Having a flooded basement is one of the worst fears a homeowner has and it’s a costly one. It only takes a heavy rainfall or a broken water pipe to ruin everything in the lower level of your home. One item that can alleviate this anxiety is a sump pump.
Water Problems are Not Uncommon
Sixty percent of American homes suffer from below-ground wetness. Water problems can be caused by:
- Excessive water, i.e. over-saturating the ground around the foundation
- Improperly installed or maintained gutters
- Patios, decks or walkways sloping back toward the home’s foundation
Which Type of Sump Pump Do You Need?
Installing a sump pump in your basement is an easy do-it-yourself project. A sump pump’s main function is to channel water out of your basement and away from your foundation. There are three different types of pumps:
- Pedestal – This type has the motor mounted above the sump pit and is less expensive. They can last 25-30 years but take up more room and cannot handle debris.
- Submersible – The motor is submerged in the sump pit, which makes it less accessible. These pumps last 5-15 years, are best for tight spaces and can take up debris without clogging the pump.
- Ejector – These are good for crawlspaces with pea gravel floors. Constructed from cast iron, these pumps last between 5-10 years and can eject small debris as well as water.
Installing a Sump Pump is Easy
Before you begin to dig the sump pit (the hole in which the pump sits), know where your main water and power lines are. It is recommended that you buy your sump pump and the heavy plastic pit liner together to assure proper fit. Once you determine the lowest point in your basement, we are ready to begin.
- Place the pit at least 8” away from outside walls, but close to a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) electrical outlet. You need to plug directly into outlet. No extension cords please!
- Dig a hole that is 3” wider than the liner and 6” deeper. You will need to jack hammer the foundation floor in order to clear the way for digging.
- Line the pit with gravel at the bottom and tamp. Place and level the liner inside the pit and fill around it with more gravel.
- Attach the discharge pipe to the pump and place it in the pit, making sure to keep it level. The discharge pipe is usually made of PVC pipe and will run from the pit to the outside of the house. A common method of getting the pipe outside is to drill into the rim joist.
- Dry fit all pipes together and then cement. Discharge pipes should have a small vent hole to prevent an air lock from forming. Be sure to caulk around the pipe, exiting through the rim joist.
- Dig a hole about a foot deep for the discharge line to exit through. Fill the hole completely with gravel to keep the line from freezing.
- Support the PVC pipes by attaching them to walls or other joists.
- Adjust the float valve on the pump and test. Pour water into the pit until the pump is submerged. Plug the pump in and voilà! Water is exiting the building.
- Put a cover or lid over the pit to help keep debris from getting into the pump or it becomes a hazard.
Consider Buying an Alarm and Battery Back-Up
You should consider buying a pump that has an alarm and a battery back-up. Both would come in handy during storms when water is likely to be a problem. For frequent flooding problems, you may want to consider having two separate sump pumps just to cover you in the event the first one fails.
Inspect and Test Your Pump Regularly
It is a good practice to test your sump pump twice a year. Just fill the pit with water and turn the pump on. Regular inspection of the pump will help you avoid any issues. To learn more about some of the potential problems you can face check out our blog on repairing sump pumps.
Keep Your Home Safe and Dry
You no longer have to worry about a flooded basement with a sump pump. This simple DIY project will help keep your home safe and dry. So sleep easy and listen to the rain. You’re in good hands.
Our expert staff is always on-hand to help you with your DIY projects. From jack hammers and drills to shovels and tamps, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.