1. Locate the best spot in your basement where you will place the sump pit. This could be the lowest part of your basement or at the point where water first accumulates during incidents of flooding. Another factor to consider is closeness to a power source because most main sump pumps are powered by electricity.

2. Once you have the location for the sump pit decided, it’s time to measure the size of the hole. The hole that you mark out should be big enough to fit the sump basin. 

3. Next, break into the concrete using a sledgehammer or a jackhammer.

4. Dig the hole around 4 inches deeper than the sump basin’s height. This extra depth is for gravel. Once the hole is excavated, fill it with 4 inches of gravel. Then, place a paver or fieldstone over the gravel so that it remains stable.

5. Ensure you have a network of weeping tiles leading to the sump pit so that water is collected more effectively into the pit. If you do not have this yet, we highly recommend that you leave the installation of a weeping tile system to the pros because the process is intricate and requires extensive excavations. A properly placed hole through the sump basin should allow the weeping tile network to pour water in. 

Note: Though DIY methods suggest skipping having the weeping tile system and simply placing a normal bucket with numerous holes drilled through it as a sump basin, this is simply not as effective.

Install the Sump Pump and Its Proper Connections

6. All sump pumps guide water through a discharge pipe. This pipe needs to go right through your basement wall. So, make sure that you have the right-sized hole for your discharge pipe before proceeding. Most sump pumps require a 2 inch PVC pipe as its discharge pipe – but make sure to check the requirements of your specific sump pump unit. 

7. Next, attach the right size of male threaded adapter to the discharge outlet of the pump. This outlet should have threads on it for the adapter. Most sump pumps need a 1 ½ inch PVC male threaded adapter – but make sure to check your sump pump’s required measurement.   

8. Now you need to create your discharge pipe. The first crucial section of the discharge pipe is the one that will directly connect to the male threaded adapter of the pump. This first section should be able to connect to the adapter and go through the sump basin’s lid. The pipe section should, when connected, extend a few inches above the lid.  

9. Make sure that the sump basin’s lid has a right-sized hole to let through this first section of the discharge pipe. Then, connect the first section of the discharge pipe firmly to the adapter. 

10. The other end of the first section of the discharge pipe connects to a check valve. This prevents any undesired backflows. 

11. After securely connecting the pipe section to the check valve, you can proceed with creating the rest of the discharge pipe. There is no one way of making the rest of the discharge pipe because sump pits are located in different parts of various basements. 

What’s important is that you use the right PVC pipes and fittings to direct the discharge pipe through the hole in the basement wall without it being obtrusive. Additionally, make sure to apply sealant once the pipe is through the wall to keep it secure. 

12. Connect the end of the discharge pipe that goes through the basement wall to a discharge hose. Then, make sure that the end of the hose is far enough from the basement – around 20 feet away, so that water does not cycle back around the home’s foundation. 

After you’ve done all of the above, the only remaining step is to turn on your sump pump and test it out!

Close-up of a sump pump discharge hose directing water away from the house

The Risks of DIY Sump Pump Installation

If you haven’t successfully installed sump pumps in the past, trying to do so on your own carries a number of risks. Sump pump installation involves creating a hole into the foundation for the sump pit. Doing so requires special skills and heavy equipment. Errors can lead to property damage or injuries. It is definitely not worth the risk. 

The other risk is regarding handling the sump pump itself. If the damage of mishandling is extensive enough, you might need to replace the entire unit, thereby doubling your expenses. 

Reliable Sump Pump Installation for Your Property

As we’ve covered in the above sections, sump pump installation has numerous steps – many of which require refined skills and high-powered tools. However, with the help of an experienced plumber, you will have a sump pump up and running in no time at all, without the hassle of renting equipment and the risk of injury.

PlumbWize is a leading provider of residential and commercial plumbing services in the areas of Burlington, Oakville, Hamilton, Milton, Ancaster, and Stoney Creek. Through our years of service, we are known for our prompt response, long-lasting plumbing installations, and all-around reliable service. We can help you in choosing and installing a sump pump that will keep your basement flood-free and your foundations dry for years to come.

If you’d like to learn more about what we can do for you, please feel free to give us a call!


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