This Article is About
sump pump
screw driver
discharge pipe
sump pit
float switch
check valve
electrical outlet
How To Replace A Sump Pump
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If you have replaced a sump pump before, the following is too detailed for you; however if you have never replaced a sump pump before, relax. You can do it. I remember the first time I did it many years ago, our sump pump failed during a rainstorm. Fortunately we had a spare pump on hand, the exact model. I never replaced a sump pump before; however since it was a Saturday evening, I decided to give it a try. I was concerned I would mess up and our finished basement would be ruined. Installation went well. The only mistake I made was not tightening the check valve clamp tight enough and water started spraying me and the wall. I quickly grabbed a screw driver, tightened the clamp, and that did it.

Rather than learn how to replace a sump pump during an emergency, I am suggesting you do a trial run. Here’s to your success as you follow the steps below.

How to Prepare

1) Learn about your current sump pump. Is it a submersible? How long is the power cord? Does it have a piggyback switch cord (does the cord that plugs into the electrical outlet have another cord plugged into it?)? What kind of float switch does it have (Tether, vertical, diaphragm or electronic water sensor)? What kind of material is used for the pump housing? Is it corroded? How old is the pump?

2) Learn about your sump pump system configuration How many pumps do you have in the sump pit? If two, are they sitting side by side or on top of each other? How much room is there between them? Where is the check valve located? How is the check valve attached to the discharge pipe (by rubber sleeve couplings and clamps or does it screw into a plastic coupling cemented to a piece of discharge pipe)? Where is the water coming from in the pit (from the bottom and sides)? If you have two pumps does each pump have its own plug-in socket and circuit breaker?

3) Check your comfort level. If the above questions are overwhelming, learn more about your system before you perform your trial run.

4) Check the weather forecast. No rain means you can relax because if you get stuck your basement will not flood. Performing a trial run during the week is best just in case you need to call a plumber to finish the job.  Make sure you have two hours of uninterrupted time. The trial run should not take that long; however allowing for the unexpected makes good sense.

5) Get the necessary tools ready: a screw driver, a bucket to put the sump pump in so water does not get on the floor, a good flashlight, plenty of overhead light, a pipe wrench, an adjustable wrench, a pair of rubber gloves, a wet dry vacuüm, and a bucket to hold your tools . It is also a good idea to have a new check valve handy just in case the old one leaks after reinstalling. 

How To Remove the Sump Pump From the Pit

You are now ready to begin the instructions for replacing a sump pump. . You can also see the instructions by checking out the video ‘How to Replace a Sump Pump’.

1) Unplug the sump pump. You do not want an electrical shock or personal injury.

2) Identify how the pump is located in the pit. On which side of the pit is most of the pump located? It seems so obvious; however you may be surprised how the location can become a big issue when you put the pump back into the pit.

3) Find where the discharge pipe is coupled together. Most systems have a check valve acting as the coupler.  A check valve is either screwed into a section of the discharge pipe or clamped in place over rubber coupling. Loosen the check valve. Be prepared for water to run from the upper piece of the discharge pipe. It is smart to put a bucket under the pipe until all the water drains out. When completed the bottom section of the discharge pipe will be  moveable.  

4) Take the bottom section of the discharge pipe and lift it carefully – the sump pump is attached to it. You can expect around 30 pounds of weight.  Be careful not to damage the float switch. Lift the pipe and sump pump out of the pit.

5) Place the sump pump in a bucket to collect any water remaining in the pump. Clean the pump and float switch. A mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar works well.

6) Check the bottom of the pit. Remove pebbles, sludge and whatever else you find that may cause obstruction for the pump causing it to fail. A wet-dry vacuüm makes removal easy of unwanted substance easy. The first time I replaced our existing sump pump, I found a three-quarter inch thick four-inch long cast iron bolt. The builder must have dropped it in the pit.

7) Unscrew the discharge pipe from the sump pump adapter. Notice how tight it is. If there is an air lock hole toward the bottom of the discharge pipe, make sure it is open and the area around it is clean.

Place The Pump Back Into The Pit

1) Screw the discharge pipe back into the sump pump adapter. Make it tight with an extra quarter turn.

2) Turn the sump pump so it can be placed in the pit like it was before removal.

3) Lower the pump and discharge pipe back into the pit. Align the two sections of discharge pipe.

4) Attach the check valve. Make sure the check valve is placed upright in the direction of the arrow and tighten it with an extra quarter turn.

5) Plug the pump into the outlet. If the pit does not have enough water in it to trigger the float switch add water.

6) Watch the pump run. If water is spraying, check what requires tightening. If there is no spray of water and the pump ran emptying the pit, you completed your trial run successfully.

Congratulations! You are ready for the ‘real’ thing.

To make the instructions above come to life watch 'How to Replace a Sump Pump’.  Watch additional pump videos on my website as well.

Street Talk

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