How to Replace a Sump Pump

With the risk of water damage on the line, replacing a sump pump may seem a little daunting. But rest assured, no claims adjusters will step foot in your basement if you follow these simple steps with the most basic of tools.

The first step is to assess the problem. Is your sump pit draining too slowly? Does your sump pump run for extended periods of time, even on dry days? Or, in the worst case scenario, do your shoes fill with water when you stand in your basement? All of these are signs you may need a new sump pump. But before you rush to the store, run through this checklist to make sure the problem doesn’t have a more simple solution.

1) Have any pipes attached to the sump pump become disconnected?

2) Are there any visible blockages?

3) Did the sump pump come unplugged? 
If none of these apply, it’s time to think about replacement.

From brand to horsepower to warranty, sump pumps run the gamut. Stop into your local home center for all available options and expert advice. Ideally, it’s best to replace the pump on a nice dry day so your sump pit won’t fill too quickly and you’ll have time to work. But if that perfect day isn’t in the 10-day forecast and your pump needs replacing ASAP you can simply rent a pump to empty your pit as you work.

Before you get started, make sure your tool belt is filled with the following: Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, a hand saw, a ratchet set, a tape measurer, a pipe wrench, a length of PVC (no more than five feet), the appropriate PVC connectors/adhesive (if needed), hose clamps (if needed), and a check valve. (The check valve allows water to be pumped out, but prevents it from coming back in.)

As they say, every beginning is also an end, so with your new pump in hand and your tool belt well stocked it’s time to disconnect the old pump. First, unplug the old unit. Then, disconnect the sump pump from the pipe. This may be as easy as unscrewing the pump if it has a threaded connection or just loosening some hose clamps. If your pump is old, the pipe may have seemed to permanently affix itself. In this case, simply cut the PVC a few feet up from the pump with your handsaw.

Next, connect the new piece of PVC to your new sump pump. If it requires hose clamps make sure to ratchet them tight. If the connection is threaded you’ll need a PVC connector. Use your pipe wrench to tighten the connector to the pump and use a PVC adhesive to secure the pipe to the connector. After that connection is made, move on to the check valve. Most check valves have the required hose clamps included so installation is a snap. Simply attach the valve (correct side up!) to the existing outgoing pipe and secure it. Next, place the pump on the floor of the sump pit. To attach the new pipe to the existing one you’ll need to measure, mark, then cut the new piece of PVC to the correct height so that the pump will sit on the sump pit floor and still reach up to be securely connected to the check valve. Once it’s cut, move the pump into position directly under the existing pipe and work the new piece of PVC into the check valve and secure it. Lastly, plug in the pump, pour in some water, and marvel at your handy work as the water is quickly pumped out and you just saved some hard-earned money on a plumber’s bill.

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