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Old 02-21-2014, 03:08 PM   #1
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Left sump pump unplugged in finish basement project


Hi all! So I accidentally left my sump pump unplugged while finish the drywall in my basement project. With some pretty nice rain along with melting snow, water found a way inside. We never had water issues before. What is the best way to insure we don't have mold growth? I don't think the water came in through the walls but no way to tell unless I tear out the newly hung drywall. Would a dehumidifier running over the weekend help?

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Old 02-21-2014, 04:52 PM   #2
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Left sump pump unplugged in finish basement project


Mold won't be a problem as long as temps are lower. That said, I would never finish a basement that had any water intrusion problem.

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Old 02-21-2014, 05:40 PM   #3
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Left sump pump unplugged in finish basement project


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Mold won't be a problem as long as temps are lower. That said, I would never finish a basement that had any water intrusion problem.
We've had the house for over a year before we started work on the basement. Never had an issue with water...until I left the sump pump unplugged to use the only available outlet in the basement.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:18 PM   #4
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Left sump pump unplugged in finish basement project


so the way I interpret this is that you do have water intrusion somewhere, but the pump always kept it from being a problem. Do your gutter downspouts drain away from the house? Gotta find where the issue is before you go any further.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:45 PM   #5
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Left sump pump unplugged in finish basement project


The drainage issue is the sump pump was left unplugged.....

The water has to go somewhere, if your house is on a nice hill where the footing tiles drain downhill to daylight that is ideal and you don't need a pump. If you build in a flat or low area where the tiles cannot be drained away by gravity then they must be routed to a pit so collected water can be pumped away. In this situation the pump often must keep the water table at bay.

If you leave the pump unplugged or if it quits at the wrong time you will probably get a flooded basement. Water backing up out of a disconnected pump certainly does not mean you have a drainage problem. Living in a low area my pump has to work overtime after a heavy rain, sometimes running non stop for hours. My only drainage problem is that there is nowhere else for that water to go.

The pump is there to do a job, it cannot do that if it is unplugged. A finished basement that relies on a sump pump is a ticking time bomb. You must be extra diligent to maintain the pump, make sure it works and have a backup plan when it doesn't or if the power goes out. Hopefully you finished it with the possibility of water in mind.

The most important questions are how deep was the water, what type of insulation is behind the drywall, and do you have carpet?

If you have thin carpet you must get the water pulled out with a powerful carpet cleaning machine. If you have stretched carpet with a pad underneath then it has to come up, it will take far to long to dry on its own. If you had water up on fiberglass insulation then you have a problem.

If your walls are insulated with fiberglass then you will need to open the bottom portion of the walls and remove the wet insulation and drywall. If you have closed cell foam insulation either sprayed or xps, it doesn't soak up water so you may be OK with fans and a dehumidifier depending on water depth. I have seen a few inches of water in this situation, even with thin carpet everything dried out fine. Keep the air moving, run a dehumidifier and keep that pump working.
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:10 PM   #6
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Left sump pump unplugged in finish basement project


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The drainage issue is the sump pump was left unplugged.....

The water has to go somewhere, if your house is on a nice hill where the footing tiles drain downhill to daylight that is ideal and you don't need a pump. If you build in a flat or low area where the tiles cannot be drained away by gravity then they must be routed to a pit so collected water can be pumped away. In this situation the pump often must keep the water table at bay.

If you leave the pump unplugged or if it quits at the wrong time you will probably get a flooded basement. Water backing up out of a disconnected pump certainly does not mean you have a drainage problem. Living in a low area my pump has to work overtime after a heavy rain, sometimes running non stop for hours. My only drainage problem is that there is nowhere else for that water to go.

The pump is there to do a job, it cannot do that if it is unplugged. A finished basement that relies on a sump pump is a ticking time bomb. You must be extra diligent to maintain the pump, make sure it works and have a backup plan when it doesn't or if the power goes out. Hopefully you finished it with the possibility of water in mind.

The most important questions are how deep was the water, what type of insulation is behind the drywall, and do you have carpet?

If you have thin carpet you must get the water pulled out with a powerful carpet cleaning machine. If you have stretched carpet with a pad underneath then it has to come up, it will take far to long to dry on its own. If you had water up on fiberglass insulation then you have a problem.

If your walls are insulated with fiberglass then you will need to open the bottom portion of the walls and remove the wet insulation and drywall. If you have closed cell foam insulation either sprayed or xps, it doesn't soak up water so you may be OK with fans and a dehumidifier depending on water depth. I have seen a few inches of water in this situation, even with thin carpet everything dried out fine. Keep the air moving, run a dehumidifier and keep that pump working.
Luckily no carpet was in. We've had two fans running with the window open. From the looks of it, the water did not reach the insulation as the bottom of the drywall was still dry. We will keep the fans on over the weekend. I guess it's time to invest in a sump pump alarm.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:47 AM   #7
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Left sump pump unplugged in finish basement project


drainage isn't because the pump was unplugg'd - drainage & wtr leaks ARE the problem,,, there's only so much 1 can do to ameliorate drainage issues,,, think of the bsmt as a ship's hull below the wtrline yep, even ships run bilge pumps all the time.

houses on hilltops are NOT exempt from leaking bsmts w/o drains running to daylight,,, the ' cure ' can often be just the sump tied into a properly constructed footer drainage system,,, it sounds as if the system work'd correctly but the collected wtr couldn't perk thru the sump's surrounding soil fast enough to overcome the rate of inflow - ergo, the sump overflowed.

i've often wondered how many pumps we install actually ' turn on ',,, w/o supporting data, my guess is less than 50%,,, that's only based on 35yrs experience, tho

had a customer who did the same exact thing - away for the weekend & unplugg'd the pump - no, he didn't cut the power to his stove, fridge, or clocks,,, BUT he did complain his recently installed drain system ( 4 4,500 + ) was a ripoff

had we known he was such an idiot, i wouldda hardwired the elec power so he had to hit the breaker instead Zoeller pumps NEVER turn on unless the float switch sez to,,, ping/pong ball switches aren't as reliable

we run a dehumidifier ALL the time in our atl house year 'round ! recommend you do the same

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