How to Install a Sump Pump: A Step-by-Step Guide

April 4, 2024
How to Install a Sump Pump: A Step-by-Step Guide

Written by: Deane Biermeier / Facts Checked by; Ryan Cullenward / Products Tested by Licensed Interior Designers

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A sump pump is a crucial device that helps prevent basement flooding and water damage by removing excess water from the sump pit. Whether you're experiencing frequent basement water issues or looking to safeguard your home from potential flooding, learning how to install a sump pump can be a valuable skill. This step-by-step guide will provide the necessary instructions and insights to install a sump pump in your home successfully.  

Materials and Tools Needed 

  • Sump pump  
  • Sump pit  
  • PVC pipe and fittings  
  • Check valve  
  • Pipe wrench  
  • Screwdriver  
  • Utility knife  
  • PVC cement  
  • Electrical wires and connectors  
  • Gravel or rocks  
  • Silicone caulk (if required)  

Excavation and Sump Pit Preparation

  1. Locate an Ideal Installation Site:
    • Choose a location in the basement or crawl space where water tends to accumulate during periods of heavy rain or flooding. This area should be accessible and close to a power source.
  2. Mark and Measure the Pit Area:
    • Use a tape measure to mark the dimensions of the sump pit. The pit should be deep enough to accommodate the pump, with additional space around it for gravel or drainage rock.
  3. Excavate the Pit:
    • Using a shovel or excavator, dig a hole according to the marked dimensions for the sump pit. The depth of the pit will depend on local building codes and the depth required to effectively collect water.
  4. Ensure Proper Sloping:
    • Ensure that the bottom of the pit slopes towards the center to encourage water drainage towards the sump pump. This helps prevent water from pooling in one area of the pit.
  5. Install Perforated Pipe (Optional):
    • For added drainage capacity, consider installing a perforated pipe around the perimeter of the pit. This pipe can help collect water from the surrounding soil and direct it towards the sump pump.
  6. Add Gravel or Drainage Rock:
    • Place a layer of gravel or drainage rock at the bottom of the pit to promote water filtration and prevent debris from entering the pump. This also helps to stabilize the pump and provides a solid base.
  7. Check Pit Dimensions:
    • Double-check the dimensions and depth of the pit to ensure it meets the requirements for the sump pump installation. Make any necessary adjustments to the excavation as needed.
  8. Test Pit Drainage:
    • Before installing the sump pump, test the pit drainage by pouring water into the pit and observing how quickly it drains away. This helps ensure that the pit is properly sloped and prepared for the pump installation.
  9. Secure the Pit Walls:
    • If necessary, reinforce the walls of the pit with concrete or masonry to prevent collapse during heavy rainfall or flooding. This helps maintain the integrity of the pit and ensures the safety of the pump installation.
  10. Prepare for Pump Installation:
    • Once the sump pit is excavated and prepared, it's ready for the installation of the sump pump. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to ensure proper installation and effective operation.

A Step-by-Step Guide  

Installing a sump pump can help prevent basement flooding by effectively removing water accumulating in the sump pit. There is the following step-by-step guide on how to install a sump pump:  

Step 1: Choose the Location 

Select a suitable location in the basement where water tends to collect. Ensure it's near a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet for electrical connection and within reach of a drainage area, such as a storm sewer or dry well.  

Step 2: Dig the Sump Pit 

Using a shovel or an appropriate tool, dig a hole in the selected area deep and wide enough to accommodate the sump pit. The pit should be large enough to maintain the sump pump and allow easy access and maintenance.  

Step 3: Install the Sump Pit 

Place the sump pit into the hole you dug, ensuring it sits level on the bottom. Add a layer of gravel or rocks around the pit to stabilize it and aid in drainage.  

Step 4: Connect the PVC Pipe 

Attach a PVC pipe to the outlet port on the sump pump. Extend the pipe vertically until it reaches above the basement floor level. Use PVC cement to secure the connection and ensure it's watertight.  

Step 5: Install the Check Valve  

Connect a check valve to the top end of the vertical PVC pipe. The check valve stops water from flowing back into the sump pit after being pumped. Secure the connection with PVC cement.  

Step 6: Route the Discharge Pipe 

Attach additional PVC pipes and fittings to route the discharge pipe from the check valve to the desired drainage area. Secure the connections with PVC cement. Ensure the pipe slopes downward for proper drainage.  

Step 7: Secure the Sump Pump 

Place the sump pump into the sump pit, ensuring it sits upright and level. Use bricks or blocks underneath the pump to stabilize it if needed.  

Step 8: Connect the Electrical Wiring 

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to connect the electrical wires of the sump pump to a GFCI outlet. Use appropriate connectors and ensure proper grounding to meet safety standards.  

Step 9: Test the Sump Pump 

Pour some water into the sump pit to start the pump. Verify that it starts pumping water out through the discharge pipe and that the check valve prevents backflow. Make any necessary adjustments or repairs if issues arise.  

Step 10: Seal Gaps (If Required) 

If there are gaps or openings around the sump pit or discharge pipe, use silicone caulk to seal them. It helps prevent water leakage and keeps the system functioning efficiently.  


By following the step-by-step guide, you can ensure that your sump pump installation is done correctly, allowing it to function efficiently and protect your basement from water-related problems. It's essential to note that while the following guide provides a general overview of the installation process, it's always advisable to consult the manufacturer's instructions and local building codes to ensure compliance and safety.

Disclosure: receives an affiliate commission on some, but not all, of the products we recommend—but only if you decide to click through to the retailer's site and make a purchase.

Deane Biermeier - A senior contractor and an experienced freelance writer - expert for reviews

Deane is an amazing freelancer with wide range of skills. He has good ideas and a prominent passion of writing. He is currently working on many websites including Sanitary Supply.

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