If your home has a history of flooding or you live in an area prone to heavy rain, sump pump installation can be an excellent investment.
Make sure your pump is connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet for safety.
Install piping to send water away from your sump pump and basement walls. Use PVC elbow fittings and pipe increasers bonded with PVC cement to create the piping system. Call On Point Plumbing & Heating immediately for your sump pump installation needs.
The purpose of a sump pump is to prevent the damage that can be caused by significant basement flooding and the subsequent mold, wood rot, and pests that follow. It works by detecting rising water levels, pumping that water out and away from the home, and providing a secondary battery-operated backup in case of power failure.
The system typically consists of a plastic sump pump basin, with a discharge pipe connected to it that runs outside the house. This pipe should be a good distance — about 10 to 20 feet — away from the house so that it will not cause unwanted drainage problems. Some municipalities have regulations about where this drain pipe can be routed, so check with your local building code department before you begin.
A professional can usually install this system, but if you are handy with tools, it is not difficult for the homeowner to do it on their own. Begin by locating the lowest point in your crawl space, and determining which wall of your basement borders that spot. Find a location where the soil naturally slopes downward and away from your house, and where you can punch a hole through the rim joist for the pump.
Dig a hole big enough to accommodate your sump pump basin, with six inches of additional room on the bottom and sides. Then, fill the hole with gravel and place your sump pump basin in it. Next, drill a second hole in the basement floor, this one to be used for the discharge line of your backup pump. Thread a length of 2-in. PVC pipe through each hole, using couplers and elbow fittings as needed to extend the pipe down to the low spot that you have identified.
Sump pump installation is not complete without a pit liner. This pit liner keeps silt and sediment from entering the pump and damaging it. The sump pump’s job is to remove the water that collects underneath your home, and silt in particular can cause structural damage as well as a musty smell in your basement.
When you have a qualified team perform your sump pump installation, they’ll dig a hole that is a few inches bigger than the basin that will hold your sump pump. They’ll also install a drain that catches the discharged water and drains it away from your home. A drain pipe that is connected to the perimeter drainage system and directed to a dry well or storm sewer can help reduce your chances of flooding in the future.
Some older sump pumps are configured to discharge to the sanitary sewer. Since this can overwhelm municipal sewer systems, municipalities now generally urge homeowners to disconnect and reroute their sump pump’s discharge. This is a simple project that any qualified plumber can do.
The pit liner is positioned in the bottom of the sump pump’s hole, and gravel is packed around it to hold it in place. This gravel is usually crushed rock that’s 6″ to 3″ in size. Then, concrete is poured over the gravel and troweled to achieve a smooth surface.
The next step is to run PVC piping from the sump pump to the drain outside your home. The pipe should be capped with an airtight lid that includes rubber grommets to prevent odors and items from falling in. The piping should have an exit point near the exterior wall of your home and a 90-degree elbow to direct the discharge pipe away from the house.
The pump is the heart of your sump system. It detects a preset water level in the pit and pumps it to an outside drainage area to prevent flooding or water damage within your home.
Choose a pump with the right horsepower. The higher the horsepower, the more water it can pump. You’ll also want to check the head pressure, which measures how high the pump can raise water. You’ll want a minimum of 12 feet (3.7 meters), but a higher head pressure will mean a more expensive pump.
To reduce the chance of clogging, line the bottom of the sump basin with coarse gravel. This will keep the pump from clogging with silt. You’ll also need to line the inside of the basin with filter fabric, which prevents debris from entering the pump motor.
You’ll need a discharge pipe to direct the water away from your house, and you’ll also want a check valve that ensures the pump can’t backflow into the basin. You can use a flexible discharge hose or a length of PVC pipe with glued joints and, if necessary, elbows.
A battery-powered backup pump is useful in case of a power outage. It should be positioned so its float switch is several inches higher than the float switch of the main pump, as you only want it to kick in when the main sump pump fails.
You’ll need to run a power cord from the pump to your home, so look for an outlet near the basin that can accommodate its electrical needs. Make sure the pump has a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet, as these provide safe electricity for the unit and prevent electric shock. Avoid using an extension cord, as this can damage your home’s insulation and may result in a fire.
A check valve prevents water from backflow into the pump pit if the pump stops working. It also keeps the discharge line from getting clogged with silt and debris that can block the pump. Ensure it is properly installed and positioned at the correct height for the pit. Generally, the valve should be on top of the pump and in the direction that the discharge pipe flows, with a vent hole that is out of the way but drains into the pit.
Make sure to install a drain at the bottom of the pump basin and place a sump lid to eliminate odors. Inspect the bottom of the basin frequently for any debris that may be accumulating. Ideally, the sump pit should be located away from where water, sewer, and utility lines enter the house. You should also avoid placing it where basement walls meet the floor, as that will create a low spot that can collect standing water and cause flooding or sewer backups.
If you plan to connect the sump pump to the house sewer system (recommended only if your home is built on a solid rock foundation), then it is necessary to install a check valve between the house sewer and the pump. Otherwise, when the sump pump is operating, it can back up the sewer and lead to a dangerous overflow situation.
Prepare the pump for installation by removing it from its box and laying out a work area to protect against puddles of water. Measure the distance from the bottom of the pump to the center of the check valve bottom adapter and mark it on a piece of PVC pipe. Cut the pipe a few inches longer than the measurement, and use milk crates or something similar to raise it off the ground.
The pump is powered by electricity and, since it’s operating near (or sometimes in) water must be connected to a grounded outlet with GFCI protection. The pump’s power cord should also be plugged into a battery-powered backup system that can kick on during severe storms when electricity fails.
A plumbing pipe attached to the pump’s discharge port directs water outside the house to a suitable drainage location, such as a natural runoff point or a dry well. Alternatively, the water can be directed into a municipal sewer if local regulations permit.
Depending on the model, the sump pump may be equipped with a pressure switch or an alarm that triggers when the water level rises too high because of pump failure or extreme water volume. Ideally, the pump will have a cast iron core that is in contact with the motor to dissipate heat and extend the life of the electric motor.
A GFCI-protected power receptacle is usually used, although some pumps can be wired to a dedicated circuit. In that case, the receptacle may be specially labeled to warn against unplugging and it may have a retaining bracket that prevents the plug from being removed. If you do opt for a dedicated circuit, a professional electrician should install it. Regular maintenance on the sump pump includes cleaning out the check valve and periodic checking of the backup battery. The professional should also clean out any debris and check the float switch for proper operation. If the sump pump is working properly, it can help prevent several problems in and around your home, including structural damage to your basement or crawl space floor and mold, wood rot, and pest infestations that can be difficult to eradicate.