Inspection and Replacement

Checking Your Sump Pump

If your drainage system is collect a lot of water then your pumps operation is a very important factor in preventing flooding. You can check the operation of your sump pump yourself if you like.

  1. Locate the sump pump. They are often located in utility rooms or sometimes under stairs. It will appear as a black circle (lid) or a small recessed hole in the floor.
  2. Remove the lid. Most are lift off types some of the better ones will require a wrench to loosen the screwbolts.
  3. Locate the float mechanism and lift it to hear the pump run. If not make sure the pump is plugged into power.
  4. If there is water in the well above the entire body of the pump, good. If there is not you will need to add water from a hose or a bucket to a level above the pump body. (The water needs to be ‘above the pump body’ because most pumps will not kick on until the float is raised above the whole pump. Few pumps will turn on if there is only a few inches of water.)
  5. Once the well is full lift the float and hold it there. See if the water drains. If the pump does not run it needs to be replaced.


Replacement should be done by some one experienced in plumbing and pipe fitting as the health and placement of the fittings are sometimes a factor in replacement. Still, the work can be done by the homeowner if they know how to cut, fit, and glue PVC pipe.

The Basic steps are as follows:

Unplug the pump and remove the lid to the well.

Locate the check valve. One is pictured on the left.

  1. If there is space to fit new pipe below the check valve then cut the pipe below the valve. If there is not space to fit new pipe (if the check valve was installed too low) you must cut above the valve. If you must cut above then you will need some towels as all the water that rests in the pipe will pour out once cut.
  2. Once the pipe is cut you may remove the pump.  Measure the diameter of the pipe. It   will be either 1.5” or 2”. Consider how many fittings you will need to replace new pipe to the old, collars, or if you need a new check valve. Also how the pump itself threads i.e. female or male.
  3. Grab the old pump and bring it with you to Lowe’s and purchase a new pump. You want to check the height of the output threading of the old and new pumps to see if you need more pipe. 1/2 hp is good blend between strength and longevity. Purchasing more than a 1/2 hp pump puts more strain and kick on the pipes every time the pump activates. One loose or poor fitting and you could leak.
  4. As mentioned above, if the output of the new pump is the same height as the previous pump then you may   be able to use the previous pipe and only need a new collar. If not then you will have to use extra piping.
  5. Screw fitting onto pump, attach collar. And let sit for 30 min. to dry.
  6. Check service by pouring water into the well. Different pumps have different, and often adjustable, float assemblies follow the manufacturers suggestions on how to set your float.