DIY Sump Pump Installation
Have you recently noticed that your sump pump isn’t powering on when flood water level rises? Do you have flooding issues, but don’t know how to tackle them? Luckily, it’s relatively simple to install a new sump pump. The best time to replace a broken pump is before the next major storm hits your area.
If your sump pump isn’t turning on and removing water as it rises, or if you have a pump that is more than ten years old, you need to install a new one to ensure you don’t incur water damage to your home. Here are a few things to consider when installing a new sump pump or replacing your existing one.
Choosing the Right Pump
If you’re replacing a sump pump that efficiently managed your drainage needs, it is easiest to simply replace it with a similar sump pump. Submersible pumps rest in a hole cut into the floor of your basement or crawlspace, which removes water from your house by means of your French drain system. The sump pump’s motor is placed in a sealed, waterproof case, and when the water surrounding your pump rises to a level – which is pre-determined by your sump pump – the pump turns on and subsequently flushes the water through your drain system. Your French drain system then guides the water outside and away from your home.
A pedestal pump, on the other hand, is a sump pump that sets its motor on a stand a few feet above your water level. With a pedestal pump, only the impeller (the device that pushes the water) is located within the pit of your system. While many people believe a pedestal pump will last longer as it isn’t submerged in water, this simply is not true. Well-built, quality sump pumps typically have a longer life expectancy than pedestal pumps. This is largely due to the materials used to make each pump, as the higher end pumps are usually made of cast iron, while most pedestal pumps are made of plastic.
Always Have a Backup
If you have a need for a sump pump, you know all too well how easily you can lose power during a large storm. If you experience a power outage, your sump pump could become nothing more than a paperweight when you need it most. This is why it is a necessity to have a backup system installed, should your main system ever lose power. The majority of homeowners choose between one of two common backup systems: a backup battery, or a second sump pump.
The backup batter includes a rechargeable battery pack that can effortlessly power your sump pump, even if your entire neighborhood was to lose power. It should be noted that some of the newer sump pumps available come with a built-in secondary battery to combat the need for a backup system. However, if your sump pump does not have this feature, you should prepare for the worst and hope you never need to use your backup system.
A battery-powered secondary pump is nearly as powerful as your main sump pump, and offers a few things a battery backup cannot. A battery-powered sump pump will not only properly function during a power outage, but will also serve as an emergency pump during extreme flooding and will help remove additional flood waters, keeping your primary pump from overheating.
Both of these backup options will provide you approximately ten hours of use in the event of a power outage. A lesser utilised option, the water-powered pump, eliminates the battery and second motor. This option receives power from your water main, as it uses the pressure in your water line to create a vacuum effect to remove water from your pit.
Removing Your Pump
Before we discuss the steps to remove your old sump pump, you’ll need to pick up the necessary plumbing supplies to complete the project. The list of materials needed for your removal and installation include:
- Masking tape
- Corrugated pipe
- PVC Glue
- Wooden float
- Power drill
- Wire ties
- Spade and Spade bit
Now that you have everything you need, let’s us begin. Here is a step-by-step guide for removing your sump pump.
- Unplug your sump pump.
- Make note of how your pump is situated within the pit. I recommend taking photos of the sump pump’s location to help you properly install your new sump pump.
- Locate the coupling along your discharge pipe. If you have a check valve, these often double as a coupler. Your coupler will be screwed into the discharge pipe or clamped atop a rubber coupling.
- Loosen your clamp valve. Note that there will be water flowing from the top of your discharge pipe, so keep a bucket nearby to collect any water that may flow from your pipe.
- After draining your discharge pipe, securely lift it from the bottom. Your sump pump is attached to your discharge pipe, so you need to make sure you aren’t damaging the float switch as you remove the pipe from your pit.
- Place your old sump pump in a bucket to allow the water remaining within the pump to properly drain.
- Remove any rocks and sludge from the bottom of your pit.
- Remove the discharge pipe from your old pump’s adapter.
Installing Your New Pump
Having removed your old sump pump from its pit and any debris from the pit itself, you’re finally ready to install your new sump pump. Follow these steps to guarantee a successful installation.
- Before you do anything, level your new pump. Make sure it sits level within the pit, using shims as needed to guarantee the pump is level.
- Connect your discharge pipe to the new sump pump. Whether you reuse your old discharge line or purchase a new pipe to install, the choice is yours.
- Install a check valve. This will prevent water from flowing between your discharge line back to your sump pump when it powers off. This reduces the change of flooding and will improve your sump pump’s life expectancy.
- Attach your outlet pipe to the main discharge line. Then, tighten the connection, or install a rubber fitting and tighten hose clamps around the fitting to ensure proper installation.
- Lastly, turn your electricity back on. Plug your sump pump’s cord into a grounded outlet and allow the pump to fill with water until it activates.