What is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a gadget in your house that helps stop the basement from flooding. It sits in a hole (called a sump pit) dug at the lowest part of your home, like the basement. Here’s how it works: when it rains heavily, the ground around your house gets too wet. Extra water goes into the sump pit, making it fill up. This makes the sump pump turn on and start pumping the water away, so your basement stays dry. Think of it as extra protection against floods.

Why Should You Have A Sump Pump?

Having a sump pump is a smart choice because it:

  1. Keeps your basement dry, preventing flooding.
  2. Protects your walls from getting damaged by water.
  3. Saves your basement appliances from rusting.
  4. Stops mold and mildew from growing.
  5. Keeps bugs away.
  6. Makes the air in your home better.
  7. Helps your house’s foundation stay strong.
  8. Makes your basement comfortable all year.
  9. Gives you peace of mind, no matter the weather.
  10. Some insurance needs it to cover flood damage in your basement.
Sump Pump Installation

Do You Need a Sump Pump?

You might need a sump pump if: - You live where it rains or snows a lot. - Your home is in a place that floods often. - You've had water problems in your basement before. - Your basement is finished and you want to keep it dry.


A sump pump can push gallons away from your home’s foundation every minute. With that in mind, getting one installed won’t come cheap, but it’s worth its weight in gold. The damage you’d otherwise bear would be much costlier.

The cost is higher if you are having a sump pump installed for the first time in a place not prepared for this purpose.


It’s only logical that replacing your sump pump will cost less than a new installation because you’ve already prepared the location. If you are only replacing an old pump, you can expect to pay $400 for the service on average, plus the price of the new unit. This cost will increase if you also need to repair or replace something else.

On average, it will cost you $500 to repair a sump pump, up to a maximum of $550.


Getting a pump installed can cost more, depending on your flooring type and on how complex your crawl space or basement infrastructure is. For instance, making the lowest point of your basement accessible will incur additional expenses.

If your basement floor is made of concrete, the contractor will need to remove the section where they plan to install the sump pump.

Demolition and installation expenses increase in proportion to the thickness of the concrete. The thicker it is, the harder it is to break.

A crawl space made of dirt won’t require such preparation, but it can be harder and more time-consuming to access and strengthen.

Your contractor can also install a submersible sump pump outside, and that’s probably what they’ll choose to do if your outdoor space gets flooded often. You can expect to pay more in this case because the process is more complicated than the standard interior installation.


There are two types of sump pumps: ones you can submerge and pedestal pumps. The first type combines the pump and motor into a single unit. It is considered the “standard” kind, what most people imagine when they think of one.

The pumps that you can submerge in water reduce noise and save space. They are installed inside the basin or pit. They are fully rust- and waterproof, as a rule, and effective even if the volume of water is particularly large.

As a downside, they are harder to reach if they malfunction or you need to perform maintenance than pedestal pumps. Their lifespan is also shorter. The price per pump is $300 on average. You can expect to pay around $1,200 for professional services.

The second kind, pedestal sump pumps, are much more affordable. They cost a maximum of $800 to install. The price per unit ranges from $75 to $200.

They don’t have waterproof motors because they are not submerged in the pit or basin. They are optimal for smaller volumes of water, so if you live in an area with minor water issues, you could opt for this type to save money. They also last longer than submersible pumps.


Some homeowners go the extra mile to protect themselves in the event of a flood or another issue. To this end, they will also buy pump filters, battery backups, and water level alarms. Some even purchase backup pumps. All of these will cost extra. However, they will prevent significant water damage if the power goes out or your sump pump stops working during a storm.


Installing a sump pump involves several steps to ensure proper functioning and effective water drainage. A sump pump is usually installed in a pit or sump basin, which collects water from drains or natural groundwater.

A word of warning, though: it’s not advisable to try and install one yourself. Always contact a professional contractor for the job because sump pump installation requires precise placement, correct alignment, and appropriate setup. Improper installation can lead to the pump not working efficiently or failing altogether.


Below are some of the main risks of attempting to install a sump pump on your own.


Working with electrical components during installation carries a risk of electrical shock or fire if not handled correctly. It’s essential to follow safety guidelines and have proper knowledge of electrical work.


Choosing the wrong size or type of sump pump for your specific needs can result in an insufficient capacity to handle the water volume, leading to pump overload or frequent cycling.


Incorrectly connecting pipes, fittings, or the discharge line can cause leaks, water damage, or an ineffective drainage system, defeating the sump pump’s purpose.


Some sump pump manufacturers may require professional installation to maintain the warranty. DIY installation might void the warranty, leaving you responsible for repair costs.


If the sump pump is not correctly installed or maintained, it may fail to function during heavy rainfall or flooding, putting your basement at risk of water damage.


Inadequate ventilation in the sump pit can cause foul odors, mold, and mildew, posing health risks and unpleasant living conditions.


Some jurisdictions may require professional installation of sump pumps to comply with building codes. DIY installation could result in violations and legal complications.


Failing to elevate the sump pump properly can result in it being submerged in water or sediment, leading to a shortened lifespan and increased maintenance.


Sump pump installation can be a complex task, requiring significant time and effort. DIY installation may take longer and potentially lead to frustration or errors.


The process starts with gathering the necessary tools and materials for the job. Apart from the pump itself, one needs a sump basin or pit, PVC pipes and fittings, gravel, a check valve, and concrete or bricks for elevating the pump.

Next, the contractor will choose the location for the sump pump. It’s advisable to choose a low-lying area in the basement where water tends to accumulate.

The sump pit or basin should be at the exact location where water usually collects. You can be helpful by observing where you have water collecting during and after heavy rain.

They will then dig a hole to place the sump pit or basin. The size of the hole will depend on the pump and the local building codes.

The contractor will use a jackhammer to demolish concrete. Electric jackhammers are commonly used for the job. You can plug them into a standard power outlet.

As a rule, you position the sump basin on the floor upside down, then draw a circle around it, on average five inches outside its perimeter. To avoid the footing, it’s best practice to maintain a distance of ten inches or more from the walls. 

If the floor is concrete, the specialist will break through it along this circle using the jackhammer. As you can imagine, this process is messy and loud. If you’re in the same space or nearby, protect your ears and put on a particle mask.

After he breaks through the concrete, he will dig the pit to the depth required. The top of the basin must be level with the surface of the floor. The contractor places the sump basin in the pit and fills the gaps around it with gravel.

The gravel in the pit should be around an inch above the bottom of the floor block. The rest of the pit is filled with concrete.

The contractor uses a trowel to make the surface of the concrete level with the floor around it. Then, it needs to be left for 24 hours or more to set.

The professional will place the sump pump inside the pit, ensuring it’s positioned on a solid base like bricks or concrete to prevent it from sitting directly in sediment or debris. They connect the pump to a check valve to prevent water from flowing back into the pit once the pump stops.

A PVC discharge pipe is connected to the pump’s outlet. It runs outside or to a suitable drainage area to make sure it’s sloped away from the house. This encourages proper water flow.

They might use brackets or straps to secure the pump in place and prevent it from moving during operation. The valve is fixed to the discharge pipe to maintain a one-way water flow.

The sump pump needs to be connected to a reliable power source. Consider having a battery backup system installed in case of power outages.


Regular maintenance helps prevent potential problems and extends the life of the pump. Here’s a guide on how to maintain a sump pump.

Check the sump pump and pit regularly for any signs of damage, debris, or obstructions that might interfere with its operation.

Pour water into the pit to check if the pump is functioning properly. Ensure it turns on, pumps water out, and shuts off as expected. Do this at least once every few months.

Remove any debris, mud, or sediment from the sump pit. Clean it thoroughly to ensure optimal pump operation.

Verify that the check valve is functioning correctly by ensuring water flows out of the discharge pipe and not back into the pit.

Ensure the float switch moves freely and is not obstructed. When the water level rises, the float switch activates the pump.

Ensure that the pump is properly plugged in and the power cord is in good condition. If the sump pump has a battery backup, check the battery status.

If the sump pump has a removable impeller, inspect it for any debris or obstructions. Clean and maintain the impeller as needed to ensure proper pump performance.

Regularly inspect the discharge pipe for any clogs, ice buildup, or damage. Have it cleaned or repaired as necessary to maintain optimal water flow.

If your sump pump has an alarm system, test it to ensure it functions properly. The alarm will alert you to any issues with the pump.

If your sump pump is backed up by a battery, replace the battery as the manufacturer recommends to ensure it’s functional during power outages.

Have a professional plumber or technician inspect your sump pump annually. They can provide expert maintenance, identify any potential issues, and make necessary repairs.

If you anticipate heavy rainfall or storms, ensure your sump pump is in good working order and prepared to handle increased water levels.

Regular maintenance ensures your sump pump operates effectively and protects your home from potential water damage. Additionally, it’s essential to have a backup plan in case of pump failure during heavy rainfall or power outages.


Foundations First can equip you with a perfectly functioning sump pump, which will keep your basement dry and potentially save you thousands of dollars in damages. We service Halton, Haldimand, Hamilton, Peel, Brantford, Paris, Cambridge, Kitchener, Binbrook, Guelph, and Waterloo. You can contact us by email or phone or fill in a form on our site to request an appointment.