How to Install a Backup Sump Pump

What You'll Need
Backup sump pump
PVC pipe
PVC pipe cutter
Measuring tape
PVC adhesive

If you're living in an area where you're more likely to find your basement or cellar flooded with water you could find yourself needing a backup sump pump. If you already have are using a primary sump pump, adding a backup pump will likely be easy for you if you have required installation instructions and the right tools and materials handy.

Step 1 – Choose Your Preferred Pump Type

In purchasing an auxiliary sump pump you'll have two types to choose from: electricity powered and water powered. When you have a good understanding of these two types of pumps, choose the one that best matches up with your needs.

  1. Electricity Powered – This pump can be a pedestal type or submersible type. Either type uses electric power and turns on automatically when water in your sump pit reaches a prescribed level. Electric powered pumps are usually less expensive than the water powered pump but create more noise when running. If you live in an area where electric power failure is likely to happen, this pump may not be the right choice for you.

  2. Water Powered – This pump operates from water pressure, rather than from electric power, but is turned on by water levels in your sump pit, just as the electric pump is turned on. The water powered pump will be connected to your house plumbing, rather than to an electric outlet. Operating speed for this pump is virtually the same as for the electric pump. It's primary advantage is that it will operate when electric power goes out. Disadvantage is the time and expense to connect it to your home water system.

Step 2 – Connect Your Pump

Connect the pump—water powered or electric—to the discharge pipe used by your primary pump. To connect the water powered pump to its power source, connect a PVC or copper pipe between the pump and a house cold water pipe. Connect the electric pump to an electric outlet when you're ready for it to operate.

Step 3 – Connect Your Pump Suction Pipe

Measure the distance between your auxiliary pump and the bottom of your sump pit. Subtract two inches. This will keep your suction pipe from becoming clogged with dirt or debris that settles to the bottom of your pit. Cut a length of PVC pipe to the length you measured between pump and pit bottom. Then attach this pipe to your pump.

Step 4 – Connect Your Discharge Pipe

Measure the distance between your auxiliary pump and the discharge pipe that your primary pump is connected to and that empties into your drain or sewer system. Cut an appropriate length of pipe and connect one end to your pump and the other end to the discharge pipe.

Step 5 – Test Your Pump

If your auxiliary pump is electricity powered, plug the power cord into an outlet. Then, fill your sump pit with water, and when your pump begins to operate, check your pipe connections to be sure they aren't leaking.