... my basement, I mean.
We badly need a sump pump. Maybe two, but definitely one where the water
pools every spring.
<warily eyeing the melting snow>
How hard is it to install a sump pump? Is that a job for a pro, or can I do
it with power tools? We have a fieldstone basement, with a cement floor.
There is no well yet, just a low spot that collects water.
Any and all advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
This is a serious job to build a drywell in your basement especially
since should have been done before pouring the floor. A bit of major
remodeling will be required including some brutal manual labor not to
mention the plumbing and exavation for the pump and line. An
experienced plumbing company would be best cause you really need a
crew to put this thing in.
A pedestal type pump will work in a 5 gallon sump if you use a check valve
to prevent backflow so you have to dig is a 10 gallon hole. You can do it
with hand tools if you must. You will earn what you don't spend.
But first figure out the best way to do it. Is the water coming up through
Or in through the wall and collecting at the low spot?
From one section? Or more?
A slightly better picture of the situation will allow some one to better
Don't listen to this guy, it is easier than you may think. Yes, it does
take a bit of labor though to break concrete and dig. .
You buy a pump and you buy a plastic sump liner made for exactly this
purpose. The hard part is cutting the concrete floor. You can score it
with an abrasive blade in a circular saw, they with a rented jack hammer or
muscle and a sledge hammer, you break out the concrete. Dig for the sump,
then put some stone and the liner, put the pump in place, then run a drain
They showed this on Ask This Old House a couple of months ago. Sorry
Lawrence, maybe you are not up to it but Tom and a woman did the job in her
house. Check out some information on episode 425.
Here is the basin http://www.akindustries.com/
My good man, the show you refer to is very popular and you are right
to say it is possible to do it yourself. Note: A professional
plumber was onsite for that installation and that is what I
recommended. Also, those shows are quite a lot more scripted than
you think. They make it look easy because that is what they are paid
to do. Laborers are often available off screen.
Yes, it is easy to throw a pump in a hole as long as your are
comfortable with manual labor. You will have a higher likelyhood of
a job that you will be happy with for years to come if you hire a
real plumber and laborers.
Since your have called me out personally I have to tell you... I am
capable of solving any plumbing problems that I have including a
drywell if necessary. I answer questions in this forum, I do not post
them. My goal is to be helpful rather than confrontational. This
person specifically asked if I thought she could do it. She did not
ask if is possible. I gave her good advice having a high likelyhood
It looks simple because it is. A sixteen year old with a sledge hammer and
shovel can do the excavation. It is not a job for a highly skilled plumber
at $90 an hour, but some work for a $9 an hour teenager.
Really? I would not be. Why a pluber at all? This is not what I'd
classify as tru plubing whee you have to solder joints, lay out the toilet
rough in, repair a leak at a main valve, etc. This is running some PVC or
even a hose. This type of job is a perfect traing ground for a DIY person
that would like to eventually try plumbing. No pressure involved, no feeds
to appiances,, no fancy hardware.
Never questioned your personal skills. I have to disagree with your
assessment of the situation though. A plumber and crew will take this job
to be about $500 to $800 plus materials instead of $50. If the OP is not
comfortable doing the job, hire a handyman for $30 an hour instead of a $90
I have answered quite directly the questions the OP asked. She asked
if we thought she could do it and I answered her. She has since
agreed with me. You seem to be more interested in replying to me that
to the OP.
You can hire anyone to do a crap job that's for sure. There have been
many, many, posts from people with sumps that don't work usually
because they were installed by amateurs. Excavation and installation
of the drain line is usually where they fail.
You are right to say anyone can do it. It is just that I do not
reccomend it. She will be happier longer if you hire a pro
I thought you meant an experience plumbing company, as opposed to a
minimally experienced one, and that the OP's doing it herself was out
of the question.
I don't want to argue, but I didn't get this impression from your
first post. And I think the OP should have understood just be looking
at the job that manual labor would be involved, with a cement floor,
and even more so after people recommended a jack hammer ("See if you
can lift the lightest electric jack hammer they rent,... ") although
these posts came after yours.
What I meant is open to quite alot of interpretation, isn't it?? I
never said doing it your self was out of the question, never. The
reason you are confused is because I answered the question simply and
directly without adding any extra information. More posters should
do the same, ANSWER THE QUESTION.
Attacking my posts serves nothing. This person has already admitted
that this is beyond her ability. This makes my answer a correct one.
Some people seem to think that if the pros on TV can do it then anyone
can. That is simply rubbish.
Just to clarify: it sounds to me that doing this correctly, which seems to
involve a significant amount of plumbing, is beyond my abilities. If I
have to hire a plumber to install drainage, I might as well get one guy to
do the whole thing. Not that you asked, but... :) I'm pretty good at
holes. I'm lousy at plumbing *in* holes. Sadly, Bob Vila, I'm not.
Thanks again for all of your input and advice. I'm leaning towards
spending money on a pro to put in the sump pump and drains, and investing my
energy in excavating and sealing the source of the leak: the coal chute.
All of the suggestions and advice I've received in this thread make me think
that might be the best approach, all considered. So thanks, everyone. :)
Very good reasons not to attempt it but I was referring only to
digging the hole and sticking a hose out to somewhere. The proper
installation after the hole does take knowledge/experience. If you
are hiring a job done, they might as well do the entire thing as
digging the hole is the least part of the job.
I put in a sewer backflow valve myself. Not the same thing but cutting
the concrete floor starts the same :) I tried a concrete cutting disk
in electric saw and the dust was horrible so I stopped after an inch.
Then I went to local rentall place and he advised the biggest size of
electric jack-hammer that you can plug into a 120v socket. I think it
was Bosch, it came with a pointed chisel, and a flat chisel about 1"
wide, I started the hole with the pointy chisel and it was really hard
to get through to make a start. I even used a normal hammer drill to
drill a series of quarter inch holes in a circle and 2 inches diameter
to loosen it a bit. Finally I managed to make a 3 inch diameter hole
all the way through the slab. after that I could switch to the 1" wide
chisel and was able to gradually enlarge the hole until it was about
24" by 18". It took me a whole day. Then I rested a week (after all
the shaking) and dug out the whole hole, cut my sewage pipes and
installed the backflow valve.
The best bit was... the plumbers wanted over $1000 to do the job, it
cost me $44 for jackhammer rental, $52 for the backflow valve, $10 for
cutting disk (which I abandoned due to dust) and $10 for quarter inch
From my experience in most cases a sump & pump is just a way to throw money
at a problem on the cheap and still not fix the issue. If you've really got
basement water problems spend the bucks on something like the B-Dry system
and be done with it. Just be sure to check out the contractor in your area
before hiring though, there are a lot of 'not so satisfying' operators in
the basement waterproofing business. Not to mention a lot of people selling
systems that will fail or not work at all. Do some serious research, call a
lot of vendors for assessments/quotes, check out the vendors you are
considering with BBB and whoever else you can find in your area.
The "B-Dry system" list two types of products. The first I found listed
was a fancy name for a sump pump system. The second is the useless paint -
spray on trash. I think I would avoid B-Dry based on the way the market
their product if for no other reason.
Yes, I don't know anything about B-Dry marketing spray on stuff, paint, etc.
I was referring to the company that digs the interior trench, places piping
for drain, covers it with stone and then cements back over it. If you have
a block foundation they will also drill weep holes into the bottom of the
blocks and install some sort of material to catch any water that might seep
into or through cracks in the blocks/mortar. They will sell pumps attached
to their system to discharge the collected water away from the structure if
you need one, but if you can run a gravity drain your even better off.
Here's a link to what I think is their website, but do your homework because
the local shops are all independent franchisees:
There are others, Basement Systems, etc, but B-Dry is the big name in the
business from my experience. Yes, any type of coating inside like paint is
only a temporary (if at all!) solution.
Waste money? For a total of around $150-200 (today's prices) I can
(and did) install a sump pump in my basement changing what had been a
flooded floor into a dry basement all year long. Any system that is
going to keep water out of the basement to begin with is going to run
in the thousands.
Were I to do it today I would do the same thing, using the same tools
and I am now 72. Wouldn't have a problem at all using that electric
rotarly hammer to drill the perimeter holes every 3-4 inches then bust
out the concrete with a sledge. My drain line is buried and exits
into a ditch 100 ft away.
Is that in the middle of the floor, or near the edge. Like the other
guy asked, how is the water getting there?
So is the water coming in through the rocks? Are the walls painted?
You need to give more details.
The hard part of digging the sump is getting through the cement, which
iiuc is likely to be 6? inches thick.
The hard part about getting through the cement imo would be keeping
the boundaries of the hole you are making within bounds.
If it were a one-inch piece of cement, you could draw a boundry and
use a cold chisel and a heavy hammer, and by all means goggles, to
chisel a quater or half inch line to mark the border, and then when
you went after the middle**, the hole would probably remain within the
**See if you can lift the lightest electric jack hammer they rent, or
is there a better tool for this. The jack hammer was easy to use.
And lifting it was easy the first few times, but that got harder
quickly as I got tired. I'm 5'8" and my arms were almost parallel to
tthe ground. If I had been taller, or had stood on something 4 to 8
inches high, it would have been easier. But if you rent for a whole
day, you can rest in between. But there must be something smaller and
lighter for a little hole like this, even if it 6? inches thick.
But since it's a lot thicker, is that what one uses a power hamnmer
for? Or an air chisel? Can she rent a compressor and is there a
cemenmt cutting device?
Or should she just make the hole and then replace whatever cement
breaks that shoudlnt' have.
After you are through the floor, digging the rest of the hole should
be pretty easy, and then you have to line the hole with a cylinder of
some sort so that the earth doesn't collapse. Then make an exit for
the cisharge pipe, and run the water away from your house. Putting in
the pump and connecting it should be pretty easy.
BTDT. One option (worked for me):
1. Get a decent quality pump (submersible, whatever)., with float-
2. Get/rent/borrow a hammer-drill and drill holes to outline a hole,
say 8-12" larger in diameter than the pump, in the slab at the low
say 1' from the wall (footings); clean out hole down to a depth of,
3. Mix up some stiff mortar mix, get rubber gloves, and apply mortar
make stable sides for hole. If any drainage channel in the area, leave
4. Place pump in hole; run pipe (plastic is simplest) with
couplings, outside house (not to sewer!) maybe even with some garden
hose coupled on, so it drains away from house.
5. Plug it in and relax; you'll relax more if it has battery backup.
6. See what you can do to make sure gutters drain away from house, of
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