A sump pump keeps excess groundwater and rainwater from gathering at the base of your home. Instead, the sump pump system collects the water and pumps it into your drains and away from your home, stopping water from pooling and causing damage.
Most sump pumps have a cover to help protect the system and keep it running properly. Some sump pumps don't come with a cover, and in this guide, we'll give you some sump pump cover ideas and tips to install one yourself at home.
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Why Should You Cover Your Sump Pump?
Most sump pump systems have a basin in which your pump rests. This is the bucket which water will flow into and gather in, and once it reaches a certain level, it will be pumped out of your home. Some sump pumps don't come with a cover, so you might be wondering why you even need one. There are a few key reasons:
Two Types of Sump Pump Covers
There are two main types of sump pump cover, and the one you need will depend on where you live and where your sump pump is located. Here's a quick breakdown:
Radon is a gas that comes from the soil and can be hazardous to humans. This makes them a particular problem in your sump pump system as it’s so low down in your home any cracks mean it can seep in. A radon cover will help stop this from happening by preventing the gas from flowing upwards. You can buy specific radon covers or attach a piece of plywood to the top of your sump pump to achieve the same effect.
Airtight covers offer more protection to your sump pump by blocking any debris from flowing into your system. It also helps prevent moisture from seeping back into your home and stops odor from spreading. This type of cover is best for those who live in wet conditions and suffer from mold or mildew.
Materials For Sump Pumps Covers
The material you use for your sump pump will impact how effectively it works. There are 3 main options to choose from, each with its pros and cons:
Plexiglass offers resistance against odor, moisture, and radon gas. This type of cover is usually sealed to the concrete and gives a high level of protection. However, the downside is that it's a more challenging material to use yourself, making accessing the sump pump quite tricky. We normally don't recommend DIYers use plexiglass as their cover, but many contractors will use it.
A plastic sump pump cover looks like a giant bin lid and works well. Good quality plastic will protect the system from debris and stop odor and moisture from getting out. If you get the right plastic cover, you should be able to slide it on and off the top of the sump basin easily enough, so access isn't an issue. This is usually what pre-made branded covers are made from.
Wood is a cheap and easy way to provide a seal to your sump pump, but it can be difficult to remove depending on how you install it. The downside of wood is that it's an organic material, so mold and bacteria can grow on it. This is the simplest material to use for a DIY sump cover.
How To Hide Your Sump Pump (DIY Sump Pump Cover Ideas)
No matter how good your sump pump cover is, you don't really want to see it. Sump pumps aren't designed to be aesthetic pieces, so if you can find a way to hide them from sight, it's always a plus. The challenge is always that you don't want to make your sump pump inaccessible, and some states even have codes that mean your sump pump needs an access panel. This can sometimes limit your options, but here are a few tips for how you can hide your sump pump:
Basement Sump Pump Cover Ideas
If your basement isn't used as a functional room, you'll typically have more pipes and electrical wires exposed. This isn't as big a problem if you don't use the space as much, but it risks something getting knocked or damaged if you don't protect it. A cabinet or homemade walls can help cover the sump pump and make it less noticeable.
Finished Basement Sump Pump Cover Ideas
A finished basement is used as a living space, so you don't want a visible sump pump to ruin the look. The best option is to install a small step or raised platform in your flooring so it blends into the room. You'll need to leave space for the power cable and an access panel so you can still get into the sump pump.
Outdoor Sump Pump Cover Ideas
Outdoor sump pumps are used to stop your garden from becoming waterlogged. The best way to stop this from being seen is to hide your pipes under the ground and then put a manhole or metal cover on the top of the sump pump. You should be able to lift this off to access the device, and it will protect it from the elements.
Pool Sump Pump Cover Ideas
Pool sump pumps help to drain the water from your pool quickly. Your discharge line and plumbing are usually installed underneath your pool, so it isn't visible, but you can hide the pump itself behind a wooden fence to help keep it out of the way. This will also help to reduce the noise coming from the pump.
High Rise Sump Pump Cover Ideas
A high-rise sump pump sits above the floor rather than beneath it, so it's even more noticeable. The easiest way to hide your sump pump is to put a cabinet around it, and you can even get specific models from Ikea and other brands designed for this. You should still be able to access the sump pump by opening the cabinet up, but otherwise, you won't be able to see it.
How To Install & Seal Your Sump Pump Cover
Installing your sump pump cover is usually fairly straightforward, and you should be able to do it yourself without any help. We’ve given the instructions on how to
Your cover material (plywood or plastic)
- 1Measure Your Sump Basin
Measure the diameter of the hole in the ground. This is what you need to cover, so you must make sure you have enough material.
- 2Purchase Your Material
Go to your local hardware store and pick up some plywood. This is the easiest material to use as a DIY cover, but you can shop for a proper plastic cover if you prefer.
- 3Cut The Wood
Cut your plywood (or plastic) to the appropriate size, allowing an extra inch to cover around the outside.
- 4Drill The Holes
Drill 3 holes in your lid, one for the discharge line, one for the power, and one for the venting. Make sure each of the pipes or wires can fit through the holes in the basin cover.
- 5Apply The Paint
Put the protective paint or covering on both sides of the sump cover. This will help to treat it and protect it from water damage.
- 6Place The Cover
Place the cover over the hole and pull the two pipes and the electrical cable through the hole. Use the gaskets to seal these up once they've passed through. Make sure your ventilation pipe goes all the way out of your home, as this will prevent any radon from gathering.
- 7Seal The Cover
It’s imperative that you seal the sump cover properly, or water and gas can still seep out. Place the foam sealant/gasket underneath the wood and push it down into the ground firmly until it holds. This should seal it properly, but you should still be able to lift it off easily if you need to access the pump.
- 8Check The Seal
Check all the seals around the cover and make sure it's holding in place. If you need to, you can attach the wood to the top of your sump basin with bolts, but this makes it harder to access the pump system for maintenance. Once you're confident it's all sealed, you can move on to the next step.
- 9Turn The Pump On
Plug everything in and switch it on. Watch the operation and make sure no water is leaking out through or around the cover. Hopefully it’s all working, and the cover is holding in place.
Popular Brands Of Sump Pump Covers
DIY covers are a cheap and efficient way to cover your sump pump, but it can be easier to buy a ready-made sump pump cover. These will fit more exactly over the system and make the sump pump less noticeable in your home. Here are two of the most popular brands:
Jackel offers a wide range of sump pump covers for different-sized systems. They're very durable, heavy-duty covers designed to give an airtight seal. We found their covers easy to install, and they are generally all easy to lift off so you can access the pump system. We'd recommend Jackel pump covers for any sump pumps which see a lot of use and need protection.
Lexan sump pump covers are versatile and work over a range of different pumps or drains. They have some good plexiglass covers which are moisture-resistant, contain gases, and are transparent so you can inspect the sump pump without having to remove the cover. Lexan covers are a little more expensive, but their shells are very durable. They're built to last a long time and are a good investment for sump pumps which are used regularly.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Will mold grow in my basement if I don’t have a sump cover?
Without a sump pump cover, moisture is more likely to spread into your home and cause mold to grow in your home. A cover will help to prevent this from happening.
How do you cut a hole in a sump pump cover?
The easiest way to do this is with a hacksaw or a drill, depending on the size of the hole needed.
Does a sump pump pit need to be vented?
Yes, venting your sump pump helps remove harmful gases like radon from your home. It's a legal requirement in some states to vent your sump pump system.
Where can I buy sump pump covers?
Sump pumps are essential for many homes, so it just makes sense to protect them with a good cover. You can buy a ready-made cover or make your own relatively cheaply, and it's simple to install them. Hopefully, this guide has given you everything you need so you can install your own sump pump cover.