Professional Basement Sump Pump Installation [A Step By Step Guide]

If you just bought one but have no idea of how to install it, then keep reading, as I’ll be discussing basement sump pump installation.

Sump pumps are arguably one of the best drainage inventions, and I’m sure all homeowners with basements will agree. They are designed to collect standing water and pump them away, and by doing so, have helped prevent many untold stories of basement flooding.

So how do I install a sump pump in my basement?

Why Do I Need A Sump Pump?

A sump pump is designed to pump out standing water from your basement once the sump pit gets full. It automatically turns on once the water reaches a certain height, and it prevents your basement from being flooded.

Since the motor turns on automatically, it means it can save your basement from a flood even when you are not home.

Can I Install A Sump Pump Myself?

The truth is, sump pump installation isn’t so difficult, you just need to know what goes where. Although that would be asking too much of someone with no prior experience.

All the same, the answer remains yes – You can install a sump pump yourself.

Luckily, some manufacturers are kind enough to include an installation manual along with the package. And this can help you through the process.

What Installation Cost

If all you’re doing is replacing a damaged sump pump, then you wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of digging a sump pit. All you need to do is buy a new pump and install it.

Doing this yourself will cost you almost nothing (besides the cost of the sump pump). But hiring someone to do this for you would cost a minimum of $300.

However, if you were to add the cost of digging the sump pit and buying the pipes to the cost of buying a new sump pump, then you’ll end up paying between $1,500 to $4,000.

How To Install Sump Pump In Basement

If you’re a DIY enthusiast and have no interest in hiring help, then you’ll be in for some hard labor, as you’ll be the one to dig the new sump pit.

Not to scare you though, as this is very doable. But before you get to that stage, here’s what you need to do first.

Step one: Pick the right spot for the pit

The very first thing you need to do when installing a sump pump is to figure out where the sump pit is going to be. Remember, the sump pit is where the standing water will be collected before the pump can discharge it.

The sump pit is also where the pump will be placed.

The trick here is simple – for standing water to flow into the pit, then it has to be located at the lowest point of the basement floor, as this is where standing water will naturally flow to.

If you have already cleaned up the flooding in your basement, then you will not be able to see where the standing water gathers.

But there’s a solution to this – pour some more water on the basement floor!

You will need an adequate amount of water for this, just so the direction of the flow will be obvious. A 50-liter keg of water should do. Pour it on the basement floor and wait for about an hour so the water will have enough time to flow towards the lowest point.

Come back and take a look at where a majority of the water has settled – That is the lowest point of the basement, and that is where you should make the sump pit.

You’ll have to clean up the water before you proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Dig the hole for the sump pit

This is where it begins to get difficult, as you’ll have to dig a hole that’ll be spacious enough to fit the sump pump. Width aside, the depth has to be just enough so the top edge of the sump pump is in line with the floor level.

In case you’ve forgotten, you’ll be smashing through a hard concrete surface, and that is no easy task.

You will need some tools to achieve this feat. A sledgehammer can do the job, although that will require a lot of swinging, which can tire you out quickly. It is also time-consuming, so you might want to consider the easier option – A jackhammer.

If you don’t have one at home, then you can rent one from a hardware store.

Whichever tool you choose, you will have to smash through the masonry before you get to the soil. You can use a hand trowel to dig up the soil until the desired depth is reached.

Step 3: Drill the weep holes in the sump pump

For a sump pump to function effectively, then it needs to have weep holes. If yours doesn’t have one, then you will need to drill some holes yourself.

This is one of the easiest steps in sump pump plumbing installation, as you can easily create the perforations with a power drill.

Step 4: Protect the fabric around the basin

Considering that the sump pump is in a hole and surrounded by dirt, it would be wise to protect the basin from sludge and silt.

You can wrap the basin with a layer of filter fabric to prevent unwanted debris from clogging the sump pump basin.

Step 5: Add some gravel

Now add 2 to 3 inches of gravel to the base of the hole you have made, then place fieldstone or a paver over the gravel so the platform will be stable.

This is a vital step to take when installing the pump, as it vibrates when turned on and you would want it to stay in place.

Step 6: Place the sump pump into the hole

Now that your sump pit is all set, the next step to take will be to place the sump pump into the pit.

To keep it steady, you should backfill the perimeter with the dirt you have previously excavated. Keep your float valve in mind as you backfill, and ensure it has enough space to freely move up and down when there is a rise in water levels.

You have to do this because if the float valve doesn’t rise freely, the pump will not come on. Make sure you test the float valve to see if it floats freely before you proceed to the next step.

Step 7: Run the discharge hose

The check valve is also as important as the floater, as it is responsible for directing the water away from the pump. For this to be possible, you have to run a flexible discharge hose in-between the check valve and the exterior.

You will also need to drill a hole big enough for the hose to fit through the area where the output connects with the basement wall. You can use a power drill or a driver with a hole-saw to create the hole.

 Caulk around the area so all unnecessary gaps will be filled up.

Step 8: Plug in the pump

Now you can plug in the sump pump and run it for some time. All you have to do is fill the pot with some water, up to the point where it is almost at the rim.

Doing this should cause the float to rise, and the sump pump will be turned on automatically and begin to pump the water away.

Make sure you check all your connections before testing the pump.

Step 9: Seal the sump pump hole

Now that you’re sure the sump pump is working perfectly, you can seal the pit so the pump will be safe and secure.

All you need to do is mix a small batch of cement until it’s smooth, then spread it around to cover the spaces, but don’t spread it over the pump lid.

That’s it, your sump pump is now properly installed and in good working condition. Be sure to do regular maintenance on your sump pump every once in a while, especially if it has had no reason to pump for long periods.

You would want to make sure the pump is working at all times, and that is why regular maintenance checks are important.

If you’re having trouble installing the unit, then I suggest you call a professional to handle it, as there may be something you’ve done wrong along the way.

Final Words

There you have it guys, that’s how to install a sump pump in a finished basement. Follow the tips provided in this article and your new sump pump will be good to go.

Luckily, manufacturers usually include user manuals in the package of their units, so you can use them to guide you through the process.

Don’t forget to sump pump cleaning and other regular maintenance habits to ensure your unit is always in prime condition. You will need it when the floods come!

Thanks for reading!

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