Archive for Monday, March 28, 2011


Fix-It Chick: Spring good time to replace sump pump

March 28, 2011


Spring is good time to test your sump pump and replace it, if it is not functioning properly.

Step 1: Remove the pump pit cover and slowly pour a bucket of water into the sump tank. The float should rise and trigger the pump to turn on.

Step 2: If the float does not rise, reposition the pump and see whether that solves the problem. If the pump does not turn off when the water level returns to normal, a new float switch may be needed.

Step 3: If the pump does not turn on when the float rises, or it does not pump water out of the sump tank. It is time to install a new sump pump.

Step 4: Unplug the old sump pump and disconnect it from the drain pipe. Typically the drain pipe is attached to a rubber check valve and held in place with a standard hose clamp. To remove the drain pipe, unscrew the hose clamp and slip the pipe out from the rubber check valve. If the pipe is not attached with a hose clamp and it cannot be unscrewed from the sump pump base, use a hack saw to cut the pipe at a reasonable spot. Purchase a rubber coupling to re-attach the cut pipe once the new pump is installed.

Step 5: If the old pump did an adequate job of removing excess water, replace it with the same style and size pump. If the old pump had difficulty keeping up with the flow of excess water, upgrade to a more powerful pump. Before purchasing a new pump, measure the diameter of the sump pump pit to assure there is enough clearance for the new pump’s float switch. Specific sump pit diameter requirements should be visible on the new pump packaging.

Step 6: Before installing the new pump, use a wet/dry vacuum to clean out the bottom of the pump pit. Inspect the pit, the check valve and the drain line to make sure they are in good working condition. Replace whatever is worn or damaged.

Step 7: Attach the drain line to the new pump in the same manner it was attached to the old pump.

Step 8: Plug in the new pump and pour a bucket of water into the pump pit to make sure everything is working properly before replacing the pump pit lid.

— Linda Cottin can be reached at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.