Norton Seal Sump Pump Basics

At Home

How to Install a Sump Pump

Hoping to add some more living space to your home by finishing your basement? Then you probably know it’s critical to install a sump pump system into your basement. It’s a great idea – even if you’ve never had a flooded basement in the past.

Bad weather can take you by surprise, but not if you’re prepared with a plan to deal with flooding. Get the facts you need with our sump pump selection and installation instructions so you’ll know what it takes to help prevent basement flooding.


    On screen: American Family Insurance logo appears for a few seconds and then transitions to an animation providing visual detail to what is being said.

    Narrator: Whether you've got a finished basement or use it for storage, your sump pump helps keep your home dry and your dreams on track.

    Not sure how?

    On screen: Animation of a sump pump pumping water out of a space.

    Narrator: To put it simply, sump pumps remove excess water that accumulates in and around your home, which is handy after storms or spring rains, but it's possible for a sump pump to stop working.

    On screen: Animation of water levels rising due to pump failure.

    Narrator: Sometimes due to a power outage or simply due to a breakdown or failure of the pump. And the result can mean a very wet basement and damages that likely aren't covered by your homeowner's insurance policy.

    Our sump pump overflow coverage can help. This extra layer of protection will safeguard your  investments from water damage in the event of sump pump failure.

    Think this coverage might be right for you? Contact your agent, they're here to make sure you've got the coverage you need to protect what matters most.

What Does It Cost to Install a Sump Pump?

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install a sump pump is around $1,200 — average fees range from $650 on the low end to $1,900 on the higher side. Because sump pumps are at work almost every day, it’s important that the installation is done correctly by a qualified contractor.

Consider requesting an itemized quote from at least three installers. Sump pits, or sump basins, sit below the concrete floor and need to be dug out and placed within the water table below the soil to do their job correctly. Ask about the cost to dig and prep the basin when getting quotes.

Preparing for Sump Pump Installation

If you’re a DIY’er, installing a sump pump yourself does require a wide assortment of tools — and some plumbing know-how. It’s best to look online for how-to videos to familiarize yourself with the process before you take on the job.

If you decide to outsource the installation of a new sump pump, you’ll pay more in labor, but you’ll also get some assurance the job’s been done correctly.

Here are some things to consider when installing a sump pump:

Check in with a plumber. Here’s when you may want to consult with a qualified plumber to learn more about the size of sump system will suit your home best. They’ve got experience that may be worth a quick visit, and can offer key tips on location, installation and maintenance — even if you’re doing the job yourself.

Select a place for the sump pump. Have a professional dig out a hole for the sump basin in the lowest part of your basement where the ground water typically collects. Use a laser level to help you find that spot. It’s also a good idea to locate it with other mechanicals like your furnace and water heater. You may find a larger basin paired with a stronger pump may be required to keep your basement dry.

Select the right cover. Sump pump well caps do an important job, so be sure yours is made for the sump basin you selected. Some lids are designed to operate in tandem with existing radon mitigation systems — so consult with your radon specialist about integrating your new sump pit with an existing radon plan.

Instructions on Sump Pump Installation

Now that you’ve got the tools, materials and know-how, all that’s left is to get the job done. Manage your water problems head on and take a look at these steps to get your sump pump in the ground.

Install a GFCI circuit near the pump. Make sure the plug for the pump is connected to a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet in order to protect it against short circuiting and fire. Consult a certified electrician if you need help.

Dig out and install the sump basin. Place the basin so its top is just below grade. Cut a circle in the concrete larger than the perimeter of the basin, then jack hammer out concrete.

Dig deep and get below the water table. Once that’s done, place the basin. It’s a good idea to place a silt filter around the outside of the basin to keep rocks and silt from clogging the sump pump.

Place the sump pump into the basin. First, you’ll want to drop several inches of gravel into the bottom of the hole, then place a large paver to that. This provides your pump with a level position from which to pump. Focus on the sump pump’s position so the float will only activate the pump after the water table rises.

Target the discharge line. This part of the sump system takes the water above grade with a PVC pipe where it then flows away from the home. Select a discharge location that’s sloped away from your home and away from the foundation.

You’ll need to punch a hole through the rim joist in the basement with a hole saw first. Then, place the discharge pipe through the hole. Use a PVC union to connect it to a corrugated pipe and discharge the water away from your home.

Seal the discharge hole with silicon caulk. To keep out dirt, mice and other unwanted critters, seal the hole around the discharge pipe with exterior grade caulk.

Other Key Basement Waterproofing Considerations

There are many steps you can take to keep water out of your basement and get news to you of problems in real-time. And if you’ll be breaking up concrete in the basement anyway, now may be the perfect the time to think about some other water management options — that can really help you to protect your lower level.

Install a French drain. They’re comprised of a below-grade gutter that runs around the edge of your foundation and feeds water into the sump basin. French drains are a good addition to basements that see a lot of water seeping between the footing and the foundation wall.

Pick up a back-up sump pump and battery package. It’s a good idea to think about a backup battery sump pump system. Installing one can save on insurance costs. For a little more money, you’ll have protection when the rain comes and lightning knocks out the power.

Install smart water sensors. Part of a smart home alarm system, water sensors deliver early warning directly to your smart phone when something’s wrong. Install these directly onto the sidewall of the sump pump basin so you’ll be alerted when the water level’s above the top of the pump, but not outside the well. These little sensors can really save the day.

Install check valves. Check valves keep water and sewage from back flowing into your home. You’ll need one for your sump systems and another for the drain in your basement. Install a sewer backflow check valve to prevent sewage from backing up through the floor drain. Consult with a plumber on size and scale before purchasing and don’t forget the hose clamps!

Congrats, that was a lot of hard work! Having a dry basement can really put your mind at ease. While you’re taking steps to keep out that unwanted water, connect with your American Family agent to make sure you have the coverage to protect!

How would you rate this article?

Related Topics: Home DIY