How to Install a Submersible Sump Pump


When building homes with basements, even the best builders cannot guarantee that a basement will not leak. Often, the water table in the area is high. There may be underground lakes or, in areas where the land used to be farmland, tile may have been placed in the ground to improve drainage--drainage that was good for the farmer then but now diverts excess water directly toward your foundation. Therefore, before builders pour a concrete basement, they install drainage tile that drains toward a corner of the basement where they frame an open rectangular hole before pouring a cement foundation. An outlet pipe is installed through the foundation, connecting the hole to an outside ditch or sewer line. A plumber places a submersible sump pump in the hole and connects it to the pipe. When the water level hits a certain height in the hole, the sump pump turns on and pumps the water from the hole out to the ditch or sewer and thus prevents the basement from flooding. Over time, the pump or the motor of the sump pump wears out and the submersible sump pump must be replaced.

Things You'll Need

  • Submersible sump pump Pipe wrench
  • Observe the basement, and if the floor is flooded or you haven't heard the pump kick on for a while, the sump pump probably needs to be replaced. Check the fuse box first before assuming the problem is in the pump. If the fuses are all "on," then the culprit is likely a bad pump or motor. Unplug the old pump from the electric outlet.

  • Use the pipe wrench to loosen the coupler holding the outflow opening of the pump to the outlet pipe. Lift the old pump out of the hole. Have an old bucket or piece of plastic ready on which to place the old, wet pump.

  • Clean off any corrosion from the threads on the outlet pipe and wrap the threads with some Teflon tape. Place the new sump pump into the hole and wiggle it to ensure it is seated firmly in the hole. Use the pipe wrench to attach the outflow opening of the pump to the outlet pipe.

  • Plug in the new sump pump and lift the float to ensure that the pump starts. You will hear the motor kick on.

  • Adjust the float to the maximum water level height that the hole should achieve before the pump turns on. If you wish, you may pour a few buckets of water into the hole to help you establish the correct water level.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the threads on the pipe are corroded, use a wire brush to remove any rust or corrosion. Adding Teflon tape around the threads of the outlet pipe before attaching it to the new pump will help prevent more corrosion in the future. Buying one of the the best sump pumps you can afford can often alleviate having to replace it within a few years. They come in various horsepower levels and can have one of several types of shut-off mechanisms, including the float.
  • Do not stand in the hole or in standing water when unplugging the old pump or plugging in the new one.

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