How to Prepare Your Basement for Sump Pump Installation

What You'll Need
4-Foot level
Tape Measure
Electrical cable
Electrical outlet
Wire cutter
Screw driver

Although a sump pump installation will likely remove excess water from your basement, there are preparations you will need to make if your sump pump is to work as you expect. Not only will you likely need to install a sump pump, but you'll also need to install a well, or pit, where some of the excess water collects to be removed by the pump. To prepare your basement for the installation of a sump pump, follow the steps below:

Step 1 – Determine How to Channel Water

Water can only be pumped out of your basement if it reaches the well in which your pump is installed. There are several ways you can channel water into this well. Before beginning to install your pump, first determine how you will drain excess water into the pump well. One option is to install a French drain below your basement floor surface. If the French drain is installed properly, excess water will then flow through this drain into your pump well. A second option is to slope your basement floor so water will run across the floor and into the well. A third option, if your basement floor is already sloped, is to build your well at the lowest point in your floor.

Step 2 – Take Safety Precautions

Even with a sump pump in your basement you will likely find at least a small amount of water on the floor. This will be water that may not have drained yet into the pump well. To be safe, remove all electrical apparatus such as heaters, appliances, extension cords, etc. from the floor. Also remove material such as boxes, pallets, etc., that can soak up and retain moisture that could be a breeding ground for mold.

Step 3 – Determine Locations for Your Well and Water Discharge

Plan to build your well at the lowest place on your floor. This will help avoid water pooling where it cannot drain into the pump well. You will also need to plan the location where water from your pump will be expelled. Options may include your lawn, a garden, a drainage ditch, or a sanitary sewer drain. Be sure the water will drain away from your home and from those of your neighbors. Water expelled near your home's foundation could seep down alongside the foundation and leak back into your basement.

Step 4 – Purchase the Right Sump Pump

Before purchasing your sump pump, measure the height between your pump discharge and the point at which the water will leave the discharge pipe. Also, the length of the discharge pipe will be an important factor in determining the volume of discharge water your new pump will be able to handle. So, include this figure in your measurements.

Step 5 –Check the Distance of a Nearby Electrical Outlet

To provide electrical power to your pump you may need to install a nearby electrical outlet. Check the distance from your well to the nearest receptacle. Talk with an electrician to determine if this will be an approved distance between your pump and outlet. If it is not, you will need to install an outlet at the recommended distance.