Home Improvement

Sump pump replacement

Friday night, I was getting ready for bed, turning off the lights on the first floor when I noticed a humming sound. I thought it was the bathroom fan by the stairs, so I peeped my head into the powder room. Nope, not the fan. It was coming from the floor. So I went down into the basement and followed the noise to the source. It was the basement sump pump working non-stop.

This Zoeller pump was installed four years ago and had already failed a few months ago when the float switch seized and the pump would not stop. At that time, I attached a secondary float switch with a piggy-back outlet so that the pump would only get power when the secondary float switch was activated. Unfortunately, something went wrong with that arrangement and the piggy-back outlet would not shut off any more.

At this point, I could have called a plumber, handy-man, or whatever, but didn’t – because I knew that I could fix it myself.

The next day, I went out to the local home improvement store and bought a 1/3 hp. submersible sump pump, a few feet of PVC pipe (1 1/2″ sch. 40), a threaded adapter, and a coupler. I already had PVC adhesive and Teflon tape from my other projects.

First, I built the PVC run from the pump. Then, I unplugged the piggy back switch and plugged the old pump back into the electrical outlet. This pumped out all the water from the sump pit to give me enough time to work before it filled up again. Then I cut the PVC pipe a feet or so under the check valve, removed the old pump. After cleaning out some larger debris from the pit, I placed the new pump in there. I measured and cut the PVC run from the pump to match the remaining PVC pipe under the check valve.  I then removed the remaining PVC pipe under the check valve and stood back as I inserted a screw driver into the valve to check the check valve. A big splash of water told me it was working. I added the PVC pipe to the run from the pump using the PVC adhesive and the coupler, tightened the compression ring around the bottom of the check valve, and finally plugged the new pump into the wall.

To test, I dumped about two gallons of water into the pit. The float rose, the switch turned on, the pump sucked the water out, and stopped after a few seconds. No leaks, no sputter, perfect.

The replacement process was so un-eventful that I really feel that I should put in Unicorns and Vampires somewhere in this blog entry.

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