If your basement does not have a sump pump for some reason, then it is in your best interest to install one. A sump pump can reduce flood damage concerns and mold and mildew formation. If the electricity goes out often in your home due to adverse weather conditions, then make sure to choose a combination sump pump that uses electricity as well as a battery back up. You can install the sump pump yourself if you like to take on DIY projects yourself. There are a few basic installation mistakes you will need to avoid to make sure the pump works properly.
Mistake #1 - Choosing The Wrong Location
Before you install a sump pump, you will need to create a pit for the pump. This pit is where the sump pump will sit below the floor of the concrete foundation, and water will collect in the opening. To collect water properly, the pit must be secured in the right area. Sump pits need to be placed near the foundation wall, since water seeps through the wall during a flood. Also, the pit should be located at the lowest point of the basement. If your home is level, then this area may not be immediately clear.
If you have a a french drain or exterior drain pipe outside, then the sump pump should be placed in the same area, but inside the home. French drains help to move water away from the foundation, and they are typically placed across a low area of the property where water tends to pool. Not only will the drain location indicate a low area of your property, but it will allow you to place the pump discharge pipe over the french drain so water can successfully be moved away from your home.
If you do not have a french drain, then place the pump on the same side of the house where you typically see pooling water. If you are serious about the best placement of the pit, you can invest in a topographical survey. The survey will involve the use of GPS and EDM tools to determine the precise height of flat and raised areas around your home.
After a good location is found, make sure the pit is at least 30 inches deep and 18 to 24 inches wide. This is standard for a sump pit. You can make the pit larger, and one that is 36 inches deep may be wise if water enters the home quickly during a flood. However, this is probably only necessary if you live in a flood prone area.
Mistake #2 - Failing To Place The Pump On Its Own Circuit
If you install a sump pump, then your goal is to make sure the pump is able to run precisely when it is needed. This is why a battery backup is a good idea, since the power may go out during a flood. However, you want the pump to use electricity if your home still has power. A sump pump will actually use quite a bit of power, especially when it starts. When the pump starts, it may use as much as 4100 watts. This is at least 4 times as much power as it takes to run your washing machine. Since the pump draws so much power, it should be placed on its own electrical circuit to keep a breaker from tripping.
If you have a GFCI outlet in the basement that is not in use and is on its own circuit, then this outlet will be perfect for the sump pump. However, if you do not have a GFCI outlet or if the outlet shares a circuit with other outlets, then speak with an electrician or a sump pump installation expert. A new outlet and breaker will need to be installed in your home. This is a project that needs to be completed by a professional for safety reasons.