How to Install a Sump Pump

Installing a sump pump typically takes about 30 minutes and can be done with common household tools. To get started, you’ll need to select a new pump and gather a few essential materials. Sump pumps are supplied in several configurations, as explained above. Make sure that you select the ideal type for your de-watering situation and read its owner’s manual carefully. A sump basin is required for installation. To install a sump pump, follow these steps.

Cost (0-5 scale): 3
Difficulty (0-5 scale): 2

Items Needed:
• Pre-installed sump basin
• Pre-installed dedicated 15-amp outlet
• Sump pump
• Hacksaw
• PVC pipe
• PVC glue
• Electricians tape or zip ties
• Drill with 1/8” (2mm) drill bit
• Screwdriver and other hand tools

Step One – Drill Relief Hole
Drill a 1/8” (2mm) relief hole in the discharge pipe 1” (25 mm) above where it attaches to the pump flange. This will prevent air locks and prolong the life of the pump motor.

Step Two – Place Pump
Clean out the sump basin and place the pump inside, preferably on a level solid base, like cement bricks, to minimize drawing sand or debris into the pump. Make sure the pump components will not come into contact with the sides of the basin, especially the float switch to get a good fit and control the cost of sump pump.

Step Three – Connect Pump to Drains
Connect the pump discharge into the sump drainage system using PVC pipe and a check valve (one-way non return valve) to limit back flow of water into the basin.

Step Four – Connect to Power and Test System
Tape or zip-tie the pump cord to the discharge pipe. Connect the sump pump to the power and run water into the sump to test it. You will need to fill the sump to the level that normally causes the pump to activate – NEVER run the pump without water because its motor will rapidly overheat and seize up and sump pump cost may increase.

Sump Pump Replacement: 4 Tips
Sump pump replacement is not glamorous task, but when necessary, it is fairly quick. As with any DIY job, it pays to do a little research before undertaking a replacement and to measure the cost of sump pump replacement so that you know what you’re getting into. To ensure peace of mind for years to come, consider choosing a sump pump made with the finest materials and backed by a strong warranty. Keep reading for some useful tips on how to replace a sump pump.

Tip 1 – Cut the Power
The first thing to remember is to unplug the sump pump before you do anything else, so as to avoid the risk of electric shock. Undo all electrical connections. It is a good idea to use additional light in the area so that you can clearly see what you’re doing.

Tip 2 – Buy Exactly the Same Sump Pump
You should try to replacement sump pump with the exact same model as the old one to ensure the compatibility of the new pump with the existing basin and piping. To make sure you get exactly what you need, you can take the old pump with you to the home improvement store. Disconnect the old pump from the discharge pipe by unfastening the clamp or screw fastenings. Allow water to drain from the pump or wipe it clean with a light bleach solution. Make sure to save all the fittings – you can take them with you to the store so that you can match the original pump’s connections or obtain the proper adapters.

Tip 3 – Test the Pump with Water
When you’ve brought the new pump home and have reconnected it to the discharge pipe using some pipe joint compound or Teflon tape, test the system to make sure that it works. Simply connect the pump and switch to power and dump water into the sump basin. Examine all the connections as the pump is running to ensure that everything is water tight. Repair any observed leaks to avoid smelly and leaky surprises in the future.

Tip 4 – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If something goes wrong at any point in the replacement process, or you suddenly realize that the problem with your sump system is more far reaching than just a minor problem with the pump itself, don’t be afraid to call in the big guns. Call a professional basement finisher as soon as you feel that you’re in over your head.

Why You Need a Backup Sump Pump
A backup system provides added peace of mind, protecting your home against power outage, sump pump failure, flooding, heavy rains, or melting snow that can overwhelm your existing sump pump system. If your principal sump pump fails, a backup sump pump can run on its own power, either from a rechargeable battery or from your residential water system. The following conditions may necessitate the need for a backup sump pump:

Power Outages
If you live in an area where power outages occur on a regular basis, a battery-powered back pump is ideal. If your home’s electrical circuit is accidentally tripped or if the electrical line that feeds into your pump is likely to become damaged, you will benefit from having a backup pump.

Pump Problem Sources
A backup pump will protect your property if your main sump pump ever becomes damaged or if one of its parts becomes broken. Three common pump problems include:

• Pump clogging caused by debris sucked into the pump
• Stuck pump impeller or float switch
• Water from flooding or heavy rains that exceed the main pump’s capacity


The Best Basement Flooring Options

Many kinds of flooring materials can be installed in your basement, but moisture problems may still lurk.

When it comes to choosing basement walls, there’s good news. Almost any kind of flooring is okay to install in a below-grade basement. Most properly installed types of flooring can stand up to damp conditions and high humidity.Exceptions are solid hardwood flooring and laminate flooring made with a fiberboard core that hasn’t been treated for moisture resistance. Both types of flooring absorb moisture and will warp and buckle.

That leaves you a lot of basment waterproofing options, such as ceramic tile, engineered wood, rubber and laminate flooring made with a moisture-resistant plywood core.

But that doesn’t mean basements are trouble-free. A concrete basement slab is porous and prone to moisture and water vapor migrating up through the slab. While the flooring itself may be unaffected, you’ll need to make sure that you’re not creating a haven for mold and mildew to grow underneath your basement water proof.

One method is to install a vapor barrier under your flooring. Sheet plastic is a good barrier, or you might seal the slab with paint or epoxy coating made specifically for damp concrete walls and floors.

Another way is to raise the floor with a waterproof subfloor. The system is made of interlocking plastic tiles that are elevated on grids. The grids create an air space below the floor that dissipates moisture and keeps your basement flooring warmer than if it’s in direct contact with concrete. It’s not designed to be used with a nail-down type of flooring.

Some types of vinyl and carpet tiles come with similar plastic barriers already attached to the tile. They snap together and are good for DIY projects.

Here are other basement flooring ideas:Epoxy floor coatings are good if you can live with a hard surface flooring. Epoxy comes in a lot of colors, is totally waterproof, and it’s easy to apply.

Ceramic tile is the designer’s choice, with tons of colors and styles. It’s unaffected by moisture and goes directly onto concrete that’s smooth and free of cracks.

Vinyl tile and sheet flooring also goes directly over prepared concrete and will withstand even minor flooding with no ill effect. Resilient vinyl floor provides a bit of cushioning underfoot and is fairly inexpensive. Higher priced vinyl does a good job of mimicking ceramic tile, real stone and even wood.

Engineered wood flooring gives you the warmth and beauty of real wood with the stability and moisture resistance of laminate construction. Click-together tiles and planks are DIY-friendly and easy to install as a floating floor system. Check to make sure the type you choose is rated for below-grade basements.

Rubber flooring comes in sheets and DIY-friendly tiles with interlocking edges. You’ll find lots of colors that make it fun to create your own designs. Rubber floors are nicely cushioned and a good choice for basement playrooms.

No matter what flooring you choose, it’s important that you take steps to keep your basement as dry as possible. That means grading out foundation soil so it slopes away from foundation walls at least four inches over 10 feet, adding extensions to your downspouts so water exits at least five feet away from your house, and keeping gutters in good repair by professional basement finisher.


Basement Remodeling Tips

By upgrading their bare basement finishing into an inviting entertainment room, these homeowners realized an estimated $9000 return in terms of home-equity increase. Here are a few tips they learned along the way.
  • Before remodeling a basement, think about the future use of that room. A flexible space means you can change it into whatever you need it to be in the future.
  • When you put a drop ceiling in it automatically feels cheaper. You really want your space to look like the rest of your house. A drop ceiling will also take away precious ceiling height and make the space feel much smaller.
  • It’s a good idea to maximize space in the basement water proof by adding built-ins shelving and storage areas. Check adjacent rooms for places you might be able to steal space from. But don’t go overboard with too many built-ins or too much woodwork because it could get very expensive and you’re likely not to get a full return on your investment when it’s time to sell. A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple and inexpensive, but make it attractive.
  • As long as you are not masking some sort of problem like mold or mildew, an air purification system is a good way to make your basement smell as good as it looks.
  • A good way to make a basement feel really inviting, if you have the opportunity, is to create an open stairwell. It visually connects the upper part of the house with the lower and allows more natural light to come into the refinishing basements.
  • The stair railing and post installation was a fairly simple project, and required little more than wood glue and a finish nailer. If you’re installing a railing in a remodel such as this, plan ahead. If you have large furniture or other items to move into your new space, be sure hold off on installing stair railings, and other structures that might be in the way, until the large furniture items have been brought in.
  • If your basement is cold and uninviting, the carpet may not be the element where you want to cut back on expenses. Install a good quality carpet that will go the extra mile in making the room more comfortable and inviting.
  • Finishing existing space like a basement will almost always be a lower cost project than doing an addition. You might spend around $150 per square foot to build an addition as compared $40 to $75 for refinishing a space where the walls and structure are already in place.

  • Don’t overlook the importance of your remodel matching the rest of your house. It’s critical when you’re upgrading your house that it feels like it belongs to the rest of the house — so there’s a good “flow” and people feel comfortable in the new space.
  • Green Building Tip: It’s always a good idea to look at parts of your project that can be recycled. Don’t forget there are lots of reuse stores that accept things for recycling and sell things that are unwanted or are overstocked. You can help the environment and get a great deal at the same time by your self or with the professional basement finisher.

Sump Pump Installation Made Easy

If you have water problems in your basement that you’ve been ignoring, there’s a good chance you’re losing up to half of your home’s living space. And at the cost of housing these days, that’s a substantial loss. While water that collects in a basement may originate from several possible sources, almost all such problems can be corrected. And for many, the simplest solution is to install a sump pump. While a pump doesn’t cure the disease, it goes a long way toward treating the symptoms. And it does the job at a price that most of us can afford.

The truth of the matter is that most basement waterproofing problems are not basement problems at all, but exterior drainage problems. So before you consider a sump-pump installation, take a good look (in the rain, if you must) at the drainage around your home and you may also need to know the cost of a sump pump system and if it has already installed and you need to know the replacement sump pump so you can fine here too. Make sure that gutters aren’t clogged, that downspout extensions move roof runoff at least 4 ft. beyond the foundation and that the soil within 3 ft. of the foundation slopes away from the house.

Even if these conditions have been met, water may still accumulate in your basement. The problem may be a utility trench that invisibly channels runoff back to the house or a seasonally high ground-water table. In these cases, a sump-pump installation is a good solution.

Many new homes have a sump pit already in place, complete with a drainage-tile system under the basement floor that’s designed to channel water to the pit. If your home doesn’t have this feature, and your water problem affects most of the basement, a retrofit system of this type is a good option. However, it’s a big job that involves removing a 24-in.-wide swath of concrete and soil from the inside perimeter of the basement, adding gravel, draintiles and a pit and replacing the concrete.

While this isn’t an impossible DIY job, it’s backbreaking work. You can pay a professional basement contractors $2500 to $5000 to do it for you–not necessarily a bad price, though, considering that you’ll perhaps double your living space.

A more manageable approach, in the right circumstances, is to install an isolated sump pit with several feet of gravel around it. To have this system installed may cost between $300 and $500. Or, you can devote a few weekends to the job and do it yourself for the price of the pump, pipe and fittings, pit liner, gravel and cement.

This abbreviated system is most appropriate where water infiltrates only one area of the basement, or where the basement floor was poured over a gravel bed. Many homes built over the past 30 years have several inches of gravel beneath the concrete floor. The gravel was used to bring a slightly over-excavated floor back to grade. Because water seeks the path of least resistance and will migrate sideways before it moves up, moisture beneath the floor will move through the layer of gravel to a sump pit before flooding the floor.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell if your basement floor floats on a gravel bed. The builder of the home or a neighbor who has done similar work might know. In most cases, though, you won’t know until you break through the floor. Sometimes, a few holes bored through the floor with a hammer drill will reveal the information you need.

Our installation

We had a periodic water problem in one corner of the basement that, while localized, spread mold throughout the basement area. To create our sump pit, we broke out a 4 x 4-ft. area in the corner, dug down about 30 in., installed a plastic pit liner and surrounded the liner with coarse gravel.

The upper half of the pit liner is perforated to allow water to seep in and collect at the bottom. A float-activated submersible sump pump at the bottom of the pit automatically pumps out the water when it reaches a preset level. To finish the job, we poured a new concrete floor around the pit to match the original floor.


Before breaking through a section of concrete floor, try to anticipate what might lie beneath it. Your sewer line’s location should be apparent, and you’ll find an accessible cleanout fitting near a wall. Your home’s main water supply line may be less obvious. If your main waterline enters the house through a wall, you should be safe. If it enters through the floor, there’s a remote chance that it passes under your chosen pit location.

How will you know where the waterline is? Most service lines that are under the floor enter from the street, usually 4 to 6 ft. from the sewer pipe. If you can’t estimate where the water service line might be, check with your local building-codes office. In most cases, these measurements are recorded at the time of installation.

There are several ways to break through a concrete basement floor. The economical approach is to use a heavy-duty hammer drill to bore perimeter holes every 4 in., plus additional holes within the area to be removed. After the holes are in place, break the concrete into pieces with a sledgehammer. If you use a rotary hammer, you can handle the job in a similar way and the work should go quicker.

For the cleanest-looking repair, you might consider renting a demolition saw designed for cutting concrete. Use the saw to make 1-in.-deep perimeter cuts and then break out the inscribed area. However, be aware that concrete saws generate a great deal of dust, and most installers avoid them when possible.

We opted to rent an electric jackhammer that uses 120-volt household power. If you decide to do the same thing, the rental cost should be about $30 for 4 hours. With this tool you can get through the hard part fairly quickly and with less strain. To reduce the raggedness of the cut edge, equip the jackhammer with a flat spade bit.

Step 1: Starting Out

Plan to install the pit at least 8 in. from the foundation walls to avoid encountering the foundation footing. Then lay out the area of concrete floor to be removed, allowing for at least 6 in. around the pit.

Cut the perimeter with the jackhammer, then slice through the interior in 8- to 12-in. bites. When the entire area is shattered, drive the jackhammer in at an angle and pry up to loosen the first few pieces of flooring. Then, simply collect the remaining chunks of concrete and carry them away in a bucket.

Step 2: Starting Out

After the concrete is removed, dig the soil from the area. Using the liner to check your progress, excavate enough soil to allow at least 6 in. of gravel all around the liner. When the top of the liner sits level with the top of your basement floor, you’ve dug deep enough.

Step 3: Starting Out

Set the pit liner in the hole and fill the surrounding void with coarse gravel. A gravel aggregate of 3/8 to 1/2 in. in diameter will work well.

Step 4: Starting Out

Add enough gravel to bring the grade 1 in. above the underside of the basement floor –3 in. below the top surface for a 4-in.-thick floor.

Then, level the gravel with a wooden float. This will place the bottom of the new concrete bed 1 in. above the original slab bed and, more importantly, 1 in. above the foundation footing. This way, water that seeps between the footing and the wall will simply travel down the 1-in.-wide gravel path to the pit.

Step 5: Starting Out

With the pit liner locked in place by the surrounding gravel, it’s time to cap the area with concrete. Mix one part cement, two parts sand and three parts gravel, and then add water. If you use one bag of cement, which was the amount required for our job, use about 5 1/2 gal. of water. Rough in the pour with a screed board and a wooden float, and make sure that the new concrete is packed tightly against the cut edges of the existing floor.

Finally, finish the new floor patch by smoothing the surface with a trowel. When you’re done, let the concrete cure for a day or two before installing the pump and piping.

Step 6: Installing the Pump

Submersible pumps generally cost between $75 and $125, and several manufacturers offer good-quality units. We chose a Hydromatic V25 model (Aurora/Hydromatic Pumps Inc., 1840 Baney Rd., Ashland, OH 44805). Considering the substantial goal of this project, it’s not a good idea to economize when buying a pump.

Expect your new pump to have a 1 1/2-in.-dia. threaded discharge port. Begin by threading a 1 1/2-in. PVC male adapter into the port and tightening it with pliers until it feels snug.

Step 7: Installing the Pump

Then, using PVC cement, glue a short, schedule-40 PVC riser into the male adapter. The length of the riser will depend on the depth of the liner–the goal is to bring the riser just above the top of the pit liner.

Step 8: Installing the Pump

Before setting the pump in the pit, bind its electrical cords to the riser with vinyl electrical tape or plastic electrical ties.

Step 9: Installing the Pump

Then, gripping the pump’s support ring and the riser, carefully lower the pump into the pit liner.

Step 10: Installing the Pump

When the pump is resting on the bottom, check the float position. Locate the pump so that the float is several inches away from the liner and can therefore move up and down without interference. Then, install the liner lid over the riser. Some lids are slotted, like the one shown, while others require that you bore a hole for the riser to fit.

Step 11: Installing the Pump

With the pump in place, install a 1 1/2-in. check valve on the riser. This valve is absolutely essential because it keeps the pump motor from burning out. Without a check valve, water that is propelled up the riser would fall back into the pit each time the pump turned off. This small amount of water is often enough to activate the pump, which then runs for a few moments and shuts off again. The constant on/off sequence can quickly ruin a pump.

The valve will usually come with rubber couplings and hose clamps. Be sure to position the valve with the arrow pointing up-the arrow indicates the flow direction. Then, tighten the lower coupling over the riser with a screwdriver or a nut driver.

Step 12: Installing the Pump

Add a second riser section above the valve that extends into the space between the basement ceiling joists. The length of this piece will be determined by the position of a horizontal run that exits the house, so cut this piece oversize for now. Then, secure the second riser to the upper coupling of the check valve with a hose clamp.

Step 13: Moving Outside

Because ground-water discharge cannot be purged into the household plumbing system, piping must be connected to deliver the water outdoors. The easiest approach is to bore through the rim joist of the house and run the piping through the joist and outer wall. From there, it needs to be carried far enough from the house that water won’t return to the basement.

To avoid splintering the hole and damaging the exterior siding, it’s best to bore from the outside in. To locate the hole on the outside, first bore a 1/4-in. hole through the rim joist and siding from the inside. Then, install a 2-in. bit in your drill and, using the small hole as a pilot, bore the finished hole from the outside.

Alternatively, you could do the job with a holesaw, working from both sides of the wall and using the 1/4-in. pilot hole as a guide.

Step 14: Moving Outside

With the hole in place, slide a length of PVC pipe through the joist and bring the end near the vertical riser coming from the pump. Hold a 90-degree PVC elbow fitting against the two pipes and mark the height of the vertical riser.

Trim the riser to exact length and assemble the pipes and elbow with PVC glue. Check to make sure that the riser is plumb before moving outdoors to complete the discharge piping.

Step 15: Moving Outside

Once outside, cut all but 1/2 in. from the horizontal pipe that extends through the siding. Then, glue a 90-degree elbow to the end of the pipe so it points downward.

Step 16: Final Connections

How you proceed from here depends on the slope of your yard and its specific landscaping features. The goal is to move the purged water away from the house in a manner that keeps it away. In cases where the yard slopes away rapidly, the pipe can discharge onto a long splash block, much like a downspout.

In other cases, the purge pipe can be extended over the ground, or just underground, until it can terminate a safe distance away. As long as the horizontal run has sufficient slope, the pipe will drain after the pump stops and freezing shouldn’t be a problem.

After the discharge line is installed, caulk the rim joist opening on both the inside and outside of the house.

Step 17: Final Connections

Use a high-grade, silicone-based caulk that’s flexible enough to absorb the vibration of the pump. With the pump and all piping in place, finish the job by plugging the pump into a nearby GFCI-protected receptacle and test your work with about 5 gal. of water.


Basement Remodel Tally and Drywall Installation Tips

An unused basement water proof gets transformed into a full-blown entertainment room, causing this couple’s home value to increase.
Robert and Kate purchased their home within the last year and they love everything about it — except the lack of space to entertain. They consider adding a patio to the backyard but ultimately decide their $11,000 budget would be better spent basement finishing. Their plans include opening up the stairwell, hanging drywall, installing a ventilation system and adding carpet, built-in shelving and new lighting. They grab space from the adjacent room and frame in a nook to conceal a cabinet and refrigerator. With the framing completed, they hang drywall and hire a basement contractors to install an air ventilation system.The biggest expense in the Finishing basement is the carpeting. To ensure that it’s installed correctly, the homewners opt to hire professional installers. But they finish off the newly opened up stairwell themselves by installing a railing and newel post.

By making smart choices and tackling the projects they could handle themselves, the Schaaks managed to stay well under their initial budget. Here’s the dollar breakdown for this complete makeover project in terms of project cost vs. equity boost:

Sweat Equity Value Tally

drywall $950
drywall labor $1,825
carpet and installation $2,070
railing, cabinet and shelving $260
paint $140
lighting $250
TOTAL = $6,995
realtor’s estimated value increase = $16,000
total cost of material = $6,995
Net return on investment = $9,005
Below are some tips and information based on the homeowners experiences in this makeover.
  • Before repairing basement walls, think about the future use of that room. Sometimes the best way is actually keeping a very flexible space that way you can change it into whatever you need it to be.

  • When you put a drop ceiling in it automatically feels cheaper. You really want your space to look like the rest of your house. A drop ceiling will also take away precious ceiling height and make the space feel much smaller.
  • It’s a good idea to maximize space in the basement by adding built-ins shelving and storage areas. Check adjacent rooms for places you mat be able to steal space from. But don’t go overboard with too many built-ins or too much woodwork because it could get very expensive and you’re likely not to get a full return on your investment when it’s time to sell. A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple and inexpensive, but make it attractive.
  • As long as you are not masking some sort of problem like mold or mildew, an air purification system is a good way to make your water proof basement smell as good as it looks.


Waterproofing Basements

Learn how to spot a water problem in your basement, and get tips on how to resolve the issue before it causes serious damage to your home.

Wet basement” is a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of most homeowners. More than half of U.S. homes have this problem, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. The most typical causes are condensation, runoff and groundwater swelling. Solutions depend on the cause of the problem and can range from using a dehumidifier to installing a perimeter drain system. If you notice dampness and a musty odor when you enter your basement, you may be experiencing the first signs and should make it a priority to combat the water before more serious damage occurs to your home.

Never ignore a persistent musty smell.

Find out the cause of a wet basement before beginning any modifications to your home.
Seek professional advice before attempting to combat a groundwater swelling problem.
Check with your local municipality for information about changes in the water table.


Condensation occurs when moist, warm air hits cool foundation walls. If you see wet spots on waterproof basement floors and walls, you might have a condensation problem. Check it by performing a simple test. Tape plastic wrap onto a damp spot, sealing the edges with tape for a few days. If moisture appears on the wall side of the plastic, it’s a leak; if moisture is on the outside, it’s a condensation problem.

Allowing condensation to persist in your home can lead to structural problems. Simply opening windows regularly to aerate your home can eliminate the problem. Install a dehumidifier for a longer-term solution.


The most typical cause of runoff is melted snow and rainwater that is not directed away from the house. Hydro static pressure forces the water through gaps or cracks in walls and footings. You can prevent runoff by making sure the ground outside your home slopes away from your house at least one inch (25 mm) vertically for every 12 inches (300 mm) of horizontal travel and that downspouts are not leaking or pooling near the foundation.

This problem shows signs as water moves through cracks in the walls or floors. Here, growths of mold and algae suggest a damp surface.

Groundwater Swelling

Groundwater swells when the water table has exceeded its high point. Soil surrounding your home is unable to hold the extra water, causing a consistent runoff problem. If you have a wet basement due to groundwater swelling, your basement will be wet for a long period after each storm and there may be water bubbling up from the joints between the wall and floor. Many homes are not constructed with protection from high groundwater, and it is very expensive to install a system to combat the problem.

Combating a waterproof basement flooring

No matter if your basement is finished or you use it as just a storage room, it is important for the structural integrity of your home to combat a wet basement problem as soon as you discover it. Solutions to tackling a wet basement are plenty. The first step is trying to figure out the type of problem you are encountering. Then, check the grading around your home, downspouts for any leaks or pooling, and cracks in the driveway. Fix all of the problems you encounter as well as patching cracks in the basement walls and floors, as water in the home can cause mold problems as well as a wet basement and you have to contact with the professional basement finisher to deal with your basement issues.

Applying a Concrete Sealer

Sealers are available for coating waterproofing basement floors. They offer a quick waterproofing measure and can be decorated. They are easy to apply, provided you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. They can be applied to damp surfaces but any standing water should be removed.

Fitting a Polyethylene Membrane

An alternative to epoxy coatings is to use a polyethylene membrane. Although it holds back water, it may be necessary to install channels and a sump pump to collect and remove water from behind the membrane. Seek professional advice on whether this is required. Measure the surface area you need to cover and make sure you buy enough membrane for your needs.

Winter Plumbing Precautions

The Basement Guys® Cleveland have declared a Cleveland Waterproofing pattern has developed this winter, which is affecting weather conditions across the continent. While December was fairly mild, forecasters have warned that Seattle could be in for some colder weather in the coming months. Keep reading for tips on how to prevent three common plumbing issues you might face if things get chilly!

Frozen Pipes

When temperatures drop, exposed pipes, such as in crawl spaces or basements, can lead to trouble. A common issue is that water partially freezes in the pipe, restricting flow. In severe cases the pipe can become frozen solid. This can result in cracks as water pressure builds, and if the pipe breaks, water will start flooding your space. An easy way to prevent this is to insulate exposed pipes with a foam pipe cover. If Seattle should experience an arctic blast, let cold water drip from the faucets of any expose pipes — including kitchen and bathroom sinks. The water circulation will help maintain water pressure and prevent freezing.


Clogged Drains

Cold weather often results in more kitchen activity as people cook their favorite hearty dishes in order toward off the chill. This also means there’s more opportunity for grease and food scrapes to be washed down your kitchen drain and form a clog. Prevention is a fairly straightforward — simply make sure you compost food scraps and properly dispose of grease in the garbage. If your drain does clog, avoid reaching for liquid drain cleaner. Instead, check out our article covering tried and true methods for getting things unclogged.

Septic Tank Troubles

If your home uses a septic tank system, you’ll need to keep an eye out for prolonged periods of below freezing temperatures, especially with no snow. Under these conditions the ground can start freezing. While it’s unlikely that the tank itself will be threatened (at least in the Seattle area) depending on how deep the frost extends, parts of your septic system could still be at risk of freezing. In particular, check the point where the septic line leaves the house and make sure to cover it with a layer of insulation, such as hay, leaves, or mulch. Regular household activity will generally provide enough warm water circulation to prevent the line from freezing, but watch out if you go away for a long weekend or vacation.

If you experience any plumbing problems this winter, give the experts at Best Plumbing a call. We are available for emergency plumbing services 24/7 throughout the greater Seattle and Bellevue areas! You can also schedule an appointment for routine plumbing maintenance. Contact us today and learn why we’ve been trusted local plumbers for 50 years!

How Sump Pumps Work

Sump Pump Installation

You can have a professional to install a sump pump in your home, but if you’re a reasonably handy person, it may be a job you can take on yourself and you just need to know the cost to install sump pump. Here’s an overview of how to install a sump pit and pump in your basement.
  1. Determine where water, sewer and utility lines enter your home. You want to put your sump pit away from this ­  existing infrastructure at the lowest point of your basement (you can use a laser level to determine this point). The pump should be at least 8 inches (20 centimeters) away from an outside wall and close to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet.
  2. Figure out how you are going to route the outlet pipe — usually 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch (3.8 to 5 centimeter) PVC. Running it up through a rim joist is usually the easiest way to get the pipe to the outside.
  3. To reduce the sump pump cost; purchase your sump pump and liner together. The liner, essentially a heavy plastic tub with slits to allow water to enter, will determine the size of the hole you dig. You want to dig the hole at least 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) wider than the liner and about 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) deeper. You can use the liner as a starting template and enlarge your outline by 3 inches (7.6 centimeters).
  4. Dig the hole to the depth recommended by the sump pump manufacturer, then level the bottom. The easiest way to cut through the concrete is to use a jackhammer.
  5. Put the liner into the hole and fill around the outside with coarse gravel. Also put about 6 inches (15 centimeters) of gravel in the bottom of the pit. Tamp it down firmly to ensure the bottom stays level.
  6. Attach the discharge pipe to the pump, and place the pump into the pit, making sure it stands upright and level.
  7. Cut a piece of PVC drain pipe 1 foot (30.5 centimeters) long. Drill a hole in the rim joist to accommodate the discharge pipe and install it in the hole.
  8. Measure and cut pieces of PVC pipe to run from the pump to the inside of the pipe through the rim header. Dry fit all the pieces, and when you’re sure they are right, cement them together.
  9. On the outside, fit a piece of discharge pipe onto the pipe protruding through the rim header. Run it to the discharge area, then cement the pipe in place. The discharge pipe shoul­d have a small vent hole that’s out of the water but drains into the pit. This vent hole is designed to prevent an air lock from forming in the lower part of the pump.
  10. Finish up by caulking around the hole in the rim header both inside and outside and supporting the discharge pipe inside the house by attaching it to walls or joists.
  11. Finally, adjust the float valve on the pump following the manufacturer’s directions. Check the operation by pouring in two or three buckets of water, then plug in the pump.
Once you’ve installed the pump, a little routine maintenance will help keep running smoothly. So how often should you head to the basement with a bucket of water?



One of the most important aspects of commercial plumbing is preventative maintenance. From unblocking clogged drains to catching leaks before they become critical, taking action early can help you reduce costs and avoid expensive basement wall repair and replacements.

For example, most leaks slowly develop from small problems into major sources of moisture that can damage your drywall, flooring and other aspects of your building’s interior. Catch them early and it’s a cheap, quick and simple repair — catch them late and its often a major expense.

Whether you run a retail store or a restaurant, basement waterproof system is one of the most important aspects of keeping your building or space in top condition. Below, we’ve listed four tips that you can use to prevent problems from occurring ahead of time and avoid costly repair bills.


Leaks are easy to ignore. After all, they usually start out as minor annoyances that only need to be cleaned up every day or two. As such, it’s easy to “forget” about them and fail to take action until it’s too late.

Unfortunately, small leaks can quickly develop into big ones. The more water a leaky pipe lets into your building, the greater risk of it damaging your flooring materials, drywall, or even your electrical equipment.

Leaks should always be fixed as soon as they appear. If you discover a leak — even if it seems like a small, minor problem — so for Ohio Waterproofing call a plumber in to repair it as early as you can to avoid it turning into a source of water damage for your flooring, walls, carpets and electrical devices.



There’s far more to a blocked drain than just a nasty smell. Blocked drains aren’t just sources of frustration for anyone that uses a sink or shower — they can also lead to serious health risks for your staff and customers.

Blocked drains often harbor dirty, stagnant water, which can cause problems for people that are sensitive to bacteria and particles. Certain people can even develop skin problems when they’re forced to spend time close to a blocked basement drain clogged.

Beyond the health risks, blocked drains are just unpleasant in general. From bad odors to skin irritation, it’s best to deal with blocked drains as early as possible to prevent unwanted effects and annoyances from hurting your staff and customers.


Leaks don’t only come from pipes, although leaky pipes can be a common problem. If you start to notice pools or water or moist surfaces, they could be the result of workplace appliances like a fridge or freezer leaking out into your work area.

Leaks from appliances can be a major health risk. Over time, the moisture — which can often be hidden by the appliance itself — can cause mold and mildew to develop, causing major problems for staff members with allergies.

Try to inspect your pipes and appliances every month, if possible. It only takes a few minutes to open your kitchen cupboards and check around the sink, dishwasher, fridge and other common problem areas for wall repairs.


It can be tempting to solve most “small” plumbing issues on your own. After all, doing so saves time and money. However, many plumbing issues are much more sophisticated and difficult to repair than they initially seem, and taking action on your own often creates more problems.

If you spot a problem, such as a leaky pipe or damaged appliance, call in basement contractors. While it might cost slightly more than repairing it on your own, you’ll enjoy a better outcome, as well as the peace of mind that your business’s plumbing problems are handled by the professionals.


Sump Pump Maintenance

Most sump pumps are equipped with water level or flood alarms, usually battery powered, that alert you if the pump isn’t working properly and water is backing up. More sophisticated systems can notify your alarm company or call your cell phone if the water starts to rise. Fortunately, this shouldn’t happen often. Sump pumps on the whole are quite reliable. But as with any other important piece of equipment, regular maintenance is always a good idea. Spend a few minutes every couple of months, when heavy rains are forecast and in early spring to ensure reliable sump pump operation. Basic sump pump maintenance is usually as simple as doing these few jobs.

  • Make sure the pump is plugged in to a working ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet and the cord is in good shape. In damp areas, GFCI ­breakers may trip, effectively shutting off the pump and also to overcome on the sump pump cost issue. Check in on your sump pump periodically so you can reset the GFCI if necessary.
  • Ensure the pump itself is standing upright. Vibrations during operation can cause it to fall or tilt onto one side. This can jam the float arm so it can’t activate the pump.
  • Periodically pour a bucket of water into the pit to make sure the pump starts automatically and the water drains quickly once the pump is on. If the pump doesn’t start, have it serviced.
  • Physically remove a submersible pump from the pit and clean the grate on the bottom. The sucking action of the pump can pull small stones into the grate, blocking the inlet or damaging the pump over time.
  • Ensure the outlet pipes are tightly joined together and draining out at least 20 feet (6 meters) away from your foundation repair.
  • Make sure the vent hole in the discharge pipe is clear.

Sump Pump Maintenance

Another important point is the sump pump’s power supply. The fact that sump pumps rely on electricity to operate does make them vulnerable in the event of a power outage. Fortunately, there are backup options available. For some people, at least those on municipal water systems — and assuming the city water system is still functional — water-powered sump pumps that don’t need any electricity are an option. These pumps literally use the pressure of flowing water to pump water out of the sump. The downside to this design is that the pumping process uses virtually the same amount of city water as the quantity of water it pumps out. So, while water-powered pumps aren’t necessarily a good choice for a main pump, they offer a viable option for a short duration backup pump. You can consult with your local professionals for sump pump replacement cost or maintenance cost.

Sump pumps with backup battery power are also commonly available. The backup power comes from a car battery — or even better, a deep cycle boat battery. Most of the systems charge the batteries while the power is on, ensuring the battery is fully charged in the event of a power outage. Alternatively, a trickle charger used for car batteries is also an option.

Some homeowners use backup gasoline or diesel generators to provide their own electricity in the event of a power outage. Since a small sump pump needs 800 to 100 watts to operate and can draw up to 1,800 watts when starting, a backup generator needs to be sized properly and, of course, well maintained.

If all else fails, you can turn to a hand-operated bilge pump or a bucket brigade to move water out of the pit during a power outage.