How to Install and Operate a Temporary Sump Pump to Remove Water from a Flooded Crawl Space

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A flooded crawl space is a threat to your home's structural integrity. Water accumulation can cause a diverse set of problems, including mold, wood rot, and insect infestation. That is why you should remove water as quickly as possible when it floods the crawl space of your home. Below is how to set up a submersible sump pump to pull water out of your crawl space and begin the process of drying the environment:

What you will need

Step-by-step procedure

1. Decide on a suitable location for the pump. The best spot to place the submersible pump is in the lowest area of the crawl space. This will enable you to drain more water without having to repeatedly move the pump. If the lowest spot in the crawl space isn't readily accessible for some reason, be sure to get as close as you can to that location.

2. Prepare the sump. Begin by turning the five-gallon bucket on its side and use a one-inch hole saw to drill several holes along the sides of the entire bucket, rotating the bucket as you work. Space the holes approximately three inches apart, but don't worry if the gaps aren't precise.

Next, drill multiple holes through the bottom of the bucket using a one-quarter-inch drill bit; make the spacing between holes approximately one inch. Again, precision isn't important as long as the bottom of the bucket is uniformly covered.

The last step in preparing the sump is to cover the holes with window screen mesh to prevent debris from entering the sump and causing the pump to clog or be damaged. Begin by measuring and cutting a rectangle measuring 32 inches by 15 inches from fiberglass window screen mesh. Next, wrap the piece of window screen around the five-gallon bucket, aligning it so it covers the sides of the bucket along with the holes. Use a staple gun with one-quarter-inch staples to securely attach the screen to the bucket.

Once the sides are covered, cut out a circular piece of screen mesh measuring 10 inches in diameter. Lay the piece at the bottom of the inside of the bucket and place approximately one or two inches of gravel inside the bucket so it covers the holes and screen.

3. Place the sump and pump. After you have constructed the sump from a bucket, dig a hole measuring about one foot deep and one foot in diameter in the low spot you selected in step 1. Place the sump bucket into the hole and allow it to settle into the water and surrounding mud; make the sump as level as possible to provide the best drainage.

Next, carefully lower the pump into the sump so that its bottom is resting flat on the gravel. Extend the cord outward and let it hang out of the way for the time being. Attach the female end of a three-quarter-inch garden hose to the male hose adapter on the pump; run the opposite end of the hose up and out of the crawl space in a convenient location. Be sure to place the open end of the hose in an area where it can drain well away from the home and in a lower spot than the crawl space.

4. Power on the pump. Once you have positioned the pump and its hose, the pump should power on immediately and begin drawing water from the crawl space. If you hear any grinding sounds or other strange noises, unplug the pump and check the inlets for obstructions. Don't run the pump if it is clogged or water is not coming from the end of the hose, or you may permanently damage its motor. Continue running the pump until all the water has been evacuated from the crawl space.

After you have the crawlspace cleared of water, consider hiring a professional from a company like Rite-Way Waterproofing to keep your crawlspace from getting flooded again.


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