If you live in a low-lying area that’s subject to flooding, a sump pump may help you save the day.
During bad weather, lightning or heavy rains, water may get into your basement or lightning may shut off your power supply.
Flooding may damage any equipment or valuables you store in the basement. A sump pump will help divert any excess water from pooling onto your basement floor.
When water rises inside the sump pit it triggers the pump into action. The pump then forces the water out of the basement and into any dry wells or drains close to your property. The pump will shut off when the water levels go down.
A sump pump also provides back-up power supply in the event of a power outage or emergencies.
When the power goes off, the sump pump will kick in and supply energy until the regular service resumes.
In addition, a sump pump will help minimize mold, mildew, and moisture by keeping your basement dry.
So, How to install a sump pump
First, choose a suitable site in the basement to set up the pump. You need to set the pump inside a sump pit or basin.
Dig a sump pit
Use a jackhammer to penetrate the concrete floor. Turn the sump pump over and draw a circle around its perimeter between 4 to 6 inches.
Leave at least 10 inches of space from the wall to get adequate space around the pump.
Clear away any concrete and start to dig the hole to the correct depth to fit the pump basin.
Make sure the rim of the basin rests snugly onto the floor surface.
Pack the spaces around the hole with some gravel at least 1 inch higher than the bottom of the floor slab.
Next, fill in the remaining spaces with concrete and use a trowel to smoothen the surface. Leave it to harden for at least 1 day.
Set the pump inside the basin
Follow the manual and place the sump pump inside the basin.
If there’s no concrete base, put some gravel around the bottom of the sump pit and rest it in place.
Next, use some hose clamps and connect a check valve onto the pump’s outlet. When you need to service the pump, the hose clamps will help get it out easily.
Hook up the discharge pipe
The discharge pipes help channel the water in the basement out into a nearby drain or well.
PVC pipes (long and short)
45 or 90 degrees PVC elbows
Select a length of PVC pipe and connect it to the check valve.
Spread some glue and attach a piece of an elbow to the pipe. It will help take the discharge pipe through the foundation wall in the basement.
Take an additional piece of pipe along with another elbow and join them at the wall. From the elbow, run a vertical pipe to the rim joist that’s above the wall of the foundation.
Routing the discharge pipe
To route the discharge pipe, you’ll need to drill a hole through the rim joist and the exterior siding.
Use a piece of an elbow and a straight length of horizontal piping and run it through the hole in the rim joist.
On the outside, you can also run the pipe to ground level and into a nearby drain to keep the water away from your property.
Use some plumber’s caulk to seal around the hole in the rim joist.
You may consider installing a dry well for the discharge pipe to receive the water that runs off the sump pump.
How to run the sump pump
Plug the sump pump cord into the socket that’s secured by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
Let the sump basin fill with water and test the pump to see how well it’s working.
When the water begins to lift the float on the pump, it should switch on by itself. Likewise, when the water goes back out, it should shut off automatically.
If it’s not quite right, check the manual and tweak the pump according to instructions.
How to install a battery backup sump pump
A battery backup sump pump acts a support pump for your regular sump pump.
If your pump breaks down, goes out in a power outage or lightning strike, your backup pump will provide extra power when you need it most.
Battery back-up sump pumps operate on their own battery and charger mechanisms. While they provide extra power in emergencies, they are not a replacement for your regular sump pump.
It’s also important to choose the correct battery for your pump. Battery power is important to ensure you have enough coverage during a water or power failure.
A 12 or 24 voltage battery power is ideal. In case of flooding, your backup sump pump can help drive out between 35 t0 60 gallons of water every minute or between 2100 to 3600 gallons of water every hour.
Battery backup sump pumps come in three styles; AC/DC, AGM or DC.
AC/DC batteries operate through electrical as well as battery power. When the AC power or the pump goes off, the DC power will kick in to keep the pump cycling.
AGM batteries provide extra operating power and are longer-lasting than regular batteries. At times they can last up to 7 years.
DC batteries will only run through battery power. Maintenance-free or deep-cycle batteries are hassle-free and easy to work with.
You can select a ‘wet-cell” or lead acid battery which needs distilled water from time to time to keep running.
Installing the battery
- Start by taking out the used sump pump from the sump pit by disconnecting it from the unit.
- Use some plumber’s tape to secure the new pump onto the side of the check valve.
- To connect the pump and the check valve, bring some plumber’s tape completely around the pipe threads to hold them together.
- To get the discharge pipe, cut about ½ inches of pipe. Use some glue to hold the connections in place.
- Place the battery into the plastic box shield and let it sit on a shelf.
- Set up the cable connections for the pump and the battery.
- Connect the battery charger and power cord to the sump pump outlet.
- Lift the flow valve a few times to test how well the pump starts when the water reaches the desired level. Testing the pump will also give you a good idea of how well the battery is working.
How to install a battery backup to an existing sump pump
It’s important to know why you need a backup battery.
When you add a battery backup to your existing sump pump, it operates as a sensor between the sump pump and your property’s power supply.
- A battery backup sump pump will help provide adequate backup power, especially during flooding to reduce the pressure on your existing sump pump.
- Your backup battery sump pump will kick in immediately if your main pump loses power in cases of lightning, breaker trips or fuses that blow.
- Debris can also block your main pump and cause outages. If this occurs, the battery backup sump pump can help keep things running until you can clear it up.
- Moisture can build up in your basement during sleet, snow or rain and may damage any valuable material or equipment you store in the basement.
- Your backup battery sump pump can help keep the area dry and save you time and money on expensive repairs or clean ups.
Choosing a backup battery sump pump
Since a backup battery sump pump will complement your existing sump pump, it’s important to choose a good model.
Judging from experience, you’ll know on average, how much water enters your basement, and how fast your existing pump normally drives it out within a period of time.
A reliable backup sump pump should be able to match or surpass your pump’s minimum capacity.
Make sure it’s sturdy and durable. A good option to consider would be cast iron or plastic material.
With regular maintenance, they should provide up to 5 years of reliable service during emergencies.
Your battery back-up sump pump should be as close as possible to your existing sump pump.
Set the backup pump sentry directly onto the wall. Unlike regular sump pumps, it does not need any space inside the sump pit.
The wall mount must be as close as possible to the sump pump cord can reach it. Also, ensure the battery is set up to accommodate the length of the cable.
Ensure there are no shortages by placing the battery no less than 4 feet from the pump sentry.
You can plug your existing sump pump directly into your battery backup system. It will need battery cables to run from the battery cable into the unit.
In the event of a power outage, the backup sensor will draw power from the battery to keep the sump pump cycling.
It should also rest a bit lower than the regular height of your flooring or above the watermark in your sump pit.
You can also set up the backup system close to a grounded AC unit, with enough cord to reach the sump pump.
Installing the backup sump pump
A wall-mount backup battery is easier to install than you may think, and they do not need an additional pump to operate.
While some backup sump pumps may need a separate secondary pump, there are some that are simpler to install.
To ensure the pump works to its maximum capacity, use only the recommended battery cables for the unit. Make sure you place the battery within a plastic or nylon battery case.
- Connect the battery
- Put the power switch to the OFF position.
- Then match the red cable to the red terminals, and the black cable to the black terminal of the pump sentry.
- The red is (+positive) and the black is (-negative)
- Put the plug into the AC outlet for the pump sentry.
- Connect the pump sentry into a 120 volt AC outlet.
- Turn the power switch ON.
Now the pump sentry is installed, you need to test it out. Troubleshooting is important to help test each area so you can pinpoint any parts that may be malfunctioning or need replacing.
Let the pump run its normal cycle to see how well it’s working.
If the pump is working well, take out the power cord from the AC outlet.
When the power cord comes out, you’ll see whether the pump will kick in to make up for the loss of power.
Check the “output power” light to see if it’s still getting power while the pump sentry cord is disconnected.
After completing the test run, place the pump sentry plug back into the outlet in the wall.
Give it a few minutes to see if the monitor LED lights up. If it lights up, it shows the pump sentry goes back to normal mode and will begin to charge the battery.
Let the pump run again to ensure it’s working well.
A sump pump may be your best ally when lightning strikes or flood waters pool into your basement.
They provide power when your electrical system fails, and help to channel water out of your home and into a nearby well or drain.
Sump pumps are easy to install and maintain, with regular checks and keeping debris out of the area of the pump.
A backup battery will also provide much-needed power to support your existing pump in severe weather or power failures.
Sump pumps and backup batteries also help save you time and money with expensive cleanups in the event of severe weather.