A properly installed and maintained sump pump is crucial for keeping water out of your basement. As a homeowner, learning how to connect a sump pump correctly ensures it can do its job effectively when water invades. Follow this step-by-step guide to sump pump installation and you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your basement will stay dry.

Selecting the Right Sump Pump

Choosing the appropriate sump pump for your home is the first step. Consider the following factors:

Pump Capacity

Determine how much water your sump pump needs to move. Measure the square footage of your basement to estimate the gallon-per-hour (gph) rating you need. A general guideline is a pump that can move at least 10 gph for every 100 square feet of basement space.

Pump Type

Submersible sump pumps are highly recommended over pedestal pumps. Submersible pumps sit in the sump pit underwater, keeping them lubricated and cool. They tend to last longer than pedestal pumps.

Power Source

Battery backup sump pumps provide protection when the power goes out. Water won't stop invading your basement just because the electricity is off! This backup power source gives you peace of mind.

Sump Pit Size

Match your pump to an adequately sized sump pit. An 18-24 inch diameter pit is ideal for most homes. Make sure the pump will fit and have room for water flow.

Sump Pump Discharge Options

Proper water discharge from your sump pump is critical to keep your basement dry. Two possible discharge methods are:

Through the Foundation Wall

Drilling a hole through the foundation wall allows connecting a discharge pipe to channel water outside and away from the house.

Existing Floor Drain

If a large interior floor drain exists, the sump pump discharge can tie into this.

In either case, extend the discharge pipe at least 10-20 feet from the foundation before releasing the water. Avoid draining near walkways or foundations where water could pool and infiltrate.

Step-by-Step Sump Pump Installation

Follow these steps to properly install your new sump pump:

Dig the Sump Pit

Dig a hole approximately 18-24 inches wide by 12-18 inches deep. The depth equates to roughly the height of the sump pump plus a few extra inches.

Add Gravel

Line the bottom of the pit with 2-3 inches of gravel. Gravel provides drainage and filtration.

Position the Pump

Place the sump pump in the center of the pit. For submersible models, position it upright on the gravel.

Secure Discharge Pipe

Attach discharge piping to the pump outlet. Run it to your selected discharge point outside the foundation wall or to an existing floor drain. Don't forget the check valve!

Anchor Pump

Use a nylon rope or metal strap screwed into the pit sides to anchor the pump. This prevents shifting and tipping over.

Install Lid

A sump pump lid over the pit opening is crucial to prevent debris from falling in and clogging the pump. Cut a hole just big enough for the discharge pipe.

Power Supply

Connect the pump to a GFCI electrical outlet, or install a battery backup system for protection when the power fails.

Test It

Pour several gallons of water into the pit to test pump operation before backfilling around the sump pit. The pump should quickly activate and discharge water through the connected piping.

Maintaining Your Sump Pump

Ongoing maintenance keeps your sump pump working properly when it's needed most:

By selecting the appropriate pump, installing it correctly, and performing regular maintenance, you can rely on your sump pump to prevent costly water damage in your basement. Follow these best practices for connecting your sump pump and have confidence it will save your basement for years to come.