While the concept of installing a sump pump in your basement may sound like a pretty simple process, there are more factors to consider than you might have thought. In this article we will take a look at the planning, and installation of your new pump system.
Keep in mind that this article will be about groundwater pumps, not sewage ejectors. While many of the concepts are the same between the two systems, there are many differences. If you are looking for info on ejection systems, take a look at our Sewage Ejector Pumps article.
The first part of the planning process is always the “where”. Where exactly should you put your pump? To put it simply, you always want to make sure that the location of your pump will get rid of as much of the water as possible. This means two things:
Slope – Make sure that either the ground slopes towards the area where the pump is installed, or you may need to either slope the ground, or create small, sloped trenches that lead to the pump. This will insure that as much of the water as possible is removed.
Pit – You need a pit to put the sump pump in. This should be below the ground level.
So, ideally, you have a part of your basement that the surrounding ground slopes toward. You break the floor and dig a pit. Inside the pit, you place a container with small holes in it, and surround the container with 3/4 crushed rock, to keep the dirt out. Your situation may not conform to the “ideal” standards that I just lined out, but may still work. Remember, the closer to ideal, the better.
So, now that the “where” is figured out, we will want to look at the path of the drain pipe. Ideally, you want to run the pipe, from the top of the top, at a downward slope to a point where it exits the building and dumps into a storm system.
Again, even if you cannot get the “ideal”, you should get as close to it as possible. If the line does not slope properly, you will over work your pump, and more water will sit in the line when the pump is off. If you just dump it directly outside the foundation, the water will just seep back in, to be re-pumped out. Not very efficient.
Also, remember… ground water is ground water, and sewage is sewage. They must be kept separate.
Once you have all that figured out, the next step is to make sure you get the right pump. The amount of lift (how far vertically the pump must push the water), the length of your discharge pipe, and how much water it must pump (and how fast) are all considerations. Having too small a pump will overwork it, and having one that is too big will not allow it to stay on long enough for proper flow and cooling.
The install is pretty simple, but there are a couple of things you will want to make sure you pay attention to. One, very important part of a proper install is a check valve. A check valve allows the water to only flow in one direction (in this case, up). It is installed in the riser, directly above the pump. When the pump turns on, it will allow the water to be pumped through the discharge line. When it shuts down, it will not allow the water in the riser to flow back into the pit, where it must be pumped back out again, in the next cycle.
The second thing to make sure you do is have some kind of high water alarm. There are very simple units that you can place at an opportune place, and if it gets wet, it issues a loud alarm. This can let you know if your sump pump ever fails. Just make sure you properly adjust the float.
The third, and possibly most overlooked task that you make sure is done properly is securing the discharge line. It should be strapped… a lot! Water is heavy, and water in the discharge line will weight it down to the point where it bows and loses grade. This can compromise the entire system. We recommend securing the pipe at least every 2-4 feet. The more, the better. You cannot really “over strap” pipe.
There you go, you have a fully functioning sump pump system. No more soggy basement. If you want a professional to do your sump pump installation, try Gogo Rooter Plumbing. Our fully trained and professional plumbers will do it right the first time… every time!