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How to Create a Basement Sump Pit


Sump Pit A basement that’s taking on water is frustrating and dangerous. The steady intrusion of water can erode your foundation, and the atmosphere is ripe for mold development. A sump pump will remove the water before it can cause damage and leave you with a dry area, but the pump requires a properly designed pit. Without the right pit construction, your sump pump will not work. Use these tips to help you build the right pit for your basement.

Understand the Concept Water seeping in through the walls or rising up under the floor of your basement must be diverted to the pit so it can be pumped. As the water level rises in the pit, it will activate the pump. Removing the water from the pit, the pump will only work if the system is properly designed and installed.

Choose Location Carefully The sump pump should go along an exterior wall, so the wall running under the edge of your garage or a crawlspace should be avoided. Choose a location where you can easily punch a hole in the rim joist for the discharge pipe and run the discharge pipe at least ten feet into the yard.

Avoid Footings The sump pit must be about eight inches away from the foundation wall to protect the footings. When measuring the space for the pit, remember that you will need a three- to four-inch gap around the liner for easier fitting.

Check for Pipes The last thing you want is to start tearing up concrete and discover that the main water or sewer line for your house is where the sump pump will go. If you are unsure of where pipes are under your basement floor, you can call the local utility companies to find out where the pipes enter your home.

Direct Water from Walls If the water is coming in through the walls, then you may need to do a little more digging. Add a trench along the perimeter of the room that will catch water from the walls and direct it to the sump pump pit. Drill holes in the lower section of the cinder block walls just below the floor level and then install French drains around the perimeter to move the water and prevent it from rising into your basement. With the French drains in place, you can re-pour concrete around the perimeter for a clean look and usable surface.

Proper Level for Top of Pit With the concrete removed, start digging out dirt for the sump pit. The top of the pit should sit a quarter-inch below the concrete floor once installed. The ground under the pit should be as flat and level as possible.

Filter Fabric and Gravel Surround You want water to flow freely into the pit, but you don’t want dirt to get into the pit and damage your pump. Wrap the basic in filter fabric before setting it in the cavity. Fill the area around the pit with gravel. Add small amounts of water to force the gravel to settle and eliminate spaces. Leave four inches around the top of the pit to pour fresh concrete.

The sump pit is now ready for the installation of your pump and discharge pipe. If the pit has been properly prepared, this part of the project will go smoothly. Consider adding a generator backup system to the pump to ensure that it continues working even when heavy storms knock out power to the house.

Buy Premade Sump Kits If you do not want to deal with the creation of the kit yourself you can always consider buying a sump kit like one of the below ones to help with your installation.