Do You Need to Install a Sump Pump in Your Crawl Space?

Written by Blake Heron on . Posted in .

Every year, one in fifty houses are affected by water damage. All it takes is for a bad storm to pass through or the groundwater to start rising, and then suddenly you’ve got puddles of water under your house. 

Most people think of the basement when they think of house flooding, but your house’s crawl space is also susceptible to water damage. One way to prevent it from flooding is by getting a sump pump. 

If you know that water damage has impacted your house previously and you’re concerned about it happening again, a sump pump installation will ease your worries. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about your crawl space and why it needs a sump pump. 

What Is a Crawl Space?

A crawl space is the section of your home located between the ground floor and the first floor. It’s tiny and hollow and, therefore, not easily accessible. 

However, crawl spaces give houses more height and access to the most important systems in your home. It is home to the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as insulation and irrigation.

These parts alone are a big reason to prevent water from accumulating in your crawl space. On top of that, water seepage can result in mold and pest infestation. It is best to remove the water as soon as possible. When doing so, please keep these 9 tips in mind

What Is a Sump Pump? 

A sump pump is a water removal device that is located in the crawl space. It will detect any leaks, collect and drain the water, preventing it from rising and going anywhere near the guts of your house. 

There are two different types of sump pumps: pedestal pumps and submersible pumps. The pedestal pump is going to last about 25 to 30 years, however, that is its only advantage over the submersible pump.

The submersible pump sits below the ground, which prevents it from overheating. While it only lasts about ten years, this factor makes it the preferable option.  

Depending on how large your crawl space is, you may want to consider getting more than one sump pump installed. Having at least two prevents one from getting overwhelmed. The water will get pumped out of the crawl space quicker as well. 

The sump pump itself is not that expensive, as far as household appliances go. It is roughly $200. However, the cost of installing a sump pump in a crawl space is a bit pricier, estimated at $1,500. The accompanying crawl space french drains can range from $2,000-$5,000.

While this may lead you to try and install the sump pump yourself, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional. Unless you are in this line of work, it can be dangerous to install the sump pump without knowing what you are doing.

Because the crawl space holds most of your house’s functional systems, you must not make a mistake that will impact them negatively. You need to have all the proper tools and materials to complete this installation.

Preparing for the Sump Pump Installation

Another reason why you should call on a professional for the job is that the installation process is going to take a significant amount of time, especially since only one person can fit in the crawl space. Furthermore, this is a multistep process that needs to be tested afterward. Here’s a breakdown of what is required before putting the sump pump into your crawl space:

First, you’ll need to find the lowest part of your crawl space. Then begin digging a hole. The depth should be about close to two feet, though it varies from house to house. 

It is a good idea to move the soil around the hole around so that it forms a decline. Setting it up this way will make it easier for the water around to run down to the sump pump, rather than collecting nearby. 

While this is not a mandatory step, placing a liner before putting in the basin is important. It will serve as a barrier, stopping mud from getting into and clogging your pump. This liner should have small holes, though, to allow groundwater to come through.

Next, install the basin. It should sit tightly against the liner because if water can build up between the two, it won’t drain properly.

If there is a little space between the basin and the liner, fill it with stones. The water will still be able to get through, but the dirt will not. 

Don’t forget to put an airtight lid on your basin. It’s going to keep any radon gases from seeping into your crawl space and, therefore, your home. It also blocks moisture from getting into your basin, which can then evaporate and damage your crawl space.  

The Sump Pump Installation

Now that there’s a designated space for the sump pump, it’s time to install it. It should be standing straight up. Check that the water won’t be going anywhere near electric wires. 

There are a couple of additional tools that are beneficial to have on your sump pump system. The first being is a float switch, which will alert the pump that there is water rising in the basin and activate it. 

Secondly, it is helpful to have a check valve attached to the drainage pipe. Confirm that your check valve is working once everything is installed. This is a one-way road for water, ensuring that it doesn’t make it’s way back into the pump. 

The drainage pipe attached to the pump should go out to the house’s exterior. The idea of the drainage discharge line is to get water as far away from your house as possible. The length of your drainage line will depend on how big your yard is and if it is sloped. 

This is a good time to put down lining along your crawl space floor. If there are plumbing leaks, the water will flow from the lining to your sump pump. However, you’ll want to get your plumbing leaks fixed because the lining and the sump pump can only handle so much water. 

Maintenance and Check-Ups

There are measures you’ll need to take after the sump pump is installed to make sure it continues functioning properly for years to come. You can have a professional come out and do these for you too. 

First, make sure that your pump is still standing upright. You can test to see if it is working by pouring some water in the basin and seeing if it collects it and pumps it out. If it is not working, you might need to check the impeller, float switch, the check valve, or the intake. 

Sometimes the sump pump only needs a quick clean to get working again. This could mean you need to unclog the discharge at the end of the vent’s opening, as sediment and silt tend to built up there. If there’s too much buildup on the grate, preventing the water from escaping, you might need to clean that too. 

Even though the pump might be sending the water back up, it might not be getting far enough away from your house. If it doesn’t get at least 20 ft away, the water could filter back through the ground. This forces your sump pump to work twice as hard. 

Don’t forget to check your pump every year. It’s important to make sure your pump is in good working order.

Extra Recommendations

There are some other sump pump tips to make note of before you purchase one. The first one being, you might want to consider closing off the crawl space to attempt to prevent a ton of water from leaking into it. 

Getting an alarm to tell you when the pump isn’t running will also give you time to fix the problem before it’s too late. Similarly, purchasing a sump pump with a backup battery is useful for when the power goes out. 

Lastly, your pump’s valve must not get clogged with silt and sediment. To ensure that these elements get sucked up into a separate section, consider getting a pump stand. 

Protect Your House

Think of it this way, a sump pump in your crawl space is like having extra insurance. Hopefully, it’s not an item you’ll need to use regularly, but you won’t have to stress out as much about water damage if you do own one. Save your crawl space from flooding and get a quote on a sump pump installation today. 

Blake Heron

Written By Blake Heron

Blake has specialized in crawl space & foundation repairs for over 10 years (since 2012). His prior engineering and business degrees from James Madison University in VA prepared him for a mastery of problem solving with crawl space & foundation repair issues. He is one of America’s top experts on crawl space encapsulation. As Founder of both ‘BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair’ as well as ‘GridLock Foundations’ he is a leading industry expert on crawl space foundation repairs.


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