Install a Secure Sump Pump Cover

Our TISH re-inspection is tomorrow morning, so we had to finish up our last repair item from the list. Remember this item?

1. Sump Pumps – Sump Pump lacks a secure cover.

I don’t have much experience with sump pumps, so I had no idea how the covers are typically attached. I tried googling it, but didn’t find too much. I really wasn’t sure how to approach this one.

So I sent an email to the inspector who will be doing the inspection tomorrow and asked him what he would be looking for. He said it didn’t need to be anything intense, that a few screws through the lid to hold it in place will be good enough.

“Sweet!” I thought. “This will be easy.” And I set off to get the job done.  The sump pump is located in a corner of the basement, somewhere behind all this crap:

The Sump Pump is hidden back there somewhere.

After spending a few minutes moving all the junk out of the way, here’s what the sump basket looked like. Clearly, the cover isn’t attached. It’s just kind of flopping around there. It’s can’t go anywhere, since the permanently installed pvc pipe goes right through the middle of it, but it’s still not securely attached. I’m not sure why this is a big deal – maybe something about babies falling in or something? I dunno. At this point, I’m not asking questions – I just need an inspectors signature on the line tomorrow.

The cover is not securely attached.

A little aside about sump baskets, since some of the readers might not know what they are or why some houses have them. They’re installed in houses with high groundwater. The sump basket sits flush with the basement floor, and the bottom of the basket extends about 3 feet beneath the basement floor, and it has a bunch of holes in it. The idea is that if the groundwater gets higher than the bottom of the basket (i.e. less than 3 feet below the basement floor), the basket will fill up with water before any water gets in the basement. As the basket fills, the sump pump pumps the water up the pipe and out the side of the house. If the pump can keep up with the rising groundwater, hopefully your basement stays dry. Here’s a look inside our sump basket, and you can see the pump.

Inside the Sump Basket.

It seems to me that the city code should more concerned by the fact that there isn’t an electric outlet anywhere within a 30′ radius of the pump (and the pump cord is only 5′ long…) than the cover not being secured, but whatever… I’ll tackle that project another day.

To fix it, I just used three deck screws through the lid into the basket. It should have taken 5 minutes, but on one of the holes the screw was hitting a chunk of concrete from the poorly poured floor, so I had to make a trip to the hardware store for a masonry drill bit. After that, though, it was a snap.

See the three deck screws around the edge?

Ok, well our TISH inspection is Monday morning. We think we’ve got everything crossed off the list.

1. Sump Pumps – Sump Pump lacks a secure cover.
2. Smoke Detectors/CO Detectors – Improperly located smoke detector in the basement.
3. Electrical Service Installation – Missing house side grounding clamp at water meter.
4. Water Supply Piping – Corrosion noted on water piping in areas.
5. Plumbing Fixtures – No backflow device installed at laundry tub.
6. Plumbing Fixtures – Improper air gap on toilet ballcock.
7. Exterior Pluming Backflow Prevention – missing backflow preventers on exterior faucets.
8. Electric Service Installation – Electric panel located in bathroom.
9. Electrical Outlets/Fixtures – Power mast is loose.

Wish us luck. I’ll let you know how it goes. If you read any headlines that say “Homeowner Strangles Inspector, Blames Sump Pump” you know it was probably me.

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