Take a peek behind the scenes and learn all about sump pumps! #sumppumps #plumbinglife #trainingmoments

Watch our Video and You’ll Learn:

  • How To Replace A Sump Pump.
  • Learn How Sump Pump Works.
  • Learn Everything About Sump Pumps And How It Works.

Listen To The Audio

Enjoy this transcript below!

Trainer: I’m not going to want to be standing right there. That’s not the right spot for me.
What’s a sump pump do?

Sebastian: Take away the bad water.

Cole: From where?

Trainer: What’s bad water though?

Sebastian: It takes water that goes into your basement.

Trainer: Through the what?

Student 1: It’s like a…

Student 2: The foundation?

Cole: So there’s pipes that go into the sump basket. What are those pipes called?

Student 1: Isn’t it from your yard?

Trainer: Drain tile.

Cole: Drain tile, yes.

Trainer: So you build the house, you wrap it in drain tile. If there’s any potential water coming in, right? Because you don’t want it to come up into your basement and you put the drain tiles underneath the concrete and it dumps into a sump basket.

All the water, all the basements you guys are in, if you ever see a basket, with a black lid, that’s your sump basket. That’s where all the drain tile leads to. Some houses don’t need a sump pump. My house don’t have one. I’ve got drain tile. I’ve got a basket, but I literally sealed it off.

Sebastian: I was going to say my house, in Minneapolis, I don’t think there’s many sump pumps.

Trainer: No, there’s not, there’s not. But in all of the suburbs, there is. Some of my neighbors have theirs that are running 24… seemed like 24/7.

Sebastian: High water table content in a lot of houses, springs.

Trainer: Yes, springs, natural springs will be spitting water into their basement constantly. So hence the sump pump. Before we get to that, let’s explain a little bit about the pump, Cole.

Cole: Anybody know what a sump pump is? How it works? What it does?

Student 2: This is Cole’s corner.

Trainer: This isn’t Cole’s corner. This is just sump pump talk. Nick, journeyman plumber?

Student 2: Yes Nick, What’s it do?

Nick: Water go out.

Trainer: Oh, Jesus, you all are killing me.

Student 1: An actual basket.

Trainer: Somebody plug that cord in. We’ll show you what a sump pump does.

Student 1: So does it only suck up water when.

Student 2: They’re powerful.

Trainer: They are powerful. So right now it’d be spitting water outside the house. And you can see the baskets, getting empty, draining way down. There’s a little float right there. Now that it’s empty, the float turns off. And I mean, that’s the gist of it. They’re very simple. As the water fills up, it’ll turn the float on. It will pump the water out of the house, rinse and repeat.

It seems very simple, but they’re also very important because if that doesn’t turn on, or something gets stuck in the float or something fails, if the power goes out… just kick this guy off… if the power goes out and your pump, doesn’t let you know that the power’s out, you could have major damage.

Our pump, this is our second pump, we have just the basic replacement, and then this one that will give you the alerts. Yes, there’s a basic pump. As you can hear, that one… we disconnected the power, so that one’s going to tell us, “Hey, hey, homeowner. You don’t have power to your sump pump.” And it also has a wifi module that you can hook up to it… there you go, that’s better… so it could send you alerts via email.
Usually, people don’t know a lot about a sump pump until they have water damage. And then they realize sump pumps are pretty important.

So they’re rather inexpensive. One of the biggest things we see in the wintertime is a lot of people put these hoses that Cole’s got there, on their sump pump, to get the water away from the house a little bit more, which is fine. It works. That’s great. But you have to disconnect that in the winter because that’ll freeze. And then the pump will turn on. And sometimes… which happened to me once this… the boot will break loose and it’ll just start pouring water all over your basement. And other times it’ll just stop the pump from pumping. And if it stops the pump from pumping, the water is going to go somewhere and that’s going to be all over your basement.

So questions about a sump pump. Yes, inside is always going to be glued PVC. That’s what we use as plumbers. Right? You’ll see some pretty hacked up stuff.

Student 1: Inch and a half.

Trainer: But inch and a half PVC.

Student 1: Old homes have it.

Sebastian: So there’s no exception.

Trainer: Copper, three-quarter copper, I’ve seen.

Sebastian: Three-quarter copper, yes.

Trainer: You can’t reduce these things down. Can you? Sure. Should you? No, never. They do have a check valve on them, so right? It stops. There’s still water above it. So it’s going to want to come down. This check valve is going to lock.
And the most important thing that I figured out the hard way, with these, is you have to drill a hole. This one got it. Oh, there it is. You have to drill a little hole because when this check valve shuts, it’s going to lock everything up. Right? And there’s water in there. And the pump won’t turn on now because it’s locked up. So you drill this little hole, eight-inch hole at an angle, up, like that, so that this little bit of water can dump back into the basket.

Student 2: Check valve.

Trainer: Check valve. Yes. So water can only go one way.

Student 2: One way.

Cole: Biggest thing if you replace the sump pump, don’t take the pipe off right here because this is the check valve. So all this water going to outside the houses with water in it. So you take that off, you’re going to get sprayed like I did earlier.
Trainer: So give just a basic, you’re there, their pumps not working and you’ve got to change it, Cole.

Cole: Basically unplug the old one.

Trainer: Pretty important.

Cole: You always take the clamp off on the bottom side of the check valve, put your pump out of the way. I usually stick the screwdriver up there to open it slowly, so it doesn’t splash all the water down into the basket.
Once the water is out, then I remove this check valve and then I put a new check valve back on, grab my pump, make sure I have my airlock hole, hook it all back up. Make sure you get this band on all the way. Make sure you get your hose clamp nice and tight.

Always check all of them. And obviously that one goes out. Plug it in. If there’s no water in it, grab buckets of water and make sure this floats kicking on and off, and working properly and exiting outside the house before you leave. That’s really all there is.

Trainer: So that PVC… I’m going to have to play devil’s advocate for a minute because no one else is speaking up… that that doesn’t come with the pump?

Cole: This does not come with the pumps. We just have it pre set up with the inch and a half nail glued to it. Most of ours are just the threaded female fitting.

Student 1: So does the pump have to go all the way to the ground?

Cole: Usually just sits at the bottom of the basket. This one has little feet. That’s a little guard so the rocks don’t get in there. If you’re in a really sandy situation or their drain tile has been compromised or cut open, and there’s a lot in there, they do make a platform for these. Or you could just use a landscape block, keep it an inch and a half, two inches, off the bottom. So it’s not sucking all that slurry up in there.

Trainer: And that’s an inch and a half threaded fitting.

Cole: Yes.

Trainer: Every pump that I know of, that’s how they go on.

Cole: Pretty much. Yes.

Trainer: This connection right here.

Cole: Always use your PVC pipe in the house. And then if you want to exit it out further outside, hook your flexible hose on, but obviously remove in the wintertime. Otherwise, you’ll be calling us.

Trainer: So normally it’s hard pipe PVC, stick it out about a foot past the house. There’s no code. It can be by a… don’t blow it right on an air conditioner. Right? Use a little bit of common sense, but it can go anywhere. You can terminate it anywhere in the house. We’ve got the good, better, best, right? Or unless you’re in a huge, huge house our basic pumps are going to work for everybody.

Student 1: Okay.

Cole: And then our are good, better, best, our first option is actually half horse. But our better option of the pro series pump is only a third horse, but it has more head pressure and kicks out more gallons per minute than this half-horse just because of the way the RPMs are on it.

Trainer: It’s a good question though.

Student 2: Okay. So you can always have that discussion with the homeowner as well.

Trainer: Yes.

Sebastian: If you have a very long run and you want to jump it up a size slightly.

Trainer: But I mean most are basements you’re in, right? They’re going up and out. It’s a very short run. That’s just the way our…

Cole: 26 feet of max head pressure.

Student 2: Okay.

Trainer: Which means 26 feet up.

Student 2: Okay.

Trainer: And you shoot it out the roof. Obviously you wouldn’t want to do that.

Student 1: Yes.

Trainer: Actually you might, that’d be a pretty cool little… if you had consistent water and have a little fountain on your roof. So every basement you’re in today, look around a little bit. Look for that sump pump.

Student 2: You can always buy the wifi module later on, if they don’t want to buy it with the kit.

Trainer: As long as they don’t get the basic one.

Cole: This one, you can get a battery backup kit to add to it down the road, if they want a battery backup. This one you can not, this is what you see is what you get. This one, you can add the battery backup. Or if you want battery backup right away, we have this in a combo, so you get two pumps and a battery.

Student 1: Okay.

Trainer: And again, you’ll find people… once they have damage, they’re instantly a battery backup person, right? Because what happens when the storm comes and the rain’s coming in hard and the power goes out.

Student 2: Battery backup combo kits are about the price of your insurance claim, on top of all the work.

Trainer: Right, right. It’s cheaper than your insurance deductible, to get a new one with a battery backup.

Sebastian: How do you know if it needs to be replaced. How do you know if it’s not working? Just try it?

Trainer: Pour a bucket of water in the basket.

Sebastian: Oh. And then if it’s not sucking…

Trainer: Yes, get a five-gallon bucket, pour it in their basket. You should hear it kick on, pump the water out. There’s your check. It’s working.

Cole: Sometimes you go to a house, their whole tank is full of water, and you hit the float or you plug it in, and it just sits there and hums, but you can’t see the water level. That means it’s trying to pump but the propeller or the motor just doesn’t have enough power like it used to where…

Nick: Sometimes a propellor breaks off.

Sebastian: It just can’t do it no more.

Cole: Or there something jammed in them. I mean, if they’re an older one, they’re jammed, there’s no sense tearing apart. Trying to, “I think I fixed it.” Just get a new one and then you know you’re good.

Trainer: This is a 15-minute install, literally 15 minutes. You cut the PVC off, you take out… Or you don’t even have to cut. Right? You just take it off. You screw the new stuff onto the new one, for most cases. Always put a new… we always want you to put a new check valve on it. Right? Because we don’t want to have problems with the check valve in a year or two, because with everything, it’s a three-year warranty.

Cole: Well especially, clamp to an old pipe for 10, 15 years, you take it off, then you’re going to reclamp it to another one. You know, this is just rubber, it can wear out over time and crack. You just want to be safe. Instead of the pump kicking on, and it blows this off and then you got water in their house. So all new when you do a new pump.

Trainer: So Sebastian, do you take the top or the bottom off?

Sebastian: The bottom off.

Trainer: Why?

Sebastian: Because otherwise, you’re going to make a big mess, because the water is shooting up, and it’s just going to fall back in.

Trainer: Right, because the top half is still full of water.

Sebastian: Spray all over you. Yes.

Trainer: Yeah.

Sebastian: And then take the bottom off. Then like you said, stick a screwdriver in there and make sure you open it up, drain it all. Take the bottom off and bring a new pump in.

Trainer: Set it in the basket, hook it back up.

Sebastian: Seems pretty straight forward.

Trainer: Always dump some water in it, make sure it’s working. Right?

Sebastian: Yes.

Trainer: Make sure…

Cole: And go outside too, make sure you see it flowing outside. That way you know that it’s going outside. Because some homes, I actually have one this week, this is going into their city sewer.

Trainer: Oh yes, that was a thing back in the sixties.

Cole: That was a thing back then. Or are they have a couple of valves. City sewer in the winter, and then kick the valve off to go outside in the summer. That’s a big no no. So you cap it off and divert it outside, all on its own.

Trainer: About three years ago, the city of Eagan had a list of people, and they were sending homeowners notices in the mail. Like, “Get your sump pump out of your drains.”

Cole: Most of them in Eagan back then they did this, and they did it into their laundry tub.

Trainer: Yes.

Cole: That’s all it was.

Student 1: Wow.

Trainer: You can’t do that.

Cole: You’re not going to take this and go outside. You’re going to take solid PVC and go outside with it,  joints and everything. Or if you even see it like that, let them know, even a bit, you know this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

Student 2: So if you see it like that, do you have to drill a new hole and put it outside?

Sebastian: Yes. So just look for the best route.

Trainer: Good question.

Cole: Typically it’s up and out. Sometimes you might have to go up, go across to that side of the house.

Student 1: How much you need? Like a longer one?

Cole: Of this?

Student 2: Yes.

Trainer: That never goes on the inside of the house.

Student 2: That’s only for outside.

Trainer: Unless you extend it, on the outside. Say it’s spitting out on a favorite bush.

Cole: Or it’s pouring out right here and you don’t have gutters on your house, and you’ve got a low spot, and this is the only place it’s out, that water’s going to want to go back down. You know, if their pump runs a lot. So if you put that on and you get it out to here, it’ll eventually evaporate out that way and that…

Sebastian: Just to get it away from your house.

Cole: And you got to look for that in houses too if you’re doing a new install. If they got a walkout basement, there’s no sense in drilling the hole and going out the front of the house where the elevation’s higher. You might as well go out the side of the house because the grade of the hill goes that way.

So you just think like water, where’s water going to run. I want to run my pipe here, and then the water will just shed right off the side of the house. It’ll never go back into the house. If you can get that right.
Sebastian: Does there have to be a fitting on the termination on the outside? Like a 45.

Trainer: A really good question Seabass.

Cole: No, not unless you’re going to put one of these on, right away.

Sebastian: And you need a threaded fitting?

Cole: Threaded fitting, and then there’s a clamp for this. But otherwise you just usually just stick about inch and a half PVC about a foot out of the house.
And by the time you stick it out here and that thing kicks on, it probably lands three, four feet out anyways. You know, it’s not just dumping right here.

Trainer: Good questions. Nick, any questions?

Nick: No.

Trainer: Pretty simple stuff. Right? We make water run downhill except for when we’re making it run uphill. All right. Well, that’s sump pumps 101 and 102 basically.

Again, if you have a sump pump problem, give us a call (651) 362-2622. Or look us up on the web Thanks.

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We work Monday through Friday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Saturday: 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM. After hours emergency service is available. You can find us at 3670 Dodd Road in Eagan, MN 55123 during our open hours. You can also call us at (651) 365-1340 or email us.