Sump pump running and running

bto24June 8, 2009

We have just recently built a new home. We put in all of the appropriate tile and a sump pump. Since we moved in, I have noticed that our sump pump runs all of the time. I have even timed it and noticed that it runs every 7 minutes. We have had a lot of rain this spring but it is beginning to seem unusual. I'm not even sure where to start researching this problem. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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This is a real problem. Not only is the sump pump consuming a good deal of electricity, but should the power go out, your potential for a serious flood is high.

The place to begin would be with the contractor who did the original foundation work on your new house. Present day techniques of foundation drains and water proofing ought to have made the use of a sump pump strictly for unusually wet emergencies, not the primary means of bailing out the cellar.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 4:21AM
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The answer to the question is in the first line of the post;

"We have just recently built a new home. We put in all of the appropriate tile and a sump pump. "

From this I conclude that the footer tile drains into the sump pit.

The post also says that they have had a lot of heavy rains.

I would suspect that the backfill around the footer has not yet fully settled and it is porous, thus allowing an exceptional amount of water to get down to the footer drain tiles. The problem should correct itself as the backfill ages and completes its settling process.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 8:21AM
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We have enough water under out house that a sump would be inadequate, it would run all the time like yours. We did a daylight drain, the drains inside and outside the foot connect and then drain away from the house to an area that is lower elevation than the house. We have a sump just in case, but we've never dropped a pump in it.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 8:31PM
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We had a similar experience in my last house. It was a new construction as well. I never really investigated it, but I suspect it was a high ground water problem. The sump pump would run often and during periods of droughts and even during the winter. The pump failed after about 6-7 years, fortunately it failed by continuously running on. I replaced it and it was still working when we moved after about 9 years in the house. A good backup system and a perhaps keeping a spare pump on hand would be a good idea. I would pursue the issue with the builder just to see if they can do anything about it. I can't say if they can or will though.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 11:48AM
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By law here, footing drains must be directed to a sump inside the house, which then is only permitted to drain back on to your own property. A neighbour up the street runs his sump pump nearly 7/24, as they say. He keeps a second pump ready to replace the first if it fails and has installed a battery backup pump as well. By contrast, the home I built next to him 20 years ago--no more than 18 feet from his--has no pump, no footing drains and no water problems.

His builder, I suspect, inadvertently tapped into an underground water source. I've done the same thing. But it was before sump pumps were required and when you were permitted to connect into the municipal storms. In that case, footers inside the basement connected with the outside footers which were connected to the municipal storm sewer.

As suggested above, things may settle down. Or they may not.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 2:08PM
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Thanks for all of the feedback.
I have another question. Can you buy a battery back up for a pump that is already installed or is a battery back up a completely new pump?
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 10:21PM
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I have a similar problem in that the pump cycles every few minutes. I also have a battery back-up pump. I was thinking about digging through the bottom of the plastic liner another foot or so in order to situate the pump lower and thereby the level of the water under the house. Anybody ever done that?
Also...on the battery operated sump, they are sold with a battery box, and you just purchase a separate marine deep cycle battery and drop it in after plumbing the sump.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 11:11AM
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hi there. i have done that and it is a back breaking process. you will be on your knees trying to dig out an area that is most like a layer of crushed stone that will give way along side your sump pit bucket. the easy way around this is to drill holes in the bottom of your current plastic pit and let the water come from the bottom and the sides. i did that with my setup and it works fine. we have had a lot of rain here in new jersey and my pumps are just starting to come on.

battery backups are essential unless you have a generator hook up to your home. i have both.

good luck,

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 11:56AM
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"But it was before sump pumps were required and when you were permitted to connect into the municipal storms."

Many places still allow dumping into the storm sewers (or even discharging into the roadway gutters, the sanitary sewers are usually the issue.

Black water has to be treated, and adding storm runoff drives up capacity requirements and costs at the sewage treatment plant.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 4:19PM
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