Sump pump Q's

blue_velvet_elvisMarch 5, 2007

We hit a water table under our basement when we added it. We have a nearly constant water drain from the tiling around the house to the sump pump.

A. ) will this ever improve?

B.) with the sump pump going off once or twice an hour, how long will it last?

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A) No, unless another home is built nearby which is lower and has a pump.

B) Forever. I suggest a good back-up pump to cover you during power failures - or better yet a self starting generator so you can take a vacation.

This sounds to me like a very unfortunate situation. I suspect your property is on low terrain. Water runs downhill even underground and if your basement is at the water table there is nothing I know of to correct the condition.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 6:23AM
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I had a high water table problem with my last house. I opened the pit and could see the water trickling in. My sump pump ran one or twice an hour like yours. It even ran often during winter and summer droughts.
I was in this house 9+ years and saw no improvement. I agree with fnmroberts and suggest getting a backup. My main pump wore out after about 5 years.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 8:33AM
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We did purchase a battery operated sump pump after the last nasty ice storm that left us without power.

DH is worried about the main pump wearing out. I was hoping we'd get the water all drained out of the land around us somehow. Probably kind of dumb :~/

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 7:20PM
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As far as your pump goes probably better for it to run frequently than hardly ever.

Water tables usually varie with the seasons. During the wetter months they will be higher, and drier months it will lower. Sometimes this variation is slight other times it can be a huge change.

You should also do all you can to help the situation by being sure the grade slopes away from house and your downspouts are not discharging near the foundation.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 7:43PM
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I wonder if I could add a couple more questions along the same line. I had a similar problem with my basement. I installed a 3/4 HP (from Home Depot) pump after the large downpour two years ago (that slightly flooded my basement). I also put in a battery back-up when I finally finish my basement. Just last week, after another downpour (2 inches in 8 hrs), I realize my main pump failed. Fortunately, my backup kicked in and prevented the basement from flooding.

I called in a plumber and he put in a 1/3 HP pump. Now, here are my questions:

1. I realize that the pump has been on very often (prob every 10 mins) (both the new and old one before it died). Is this normal?

2. Is 1/3 HP sufficient? My basement is about 900 sq feet and the vertical displacement is about 10 ft.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 12:09PM
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If you have water continually draining into the sump then the pumps will come on frequently. You can check that the float is not set too low so that it takes very little rise in water level to trigger the pump. Also be sure you have or if you do that your back flow preventer is working.

As far as size I'm not sure but I know that even my little battery power pump will empty the sump in about 10 seconds

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 10:18PM
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I'm no pro, but for what its worth, when my house was built. The plumber installed a 0.3 HP sump pump.
When it came to replace it, I used the same size pump.

So basically I'm saying follow the plumber's recommendation. I think he could have sold you a larger pump if he wanted to.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 8:40AM
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Would imagine if I had a pump cycling on and off every hour, think I'd seriously consider making a bigger pit so it cycles less frequently. Pump should last longer, and it should save a smidgen on the power bill from the extra current required at start-up.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 8:41AM
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What do people know about battery back ups? We don't have a battery pump just a back up for the main pump.

I am not sure how long it will last or if I should invest in a battery operated pump to be extra safe. This is not just an esoteric conversation since we are finishing the basement as we speak.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 2:02PM
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How about considering a water powered sump pump?

Will run a lot longer than a battery backup pump will. That is if you have municipal water service.

Here is a link that might be useful: water powered sump pump

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 3:19PM
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A comment about water powered sump pumps. We have a primary and a backup sump pump...if the power goes out, the back up isn't much help! However, we have a 'water powered sump pump' also. A few years ago, in late summer, most of Michigan had a power outage that lasted almost 48 hours, and during that time, it rained! Our water powered sump kicked right in and worked like a champ. Only thing is, you want to be sure it is expelling the water AWAY from your house as your yard can get very mushy if you live somewhere flat with clay soil like we do!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 6:14PM
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We have a high water table and our sump pump runs frequently. Had to replace it once in the 16 years we have been in this house. Considered a battery powered back up, but heard they only last a few hours, and we could not find a plumber who knew how to install one(!) Around here, we can have pouring rain for a full day, so a few hours does not do much good. We do not have a wet basement, but we didn't go high end with the basement finishes, either - vinyl tile instead of Pergo and area rugs instead of wall to wall. The first foot of wall board is some special water proof stuff, so we won't lose our wallboard if the basement does get wet.

Outside is graded, and the sump pump drains well away from the house.

The water powered pump sounds like an ideal situation. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 11:55AM
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I think capnken provided a good alternative which may allow the pump not to have to run at all. Another alternative, if grading permits, along the same lines would be to go out about 10 feet from the house and add a french drain around the perimeter of the house dug below your existing drain tile. You are diverting the water so it will need to empty or be siphoned to an appropriate location. You'll need to check local and state ordinances since diverting natural water flows may require permits.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 7:30PM
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