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How to Install a Sump Pump

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > How to Install a Sump Pump
How to Install a Sump Pump

A submersible sump pump can provide important protection from water damage in a wet or flood-prone basement. Installing a sump pump in a new location requires some careful planning, a full day, and some hard work, but the investment yields a much lower risk of problems when water becomes an issue.

Materials Skill Level Estimated Time
• Sump basin Intermediate 6 to 8 hours
• Sump pump
• Sump basin lid
• PVC pipe and fittings
• PVC primer and adhesive
• Check valve
• Jackhammer, rotary or sledgehammer and chisel
• Digging shovel
• Drill and drill bit
• Hole saw
• Caulking gun
• Silicone caulk
• Gravel
• Patio block
• Filter fabric
• Concrete mix
• Water
• Wheelbarrow or mixing tub
• Hoe
• Masonry trowel

Sump Pump Installation Process

Follow the steps below to plan for and install your submersible sump pump.

  1. 1. Choose a Location

    It is important to place your pump in an effective location rather than simply a convenient one. To determine a good spot for your sump pump, look for an area that is lower than the rest of the floor, where water collects, or that is persistently damp. Be sure to consider the proximity to a discharge location, since you will need to install piping to a spot outside and above grade where water can be pumped to run off safely.

  2. 2. Install the Power Supply

    In most places, your sump pump will need to be connected to a GFCI outlet or circuit without an extension cord. It is also advisable to provide a dedicated circuit for the pump so it will not be affected by the demand of other devices in the house. If you do not already have a GFCI outlet or circuit available, have a licensed electrician install the needed breaker, wiring, and outlet for your pump installation.

  3. 3. Remove Concrete

    Using your perforated sump basin as a template, mark the perimeter of the opening on the concrete floor. Use a jackhammer (which can be rented from a local tool rental center) or a sledgehammer and masonry chisel to break up the concrete in the sump pit location and remove the debris.

  4. 4. Dig a Sump Pit

    To create a spot for your sump basin and pump you will need to dig a hole two to three feet deep in your basement floor. Use a shovel to dig to a depth that leaves top of the basin flush with the concrete floor. Spread a layer of gravel in the base of the pit.

  5. 5. Install the Sump Basin

    Wrap the exterior of the basin in filter fabric to prevent silt clogging your sump pump and set the basin in place in the hole. Work the basin into position so it sets evenly and the top is flush with the surface of the concrete floor. Set a level or straight edge across the top of the basin to check its position and adjust as necessary by digging deeper or adding more gravel to the base of the hole.

  6. 6. Backfill Around the Basin

    Use a shovel or spade to add gravel to the hole outside the sump basin. Fill the hole to a level even with the bottom of the concrete floor.

  7. 7. Assemble Discharge Pipe

    Use PVC drain pipe and fittings sized to suit your sump pump to construct an outlet pipe to discharge the water from your pump to the outdoors. Measure each straight run, cut pipe to length, and dry fit with fittings before adhering pipes with PVC primer and adhesive.

  8. 8. Extend Drainage Outlet

    Drill a pilot hole in the box sill from inside the basement in the location of the drain outlet. From outside, locate the pilot hole and use a hole saw to cut an opening for the PVC pipe. Install the outlet pipe through the hole, connect it to the drain pipe assembly inside, and apply silicone caulk around the pipe to seal the gaps. Be sure to divert water away from the foundation outside by extending the pipe or installing a splash block under the outlet.

  9. 9. Install the Sump Pump

    Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to place your sump pump in the prepared basin. Your installation may call for the pump to be placed directly on the floor of the basin or atop a bed of gravel and a paver stone or concrete block. Place the pump in the center of the basin so it does not touch the walls, which could interfere with proper function.

  10. 10. Install a Check Valve

    A check valve prevents water from running back through the outlet pipe into the pump and sump pit. Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions to place the check valve at the pump outlet, using the fittings or clamps provided to secure it in place.

  11. 11. Test the Pump

    Connect the pump to its power supply. If necessary, add water to the sump pit to ensure the pump activates when the water reaches the desired level and adjust the float as needed.

  12. 12. Patch the Concrete

    With the pump installed and operational, install a cover on the basin. Prepare pre-mixed concrete in a wheelbarrow or mixing tub and fill in the remaining area around the basin atop the gravel backfill. Add enough concrete to reach the level of the original concrete floor and trowel smooth.

Level of Difficulty

Installing a sump pump requires skills in a few areas and digging a pit is labor-intensive, making the project suitable for an intermediate do-it-yourselfer. Measuring and fitting the PVC piping for the drain line can be tricky, so be sure to measure carefully and mark and dry fit all pieces before securing any sections with glue.

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