Sump Pump Installation – What You Should Know

A sump pump may be the best investment you’ll ever make, to protect the contents of your basement.  No matter what you’re storing down there, it probably shouldn’t get wet.  Even damp, humid or moist conditions can be detrimental to your stuff.  A sump pump, properly installed by a reputable plumbing service can ensure that water/moisture stays out, and your basement stays dry.

Many house foundations are susceptible to water infiltration, due to the natural presence of standing water. Sometimes the condition is ongoing, and sometimes it is periodic – for example, during spring melt, or exceptionally heavy rain.  Water looks for the path of least resistance, and your basement may be in that path. A sump pump drives accumulating water away from your house.

How a Sump Pump Works

A sump pump is typically installed in your basement, in a location subjected to water infiltration. There may be no amount of waterproofing that will keep the water out of your home’s foundation. The sump pump will, in an ongoing fashion, protect against this ongoing accumulation, by removing it, away from the house. They can also be installed outdoors, in low areas of your yard, for example, where water tends to collect.

How a Sump Pump is Installed

A professional plumbing contractor can assist in identifying the ideal location for your sump pump.  Ideally it needs to be placed at the low water location of your basement. The pump needs to be lower than the standing water, so the floor will likely need to be broken, and a pit created, for the pump assembly to sit in.  AC power will be required to plug the system in, and piping will run from the pipe away from the house.  As mentioned, sump pump locations can also be outside, again, where water collects, such as a dip in the land, or a known water table location. These outside installations protect against excessive water accumulation outside which could lead to flooding.

Sump Pump Technical Considerations

Two of the most common types of sump pumps are:

  • Pedestal – as the name implies, these sit above the pit on a pedestal, with hose leading down into the reservoir. They can generally remove up to 35 gallons a minute, with a one-third to one-half  horsepower motor. A hose draws water up from the hole; then it is removed away from the house. Two considerations – being above ground, these pumps tend to be noisier. The advantage to them is that they are easier to service.
  • Submersible – these waterproof assemblies have a more powerful motor – three-quarter horsepower, and are capable of removing 60+ gallons of water a minute.  Being underground, they are far quieter than the pedestal type.  The downside is that being situated where they are, they are more difficult to service.

Sump Pump Cost Considerations

Several factors will impact the installed cost of your sump pump system, which can run anywhere from $1000 to $4000 plus.  These include:

Location:

  • Basement
  • Crawlspace
  • Outdoor

Of the three, crawlspace installations will be the most expensive, due to the confined installation space and the additional labour associated with it.

Cost of the pump:

The type of pump (pedestal, submersible) and the pump capacity (motor size) will determine the cost of the unit, which could range from $200 to over $500.

Battery backup:

This feature is a good idea in the event of a power outage – consider, for example, a major rainstorm with lightning that knocks out the electricity in your neighbourhood. This type of unit will cost considerably more owing to the need for the battery pack and additional installation requirements, perhaps $1000 or more extra.

Labour cost:

This, of course, is a major component to any construction or renovation project. The labour associated with your sump pump installation will vary, due to the factors already listed, plus local considerations in your area, such as labour rates, permit requirements, and parts, such as piping, connections, etc. Working with expert installer will obviously cost more than a more questionable “handyman” install.

Conclusion

You may well need a sump pump to keep your basement and its contents dry and free from rot and mildew.  The last thing you want to do is go down there and be surprised by either a major flood, or evidence that moisture has infiltrated your valuable stored items and other possessions.  A properly installed and maintained sump pump assembly will guard against such an undesirable and potentially expensive scenario.  You may want to check your area for the presence of standing water issues. Your municipality may have such information, and your neighbours almost certainly will.  If you determine that you do require a sump pump installation for your basement, the next step is to source out a reputable and qualified installer.  This will go a long way to making sure the job is done right, and that your money is well spent.  The last thing you want is a heavy rain and a flooded basement, with your new sump pump sitting there, doing nothing.

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