How to Install a Sump Pump in a Crawl Space | Step By Step Guide

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The crawl space of our house was in poor condition when I checked it last month. But ignoring the issue is an awful idea in this case because it can only lead to much bigger problems later on. Crawl spaces can get quite musty and damp sometimes. Different approaches may be needed to resolve this problem. You may have to think about installing a sump pump in a crawl space- this requires some skills.

Steps to be taken include:

  • Gathering the tools and picking a spot for installation
  • Digging for the sump basin and drainage pipe
  • Preparing the sump basin
  • Installing the basin and sump pump
  • Covering and connecting the discharge pipe with your pump
  • Finishing up the groundwork and installing the power cord

While homeowners install pumps to prevent basement flooding, a sump pump in your crawl space can be extremely helpful. But helpful how? Let us start with an answer to this question.

Why Do You Need A Crawl Space Sump Pump?

You may or may not requires a sump pump in your crawl space. If you took other measures and found them to be successful in keeping the place dry, then no worries. But crawl space problems can go unnoticed as people tend not to inspect theirs frequently enough. You have to look for water in your crawl space, especially in the low points.  If you do have excess water pooling, it is time to consider getting a submersible cast-iron sump pump.

The point of having a sump pump in your crawl space is to stop water from collecting because that is bad news for your house and health. It can cause rot and mold because of water vapor. Mold can cause chronic health problems. Besides, moisture in crawl spaces attracts all sorts of pests like rats, mice, or even snakes. There can be dust mites and parasites on furniture and bedding, triggering allergic reactions.

The contaminated damp air is bad for breathing. Also, it takes more energy to heat or cool moist air. Hence, the energy bill increases as a result. A wet crawl space is detrimental to the structure of your house too.

Installing A Sump Pump in A Crawl Space

When the job is not done carefully, you could end up having other issues in the house that need attention. How do you install a sump pump in a crawl space anyway? Let us find out.

How to Install a Sump Pump in a Crawl Space

Step 1: Gather the Tools and Materials

You should have materials such as a 20-gallon sump basin, a basin cover, a Battery Backup Submersible Sump Pump, a PVC plastic check valve, a 1.5” PVC pipe, drain tile (optional), a light source, a shovel, etc. Plumbing tools such as a 2” hole saw, glue, aluminum stainless steel stripes, hammer drill/impact driver, etc., will also be necessary for this job.

Step 2: Get the Crawl Space Ready

Get the crawl space prepared for installation. You want to get rid of debris and all sorts of unwanted things in the crawl space so that they do not get in the way while working. Make sure to have a clear path to enter. The rule of thumb is- clean the crawl before you hit the crawl.

Step 3: Pick the Right Spot

Inspect the place to find the right spot for installing the sump basin. The lowest point is usually chosen for this as water tends to collect there. Convenient access, drain tile connections, unit servicing, etc. should be considered too. You have to choose the ideal spot for digging a tunnel for the draining system that will be connected to your sump basin. Try to scout your house to find the sweet spot. I’d recommend taking two to three days to get this right. If you don’t, you’ll regret it in the long run.

Step 4: Prepare the Sump Basin

If your basin doesn’t come with holes, you’ll want to cut some into it so that water gets to the basin. If you are going to use drain tiles, the holes have to be appropriate for attaching those. Drain tile pipes are used to get water from distant places to the basin. For this, you will have to plan for setting up solid/corrugated drain tile from the place you want to be drained to the basin. Covered basins are better for a drain tile pipe.

Then you will attach a male PVC threaded adapter to your pump. The adapter is used for connecting the PVC pipeline that will carry the water flowing out. Now you are going to take measures for cutting the PVC pipe to which the adapter will be attached and make sure that your basin’s lid is 5-6” lower than the other end of the pipe. Next, you make a hole in the lid that will allow the PVC pipe’s excess part to rise through.

A lot of houses do not have enough room in crawl spaces for the entire basin to move into. In that case, cut it into 2 halves, and once in, merge them using aluminum stainless steel stripes and glue. Now the basin can be assembled and put into the pit.

Step 5: Dig

In this step, you’ve guessed it- you will dig the pit. Take caution for the pit’s measurements and make sure that it is just wide enough for the basin’s adjustment. Next, you want to dig a tunnel for the drain tile pipes. The tiles should be sloped towards the basin.

Step 6: Install the Basin and Drain Tile Pipe (If Using)

Now you have to connect the sump pump with the PVC pipe that was cut before. Set the basin inside your pit and put the drain tile into the tunnel. The pump should now be placed into the sump basin and covered with its lid. Then use aggregates to bury the sump basin.

Step 7: Attach A Check Valve

A one-way check valve is used to make sure there is no backflow of water into the sump pump. Your pump has a PVC pipe connected to it. Attach the valve with the pipe’s other end.

Step 8: Set Up the Plumbing Vent and Power Up

Let’s get the plumbing vent and power cord connected to the sump pump. To direct the vent line, you can drill through the wall to create a path for PVC pipes. Finally, you are going to connect the power cord to the sump pump, and you’re done!

Why Is Your Crawl Space Wet?

It is crucial to find out the source of this dampness so you can decide on the solution. There can be a plethora of reasons for a crawl space to be wet. Maybe your house has improper grading. It can result in surface water getting trapped against the foundation. There may be cracks in the foundation, especially if your home is old. It can cause water to trickle into your crawl space. Water might also get in if your crawl space has a defective window and vent. In this case, you should try to take care of it before it leads to something serious.

Functional problems in your sewer and water line can also be a reason. The drainage system may be overwhelmed or have clogs. But whatever the cause, going unchecked, it could cost you a fortune. That’s why the wise man’s route to take is- to understand whether your crawl space needs a sump pump. If the answer’s yes- then install one.

Other Steps to Keep Your Crawl Space Dry:

These measures can also help solve water issues in crawl space:

  • Installing a French drain: French drains are trenches stuffed with gravel and pipes to redirect water away from the crawl space.
  • Using a dehumidifier: You could use a dehumidifier to eradicate moisture from the air.
  • Sealing cracks: Thoroughly inspect your crawl space for any crack present in your causing water seepage. If you find one, use sealants to close it.
  • Installing vapor barriers: Using vapor barriers means encapsulating with thick plastic. It protects your home from moisture, water damage, etc.

How much does it cost to install a sump pump in a crawl space?

Sump pumps are installed either in the basement or in the crawl space of a residence. The cost for installing a sump pump in the crawl space ranges from $650 to $1,500, including labor charges. Although basements are the ideal choice for many homeowners, not everyone has one.

Can you install a sump pump in a dirt crawl space?

Yes. in fact, it is easier to install a sump pump in soft dirt than in a basement. When you are installing the pump, you will have to drill through the flooring which demands a lot of labor. However, in the case of a dirt crawl space, you can get the job done with minimal labor.

Where should a sump pump be placed in a crawl space?

The distance between the ground and the base of your first floor is usually very small and tight. Look for a spot that is close to the discharge line of the house and where flooding takes place the most. It is important to take time and carefully plan how you want to position the pump in the space.

A Note of Caution

Working in a crawl space is no joke, plus you need the right materials to work with and a lot of patience. Installing a pump in a crawl space is not recommended if you are not physically fit. If you have no experience or are not confident to install it yourself, better leave it to the experts to avoid causing harm to the foundation. Take protective measures to avoid electrocuting yourself if you choose to do it yourself.

Final Words

It is better to fix water issues in the crawl space before further problems pop up because of it. I ignored it for a while and handled it in the nick of time before the damage became permanent. So, do not turn a blind eye if you get to know that your crawl space requires a sump pump. Instead, save yourself some money by taking immediate action.

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