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How to Replace a Sump Pump: A DIY Guide

When your home relies on a sump pump to keep rainwater out of your basement or crawl space, it’s crucial to ensure it’s in proper working condition. If you suspect your sump pump is failing, replacing it is a task you can tackle as a DIY project. This guide will walk you through the steps to determine if your sump pump needs replacement, choosing the right motor size, and replacing a submersible sump pump.

Note: If you’re digging a sump pit for a new sump pump installation, contact your local building code authorities to inquire about necessary permits. Building codes can vary by region and may dictate specific standards to follow.

1. Is Your Sump Pump Failing?

Regularly monitor your sump pump to catch issues early.

  • Check the water level in the sump pit regularly to ensure it’s not too high.
  • Observe how often the sump pump operates in different weather conditions, noting what sounds are normal.
  • During a rainstorm, inspect your sump pump to verify it’s functioning correctly.

Signs of a failing sump pump include:

  • Increased frequency of operation or pit overflow.
  • Unusual loud, screechy noises, or signs of struggle during operation.
  • Motor horsepower mismatch with water volume.
  • Continuous operation without cycling on and off.

2. Sump Pump Motor Horsepower

Select the right sump pump motor size to match your needs.

  • Choose a sump pump with adequate horsepower to handle normal rainwater and occasional storms based on your climate and terrain.
  • A 1/3 horsepower submersible pump is suitable for most situations. However, flood-prone areas may require a 1/2 horsepower sump pump.
  • Avoid using a motor with excessive horsepower, as it can lead to more frequent operation and premature wear.

3. Types of Sump Pumps

Understand the different types of sump pumps available.

  • Submersible sump pumps operate entirely underwater, offering quiet operation and durability during storms.
  • Pedestal sump pumps have the motor positioned above the waterline and tend to be louder but are cost-effective.
  • Battery backup sump pumps, while not primary pumps, are crucial during power outages.

4. Remove the Old Sump Pump

Start by removing the old sump pump.

  • Turn off the power at the circuit breaker.
  • Unplug the old sump pump and disconnect the discharge line.
  • Loosen the pipe clamp on the check valve and disconnect the pipe.
  • Remove the old pump and connected discharge pipe.

5. Place New Sump Pump in Pit

Position the new sump pump correctly.

  • Place the pump in the pit, ideally on a stand to prevent it from sitting at the bottom.
  • Ensure the pump is level using a level and adjust as needed with plastic shims.
  • Ensure the float is centered in the pit, allowing it to move freely.

6. Connect the Discharge Line

Ensure proper discharge line installation.

  • If the old pump and new pump match, transfer the discharge pipe to the new pump.
  • Ensure there is a check valve to prevent water from flowing back into the pump.
  • If necessary, add an integrated check valve to your new sump pump.

7. Plug In New Sump Pump

Restore power to your new sump pump.

  • Turn the power back on at the circuit breaker.
  • Plug the pump’s cord into a grounded outlet.
  • Test the pump by adding water to the pit until the float activates the switch and the pump turns on.
  • Monitor the pump’s operation and ensure it turns off when the water level is below the float.

8. Cover the Sump Pit

Protect your sump pit with a suitable cover.

  • Cover the pit with a custom sump pit cover, designed with a cutout for the discharge line and wiring.
  • A cover helps reduce motor noise for submersible pumps and prevents debris and pests from entering the pit.

With your new sump pump successfully installed, you can rest assured that your basement or crawl space is protected from flooding. Consider finishing your basement to maximize its use now that you have a reliable sump pump in place.

Why Wyn City Drain & Plumbing?

When it comes to plumbing services in Ottawa, Wyn City Drain & Plumbing Services stands out for several key reasons:

  • Customer-Centric Approach: We prioritize your needs and respect your time. Expect excellent service and top-quality materials.
  • Convenient Scheduling: We work around your availability and provide advance notice for our visits, ensuring your convenience.
  • Professionalism and Neatness: Our plumbers maintain a clean work area and deliver quick, professional solutions.
  • Proven Track Record: We’ve earned numerous 5-star reviews for our exceptional work and dedication to customer satisfaction.
  • Comprehensive Support: We assist with insurance claims, permits, and finding potential rebates, simplifying complex processes.


Choose Wyn City Drain & Plumbing Services for plumbing excellence and customer-focused service. Contact us today, and experience plumbing done right. Your satisfaction is our priority!