Project #1: Fix Sump Pump.
You never know what you’re going to get when you buy a new house. Sometimes the previous owners have a different idea on how to take care of things than you do. The ski chalet sits in an area with an average of 200 inches of snow each winter. So, what does spring bring!? Flooded basements. Yay… I did get lucky and there was a sump pump present in the basement. It wasn’t functioning properly and the basement had about 6 inches of standing water. I am not a huge fan of plumbing…but sometimes it needs to be done. So, I set off to figure out how to change out my sump pump and dry out my basement. This project shouldn’t intimidate anyone! It’s very doable!
Sump pumps are rated on how many gallons per hour they can pump and how many horsepower they are. I bought the smaller one, which pumps 3000 gallons per hour. I am hoping my basement doesn’t flood that fast!!
When you are buying your pump, it is important to note the size of the hole that is required for the pump to sit into. It will need to be large enough for the pump to fit into, as well as deep enough to allow the floater to reach its trigger point to turn on the pump.
The box/instructions will tell you what size discharge pipe you will need. This is the pipe that you attach to the pump for the water to travel up through. This particular sump pump said 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inch. I chose to go with 1 1/2 inch pipe since that what is present in my basement. I also chose to replace most of the pipe because several of the connectors were leaking when I did get the sump pump to run. PVC pipe and all the different connectors are easy to find and cheap to buy.
Since the discharge pipe is 1 1/4 inches, I bought this 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch adapter. You’ll notice that the small end will thread into the sump pump and the larger end will fit over the top of the 1 1/2 inch pipe:
I then cut a piece of 1 1/2 pipe that was about 2 feet long. Above this pipe is going to be something called a check valve. This will prevent the water from flowing backwards when the pump stops pumping. There isn’t any set height it has to be at, but it is a good connection where you could disconnect in the future if you need to. So I wanted this to be at an easily reachable height. I chose ~2 feet. I cut my pipe with my jig saw. Anything will work because the plastic is easy to cut!
From here on, these pipes won’t be threaded, so we need to secure our connections another way. This one will be glued and will slip into the connector that I screwed into the sump pump. I used this:
I applied the cement around the outside of the pipe that was going to go into the adapter, making sure to get the entire circumference.
As soon as the cement is where I wanted it, I firmly secured the pipe inside the connector.
There are several types of check valves. This is the one I chose:
Looking through the valve, it appears closed. When water flows one way it will press the valve open and allow water to flow and when there isn’t enough pressure against the valve (when the pump shuts off), the valve will close preventing back flow. So, that being said, it’s important that it gets installed in the correct direction.
Here are pictures of the valve closed and me pushing the valve open with a screw driver:
This particular check valve will be secured with the metal clamps. The foam piece will slide directly over the 1 1/2 inch pipe and the clamps are tightened with a flathead screw driver.
Here’s where I am at so far:
After the check valve, the pipe needs to exit the building. My pipe that leaves the basement is up above my head, so I need to extend the pipe to that height and then make it turn in the right direction. At this point, I took the sump pump and placed it in the hole so that I could measure the length of pipe that I needed to cut.
Again, I cut the pipe with my jig saw. Super easy. The bottom of the newly cut pipe will go into the top of the check valve. With the pipe as far in the top as it will go, tighten the metal clamps with a screw driver.
Now the top of the pipe needs a 90 degree turn to connect with the pipe that is leaving the basement. These are easy to find. The wider ends on the corner piece slide right over the top of your pipe. I used the cement again on the outside of the 1 1/2 pipes and slid them into the 90 degree corner piece.
And there it is!! All complete!! The cement needs 30 minutes to dry before running water through the pipes, so I waited at least that long before plugging it in.
In addition to replacing the sump pump, I cracked the windows on either side (be safe if you do this) for airflow and ran a fan in the basement to hopefully prevent any mold growth.
Cost of this project:
- Sump pump (this varies based off of size and flow) $87.98
- 10 foot 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe $5.75
- 90 degree elbow $1.25
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch adapter $1.60
- Cement $6.41
- Check valve $10.32
Angie’s List reports that people spent an average of $442.53 to replace their sump pumps.
- A saw of some sort to cut the pipe, even a hacksaw would work
- A flat head screw driver, depending on the type of check valve
Time to grade the project!
This project wasn’t too bad!! The water in the basement is relatively clean, right? Better than plumbing in the house (gross). It’s just rain water! PVC pipe is actually kind of fun to work with. It’s easy to cut. With the right connections, you can make it do whatever you want. And it’s cheap!