Flood damage costs approximately $17 billion every year in the United States. Even recurring water issues can cause problems like mold, rust, rot, or electrical fires. If you have regular flooding in your basement or crawl space, a sump pump could be the solution.
There are a lot of different sump pump designs to choose from. It is imperative that you choose the right size and type for your home and make sure that you install it correctly. You may be wondering about DIY options and who installs sump pumps.
Each home is unique, so there is no “one size fits all” solution. Fortunately, there are only a few factors to consider when determining the right steps for your situation.
The information below lays out the process for assessing the severity of your flooding and formulating solutions. It also includes advice on finding the right sump pump installer.
Address the Water Problem First
Before installing a sump pump, if possible, mitigate the causes of water accumulation. For instance, reduce flooding in your crawl space during heavy rains by adding drains to gutters coming off your roof. You can use outdoor curtain drains to reroute water away from your house.
Even if you cannot eliminate the water source, reducing it will mean less work for your sump pump. For homes in an area with a high water table that rises during heavy rains, a sump pump may be necessary no matter what you do.
Issues With Existing Pump
If you have a sump pump, you suspect needs replacing, there are a few indicators to look for. The most obvious one is if it is not pumping water out of the space fast enough. In this scenario, a larger pump may be necessary for extreme flooding conditions.
If it seems like the pump motor is running more loudly than normal, that could be a sign that it is working too hard and might need replacing. It is important to address a faulty pump before it completely goes out.
Also, note that a sump pump should cycle on and off and never be running continuously. If you suspect this is the case, you can try adjusting the float twitch (similar to those in toilet tanks) that causes it to cut on and off.
Select the Right Pump
Sump pumps have been around since 1946. The original one was battery-powered to address flooding during home electrical outages.
Today, there are two main types of sump pumps. Submersible ones contain the motor and other components in a single unit. As the name suggests, they sit under the water inside a basin in your crawl space or basement.
Since they are completely submerged by the water and can be capped off, they are much quieter than other pumps. They also take up less space and tend to clog infrequently.
Pedestal pumps sit on the floor of your basement or crawl space. They are easy to install and maintain. They also are convenient for moving around to different spaces or rooms.
Pedestal sump pumps also are a more economical option. They will run anywhere from $60 to about $200, whereas submersible pumps will cost between $100 and $400. And, since pedestal pumps are not sitting in water, there is less risk of them becoming damaged.
Two limitations of pedestal pumps are power and efficiency. They generally do not have the pumping power of most submersible pumps. This means it takes longer for them to remove water.
Pedestal pumps are easier to install, but they aren’t concealed underground like submersible pumps. But you may need the expertise of a professional to be certain that it is correctly installed.
You can buy sump pumps of various sizes and abilities to handle different spaces. Common sizes are ⅓ and ½ horsepower.
One that is too small will not drain the water fast enough. One that is too large may run too often and wear out quicker.
Metal sump pumps are more pressure-resistant and better at dispersing heat to the surrounding water. That can help extend the life of the unit. Plastic pumps are more resilient against corrosion but are more likely to break under higher pressure.
You can buy pumps with an alert to let you know if the water reaches a certain level. A secondary sump pump can be a good backup solution in emergencies, especially if it is a space that contains items that can be damaged by water. A sump pump (battery) backup is a good idea as well, for situations where your home loses electricity.
Pump Installation Costs
According to Home Advisor, sump pump installation costs between $600 and around $2,000. That is a wide range, which is determined by the size and scope of your project.
For instance, if installers must dig through cement or concrete floors to install a submersible basement sump pump, that will incur greater labor costs. Likewise, if they have to make infrastructure modifications to run drainage pipes, you can expect to pay a bit more for that.
DIY Sump Pump Installation
If you plan to install a sump pump yourself, find the location where the water collects, usually the lowest place in your basement. It also needs to be an area that is close to an electrical outlet. If this is not the case, you might have a certified electrician install one.
Next, dig a hole approximately six inches deeper than the height of your sump pump. (If you are using a pedestal pump, you can skip this step.)
Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the pit and place the pump on top. Then surround the pump with more gravel and place a cover over it.
Attach PVC discharge pipes to the pump. Then drill a ⅛ inch hole in the pipe about six inches above where it attaches to the pump. This “weep hole” prevents your system from becoming pressurized or “air locked” and unable to push water out.
Run PVC outside of the basement or crawl space. Make sure it will dispense in an area far enough away that you are not concerned with erosion or where pooling water could cause other issues.
You also will want to install a check valve that prevents water from flowing back towards the pump when it is not running. Finally, plug the motor in and ensure that the pump is running properly.
Hire a Professional Who Installs Sump Pumps
You may be able to handle a straightforward sump pump installation yourself. But there are many advantages to hiring a professional.
One is that a trained technician can assess the situation and recommend the best solution. This includes selecting the right pump and accompanying hardware and identifying the best location for the pump.
Another advantage is that a professional will be able to tackle any installation barriers you did not anticipate. For instance, they will come equipped to run the PVC discharge piping through brick walls. They will have the right equipment and supplies on hand to ensure the system is working and draining as it should.
This also can translate to a lot of time savings and convenience. You won’t have to make multiple trips to the hardware store to get the right parts or run the risk of selecting the wrong ones.
Also, most reputable installation companies will offer free consultations. So you will know how much the project costs before you agree to it. A technician may get contractors’ discounts on the machines. This could help you save a few bucks on the equipment itself.
Identifying Professional Sump Pump Installers
You will want to find an installer whose advice you can trust and who you know will do a good job. This is easier said than done.
The first thing to do is make sure they are licensed and insured. This means that they (and you) have protection in the event of a major catastrophe.
Next, ask about the amount of experience they have in the business, particularly with sump pump installation. You might request references from past clients if you want to dig a little deeper.
One way to identify who installs sump pumps in your area is to look at online reviews. If you are looking at pricing, be sure you are comparing apples to apples. Also, referrals from friends or family members can be a good way to identify someone who will do the job right.
Install a Sump Pump Today
Now that you know who installs sump pumps and what the process entails, you can decide the best course of action for your home. Remember that identifying the right equipment and proper installation are both keys to ensuring that your basement or crawl space stays free of water.
At Crawlspace Medic, our trained technicians have decades of experience and expertise in sump pump installation. We provide comprehensive solutions, and our pricing is competitive.
We can assess your sump pump problems or provide a new installation. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.
We provide a warranty on all our products and work, so you can have peace of mind that your sump pump will run as it should for years to come.