Many people don’t really think they need a sump pump in their basements. But for some people, not installing one in time can lead to heavy property damage and insurance bills. The sump pumps evacuate flood or rainwater from the basement floor and dump it into the local storm drain or dry well.  

Getting a sump pump installed is very important for houses where basement flooding is frequent, but how exactly do you install one? What equipment do you need? Do you need any paperwork or permits? What are the specific rules for residents in Chicago, Illinois?

Difference Between Sump Pumps and Ejector Pumps:

A big point to note here is that an ejector pump drains wastewater from your bathroom utilities to the city line, whereas a sump pump drains water from the basement floor. If the toilet or sink accumulate too much sewage, an ejector pump can take care of that. But if the entire room of the basement is flooded, then a sump pump must be installed to drain the water.

Why Should I Install a Sump Pump?

Not installing a sump pump in time can result in:

  • Excessive flooding of the basement.
  • Accumulation of wastewater, which can lead to a pungent smell, lack of hygiene, and pests.
  • The basement floor gradually eroding overtime or immediately due to lack of proper construction.
  • Foundation damage, due to the soil around the foundation expanding.
  • Insurance bills to revert any damage done by the flooding.

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What Do I Need To Install A Sump Pump?

For properly installing a sump pump into your basement, the system requirements are:

  • Sump Pump:

This is the main component of a decent drain setup. A decent basement pump will cost you around $200 - $1,000. The sump pump is to be gradually lowered into the sump basin, and should be given adequate protection from water damage and rats.

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI):

Since the sump pump is an electronic fixture, it requires a power outlet to connect to. A GFCI outlet provides better protection from short-circuiting and electrocution. Plugging the pump into any regular outlet isn't too smart, as the flooded water can run the risk of power outage and short-circuiting.

  • Sump Basin:

The sump basin usually looks like a regular bucket. The basin can accumulate water inside it before triggering the pump. The pump is usually placed inside the basin and the basin itself is surrounded by either concrete or gravel to help aid elevation.

  • Check Valve:

The purpose of a check valve is to prevent the water from flowing back into the basin by ensuring one-way flow. This is an optional choice, but we suggest getting one if you can afford it, since it will help a lot.

  • Discharge Pipe:

The discharge pipe takes the water from the basin and sends it gushing upwards into the sewage line or storm drain. We recommend using a 1 and a half inch PVC pipe for this. You should best ask your plumber about the type that would fit your plumbing.

Get a Plumbing Permit:

Whether you live in Chicago or in any other state, most major plumbing projects require a permit from the city council. A permit is basically a written permission to carry out tough and hazardous tasks that would otherwise damage the entire drainage system. The easiest way to get a permit is to contact the home builder and ask them, or visit the city council by yourself. The official website for the Chicago Department of Plumbing has a few permit applications online, but sometimes these online applications can get neglected.

For a permit, you mostly require to give your full contact, your contractor’s contact (assuming you’re not taking on the project yourself), and the specifications of the fixtures you wish to install.

5 Causes of Sump Pump Failure And What To Do:

In cases where the sump pump is not working, use the following to fully assess and fix the problem:

  • Power Outage:

Having an electrical sump pump is completely useless given that most rainstorms and floods are accompanied by power surges. In case of a power outage, plug the pump up into a backup generator or UPS and get it running again. Considering installing a generator or UPS in advance, or buying a backup sump pump, if you can afford it.

  • Erroneous Setup:

There are a lot of things which can go wrong during the setup and installation. Which is why we recommend hiring a contractor. If the setup was done by a contractor, then call them and ask for a repair.

  • Disconnected Switch Or Float:

Sometimes, either due to improper setup or physical trauma, the switch or float can get disconnected from each other. In these cases, you will have to manually reposition all the elements. This is best done when the pump is turned off, and when the flood water isn't hazardous.

  • Manufacturing Fault:

Sometimes the product is just defective. There is no way to fix a faulty product, but you can call the manufacturer and ask for a replacement or refund. At most, the warranty will last 30 days, so you should have little to no luck with that. Either get a refund or buy a new pump, and be sure to test it out before finalizing the purchase.

  • Burst Pipes:

The problem might not be in the pump itself but in the discharge pipes. A common issue is the pipes either getting clogged or burst open. If they are clogged, then call a plumber to clean out the pipes thoroughly. If they burst, then either fill in the cracks with sealant or replace the pipes.

Conclusion:

If your basement is constantly flooded by rain or burst pipes, then we recommend getting one installed if it’s not already there. Sump pumps can be DIYed, but it would be better to hire a professional Chicago contractor, as there are lesser chances of making a mistake. But if you’re low on budget, doing it yourself may be better.

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