Picking up Nickels

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Sump pump installation update

When our basement was flooded in March, I mentioned that I wasn't terribly confident in the Utilitech pump we were sold by the guys that did the emergency pump out and temporary sump pump install for us. While it got us out of a jam, it wasn't something that I wanted in place on a long term basis.

The company that performed the temporary install of my original sump pump (in a sump liner installed by the builder) did a bit of a sloppy job since the work was rushed as they did it while standing in a few inches of water at the time. They left me with a pump of questionable quality, sloppy PVC pipe joints with dripping glue, daylight shining through the hole they made for the sump pump outlet pipe in my concrete foundation wall, and a jury rigged length of leaf blower gutter extensions diverting the basement water from sump pump away from my foundation.

With that in mind, I began to plan my permanent sump pump install by doing some reading at the terrylove.com forums (which led to my earlier purchase of Toto Drake toilets) and by picking the brain of a retired pipe fitter (whose daughter I happen to be married to :D). The consensus was a 1/2 HP cast iron Zoeller Flow-Mate 98 sump pump with a Zoeller 30-0181 check valve (a valve which allows the water from the sump pump to flow through it in only one direction) and a short run of buried 1.5" PVC pipe to divert the water away from the house.

On a related note, if anyone out there is trying to decide what kind of sump pump to purchase, this basementsystems.com youtube video does a nice job of discussing what you should be looking for in a sump pump (properly sized, cast iron body, solid float switch type, screen-less intake, etc.) and while the presenter doesn't actually mention brand names in the video, the pump he recommends at the end is a cast iron Zoeller pump:

Now, on to the work...

Unable to find the model pump I wanted locally, I ordered the Zoeller pump and check valve from irawoods.com for about $205, who took a few weeks to ship my order due to the high demand for sump pumps (I actually received the pump 5 days after the date of manufacture stamped on the housing). I also spent about $27 on 20 feet of 1.5" PVC pipe plus miscellaneous fittings, a pointing trowel, and a small bucket of hydraulic cement at Home Depot to complete the install.

Once I had my materials gathered, I cleaned all of the water and debris out my sump liner and installed my new pump and check valve in it. Next I dug a small trench out in the yard for the run of 1.5" PVC pipe that would divert the water from the sump pump away from the foundation, assembled, glued, and tested the drain line, and backfilled the trench. Finally, some white oakum was packed between the PVC pipe and the hole in my foundation wall and the rest of the void was filled on both sides of the foundation with hydraulic cement. Amazing, all this glim and glam for the grand sum of about $232 plus some sweat equity! ;)

After one final test, I verified that my new pump installation was working well (and more quietly to boot!). While I was at it, I installed an inexpensive Reliance Controls THP205 Sump Pump Alarm and picked up a First Alert Radon Test Kit for a little more peace of mind. Similarly, I will have my old sump pump on standby in case I have a problem with my Zoeller pump.

We've also had the contractor start work dealing with our sinkholes by removing the buried stumps out of our property. More details (and pictures) to follow.



  • Wow, it sounds that the guys who put your first sump pump could have used some tips from Bob Villa. Great information on this site, I wish I would have found this about two weeks ago as i just made a purchase on a pump.

    By Anonymous Frank, at 7/6/10, 8:57 PM  

  • Thanks Frank.

    We were at 6" of water in our basement and rising when we had the initial sump pump install done, so I was thrilled just to get someone to show up and save our bacon.

    Before the historic flooding in March (which washed out a dam and four bridges in town) we never had a drop of water in our basement for the 10+ years we've lived here. Hopefully our sump pump will never be needed again, but I sure won't allow myself to be caught unprepared again.

    By Blogger Frugal Frugalson, at 7/7/10, 9:07 AM  

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