How to Install or Replace a Sump Pump

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A sump pump is a device that sweeps excess water in the low-lying areas of your basement or crawl space away from your home.
This device plays a pivotal role in preventing water damage as well as mildew or mold from developing due to pooling water.
When you need to install or replace a sump pump for optimal home protection, it’s possible to do so on your own with the right tools and know-how.
A DIY job may not be advisable if you have no mechanical aptitude and two left thumbs. It’s also inadvisable if your sump pump resides under concrete or is otherwise difficult to access without a jackhammer.
But if you have some basic skills, can access the pump with little effort, and want to do the sump pump installation on your own, here’s what you need and how to do it.
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Materials needed to install a sump pump

  • Bucket or water hose
  • Level
  • Plastic or wooden shims
  • Pliers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Sump pump
  • Tube cutter

How to remove an old sump pump

You’ll need to replace your sump pump if it gets too old or ever stops working. The first step of installing a sump pump is removing the old one.
Step 1: Unplug the existing sump pump to be replaced. The last thing you need is to mix standing water and electricity, so unplug the pump before doing anything else.
Step 2: Disconnect the discharge line. The discharge line is the tube between the sump pump and pipes that take water from the sump pit out of the building. It’s not difficult to identify as it is the only tubing you will see. Depending on the style of the sump, there may be one or two sets of tubes. As all tubes must be disconnected, use pliers or a tube cutter to sever the connection or connections.
Step 3: Remove the pump. If the sump pump is a submersible style, you must lift the pump out of the pit. For a pedestal-style sump pump, just move it away from the edge of the pit. There may be screws at the base of either to remove first, but they are usually not needed in the installation to keep the sump pump in place.

How to install a sump pump

Step 1: Place the new pump. A submersible sump pump is put inside the sump pit, while a pedestal-style sump pump rests beside the pit.
Step 2: Level the pump. Place a level on top of the sump pump. If the bubble resides squarely in the center portion of the level, the pump is evenly positioned. If it is not, tilt the pump until the bubble is in the center. Then, place plastic or wooden shims under the lofted space.
Step 3: Connect the discharge line. A new sump pump usually comes with a new discharge line, which is piping or tubing leading away from the pumping device. Place the end of the discharge line over the main discharge line, which is the pipe that carries water out of the house. Tighten the union, which resembles a large bolt, with pliers in a clockwise motion until firmly attached.
Step 4: Plug in the sump pump. Do not expect to hear any noise from the pump upon plugging it in. There is an electrical connection, so be careful.
Step 5: Test the sump pump. Fill the sump pit with water using a hose or bucket. Once the pit is full, the sump pump should automatically turn on if it is installed properly.
If you install or replace a sump pump and it does not activate with a full sump pit, you may wish to find a plumber to troubleshoot.
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How much does it cost to install a sump pump?

Sump pumps themselves can cost anywhere from $60 to $400. If you’re installing it yourself, there won’t be any additional costs.
If you’d prefer to hire someone else to install your sump pump, you will have to pay for the sump pump plus labor fees, which range from $45 to $200 an hour. You’ll probably find yourself paying somewhere from $600 to $1,900.

How hard is it to install a sump pump?

If you read this article and understood the steps, it probably won’t be very hard to install a sump pump yourself. However, if you’re not good with tools and you’re unsure how you would complete some of the steps listed above, it might be a good idea to hire a plumber to do it for you.
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