Steps on How to Install a Sump Pump

Let’s face it, sometimes we get too busy going through our daily activities that we barely have time to check on our homes. A lot of homeowners get surprised when they check their basements and find out that there have been a lot of water problems happening without them knowing.

Most of the time, when these problems are diagnosed, people find themselves stuck in a situation where damages are already at their peak and irreversible state. And the expenses that come with this are not a joke as it usually requires professional intervention. This is definitely a loss in several aspects.

So what can a homeowner do to prevent these problems from developing in their basements? Are there measures that they can take to eliminate the risk for water damages and unnecessary cost for repairs and rehabilitation services? The answer is yes.

Thanks to the continuous innovation in technology, people can now resort to sump pumps for keeping their basements dry and flood-free. Sump pumps are good proactive steps to prevent water problems from emerging, however, these do not solve all the damages caused by not having one. If you want to know how you can install a sump pump in your home, read and follow these instructions carefully.

Steps in Installing a Sump Pump

The key to solving your basement problems is in getting the right type of sump pump for your place. Once you find the right one, proper installation is needed. This is a crucial part of the solution, so properly installing the sump pump is necessary. Let’s get started.

  • Diagnose the Problem

Before installing a sump pump, it is important that you do a couple of troubleshooting first. This is necessary because some of the problems you are facing may not really be due to basement water problems. To start, check on the drainage and gutters when it rains.

Make sure that the gutters and drainages are free of clogs and properly aligned. Sometimes, people may need some downspout extensions as rain water comes flowing back to their basements because the distance of the drainage may be too close to their house’s foundation.

In this case, you have to make sure that the roof runoff is at least 4 feet beyond and that the soil within the range of 3 feet from the foundation is sloped away from and not towards the house. Now, if all those are in good condition but water still accumulates in your basement, then a sump pump may be necessary to solve the problem.

  • Make Necessary Preparations

After the first step, the next one would be to decide where you are to put the sump pump. Creating a space for a sump pump will require the right measurements first. These are necessary before breaking your concrete floor. Caution should be taken on this part as you are not sure of what is under the surface yet. Also, you have to prepare your sewer line to easily find an accessible cleanout fitting near a wall. You can break the concrete floor by utilizing a heavy-duty hammer drill, a sledgehammer or a rotary hammer. If you want an easier experience, you can always rent out a demolition saw or an electric jackhammer.

  • Make Space

You do this by creating a layout of the area to be removed and making sure that you avoid engaging with foundation footing. Always leave at least 6 inches of distance from foundation footing. From there, you can cut the perimeter using the jackhammer. You can then continue to use it again to loosen some parts of the flooring. Once you are done with these, clean up the chunks of concrete away from the area.

  • Excavate Properly

Once the flooring surface is removed, you can start digging the soil. Excavate just enough to make room for at least 6 inches of space for gravel that is to be placed around the liner. You can use the liner to check if you have dug enough, when you see the liner’s top at the same level of your basement floor, then you are good to go.

From there, you can have to use coarse gravel to fill the surrounding void right after placing the pit liner. If you are clueless, you can use 3/8 to ½ in. diameter of gravel aggregate to lift the grade to a level that is 1 inc. higher than the basement floor’s underside.  After that, proceed to leveling the gravel using a wooden float.

The goal is to put the bottom of the new concrete bed at about a level higher than the original slab bed. The same principle should apply to the footing of the foundation. This will allow the water seeping in between the wall and footing to drain through the gravel to the pit.

  • Finish with Concrete

Now that you have the pit liner settled, you can now cover the area with concrete. Simply make the concoction by combining two parts of sand, one part cement, and three parts of gravel. Once those are complete, you can proceed to add water after. One bag of cement will require about 5 ½ gallons of water. Once the mixture is ready, pour it with a wooden float and screed board until it is packed snugly against the floor’s cut edges. Finish it off by using a trowel to smoothen the surface. Leave it for a day or two to cure.

  • Install the Pump

You can choose the sump pump of your choice, but make sure to remember that quality and price should both be considered. The pump may have threaded discharge port sized about 1 ½ in. diameter. Start the process by threading in a 1 ½ inches PVC male adapter into the port. Tighten and secure with pliers until snug.

Next, you have to set the riser in a position that is just above the pit liner’s top. This can be done by sticking a short, schedule-40 PVC rise to the male adapter using PVC cement. Note that the riser’s length depends on the liner’s depth.

At this point, you’re ready to put the pump in the pit after connecting the cords to the riser using electrical ties or electrical tapes. Once everything is secure, hold on to the support ring and rise of the pump and then lower it down carefully into the liner.

As soon as the pump is settled, check on the float’s position and make sure that it is inches away from the liner. Move on to install the liner lid on top of the riser. Install a 1 ½ in. check valve on the rise to keep the motor’s pump from burning out. Position the valve with arrows pointed up and then tightens the lower coupling above the riser properly. This is important because the lack of this may cause the water to rise and fall back into the pit. This activates the pump and turns it off again. This can easily wear out your pump.

From here, you can proceed to adding a second riser on top of the valve. Using a hose clamp, secure it to the check valve’s upper coupling. The length of this is dependent on the horizontal run’s position. Setting up piping is also essential to drive the water out of the house.

You can do this by creating a hole through the house’s rim joist and then piping it through the exterior wall and joist. Slide the PVC pipe into the joist and make sure it ends near the vertical riser. Put a PVC elbow fitting at 90 degrees against the two pipes and then trim the riser. After that, install the elbow and pipes to guarantee that the riser is plumb before completing the discharge piping.

  • Fix the Drainage Line and Test

After which, cut all but ½ in. from the horizontal pipe and then glue a 90-degree elbow at the pipe end so it can point downwards. The purge pipe needs to move the purged water away from the house. Your setting can be different from others as this will depend on several factors.

Once the discharge line is set up, caulk the opening of the rim joist on both outside and inside of the house. A silicone-based, high-grade caulk can ease the pump’s vibration. Now that everything seems to be okay, all you have to do is plug the pump into a GCFI-protected receptacle. Test the system using 5 gallons of water.


Installing a sump pump is not a walk in the park. It entails a lot of work and waiting, however, the benefits you are to get after the process will definitely be worth it. It is important to make sure you go through every step carefully and finish it properly. This will keep your basement dry and require less maintenance for a long time.

And of course, the most important part would be to get the right kind of sump pump for your basement. There will be tons of low-priced sump pumps in the market, it is important that you get one that delivers quality functioning too. If this is your first time to set up a sump pump in your home, be guided by the steps above and eliminate yourself from all types of basement water problems.

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