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Sump Pump Installation: A Cautionary Tale And What It Tells

by Tara Pena

Sump pump installation, especially when you do not have a sump pump to begin with, is tricky business. There are many things that could and can go wrong when installing a sump pump for the very first time. The following highlights just a few of those missteps and how you can prevent them.

Placing the Hole Too Close to a Foundation Wall

Not only should you not place a sump pump hole really close to a foundation wall, but you should also avoid creating a hole that is not a complete circle. Homeowners who think that they can DIY a sump pump installation have made the mistake of creating a half- or three-quarter circle in their basement floor to act as the sump pump hole, failing to understand that the fully circular hole is necessary for the full range of motion of the pump's parts. A less-than-full-circle hole also collects water faster and triggers the pump to go off more frequently than it needs to. Finally, a sump pump hole that is too close to the foundation wall can cause structural issues and foundation cracks, expenses that will exceed the cost of having a professional contractor install the sump pump.

Not Making the Sump Pump Hole the Correct Depth

Another major mistake homeowners and DIYers make with sump pump installation is making the hole too deep or not deep enough. If you make it too deep, you could end up with a partially-flooded basement before the pump is finally triggered and begins to pump out the water. If you make the hole too shallow, the pump runs non-stop, uses up a ton of electricity, and then burns itself out. Then you have to replace the pump and repeat the process until you make the hole deeper.

Making the Water Pipe to the Outside Far Too Short

The third and final mistake that contractors see a lot of is making the water pipe to the outside far too short. Sure, the homeowners have a pipe that helps carry the pumped water up and out of the house, but then they cut the pipe off right near the foundation. Guess what happens then? That's right--the water seeps back down and through the foundation walls to the basement floor. Your pipe should travel out several feet away from the foundation of your home, or you should invest in a French drain system to help eliminate the pumped water.

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