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Old 02-14-2007, 08:53 PM   #1
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


Hello to all-

I'm new here and stumbled across this forum when Googling for answers to a puzzling and VERY grating issue I'm dealing with. Great resource! I've already saved this board as a "favorite". Let's see if I can make a long story short:

I've got a 7 yr old house and have had "some" water issues 1-2X per year (30 gals +/-) coming in and frequent dampness. After speaking with the builder I have little doubt a high water table is the culprit.

Since the water only came in infrequently, I was hesitant to install a 10K bdry system. After researching the issue at great length and consulting with various builders, etc, I decided a few weeks ago to install a sump pit in the corner which gets wet first. I detest the whole concept of having a pump, but figured $300 beats $10K if it only works 1-2X/year. Little did I know.....

Waited till Feb, when the footing drains stopped dead, we've had no rain for awhile and the ground is frozen. Seemed the best time. Marked all out, broke through the concrete and started to dig. I got 12" down and then watched the water seem in--far faster than I ever thought possible Welcome to the water table or, if I'm real lucky (yeah...right) a pocket of trapped water.

I'd gone too far to turn back, so I got the basin in and quickly rigged a temporary pump, which now fires about every 25-30 minutes to an area I'd rather not see any water. Not much I can do, as its too cold to route it farther away due to risk of freezing.

Here's my question(s): What the happened? and how do I fix it? Until I had the bright idea of proactively protecting the foundation from intermittent water entry I didn't have a water problem of this magnitude. I am now dependent on a jury-rigged pump which pains me greatly and has rendered me sleepless every night since this started. I'd NEVER buy a house with a frequently running sump pump and here I am--with just that. I am trying to put a positive spin on this by telling myself I didn't create a problem, but uncovered one that needed to be found, yet I have my doubts and am pretty much distraught.

I've got appointments with various waterproofers like Bdry, but would like some add'l thoughts and input. Since I didn't have constant inflow before I started this, is there a way to close it back up? I'm afraid that if I try to yank the pit, scoop out the gravel and fill like crazy with concrete in an effort to return to the prior situation water inflow will undo my best efforts. I've already resigned myself to a 10-15K bill from whatever company has the best solution, which likely cannot be implemented till the spring as any eventual system would likely be routed to daylight like my footing drains.

In short, I could use some help an input. Thanks in advance to all.

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Old 02-14-2007, 09:58 PM   #2
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


The good thing is that you may have started your search/excavation at the right point and hit water.

I assume you have done all the obvious measure such as gutters, long extensions(10') and positive draine away from the house and around the exterior. I also assume you have "sealed" the floor/wall joint by opening it up and packing it with hydraulic cement (a generic product). Coating rhe walls with a product like Thoroseal also will help to minimize an wall leakage.

Often, the excavation to a home creates a lake and the access ramp for the excavator creates an additional area to collect more surface water.

Systems like B-Dry, Waterguard, etc. that are within the basement or only go down a few inches really do not have much effect ofn the water table, the hydrostatic pressure on the walls or the pressure upward on your slab.

Your best solution will be an interior draintile system at or slightly below the bottom of the wall footings. If you are lucky enough to have a block basement, you can also drain the cores of the block into the drain tile, but the joint seal works for a poured wall also.

There is no mystery, patents or licensing and franchise fees associated with this system, so you can get competitive bids from qualified contractors. Somebody has to pay for the licenses franchises and advertising.

All it takes is a trench just inside the wall, drain tile, a filter blanket and sand/gravel capped with 2" of concrete to finish the surface. An ideal system is a continuous loop to the sump, but two runs draining ro the sump is fine. For areas of high water flow, a back-up system is desireable. I installed my system with the help of my son over a several week period.

Initially a sump will run very frequently, but may decrease as the general water table reaches an equilibrium.

Do not worry if you hear your pump running. - Worry if you do not hear it running!

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Old 02-14-2007, 11:17 PM   #3
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


Gotta admit, I was cringing as I typed the initial post. My brain tells me I uncovered something that needed attention, while the rest of me screams "You idiot, did you make it WORSE??!!" In the end, and assuming I am in fact correct and not just saying this to make myself less upset, that much water could not have been a good thing and would likely have gotten worse over time, possibly causing structural damage in time.

To answer your question, I have indeed exhausted all the preliminary steps like grading, etc except one. I did not apply anything to the walls as they seldom get damp. It's always been an under the slab problem. I do have block walls, so weep holes are certainly possibile.

The main reasons for hiring others are time and amount of labor required. I found it tough to deal with a 3'x3' square. Doing that alone, on a 45'x26' foundation plus an approximately 80'-100' exterior run to daylight (assuming this is possible as appears to tbe the case--I'll do damn near anything to avoid a pump) is more than I can realistically handle, especially since the price of errors could be very high. Kills me to admit this, as I like to be independent and pride myself on being a rabid and meticulous DIY'er, but reality should not be avoided. As the saying goes, "A man's got to know his limitations". Crown moldings, trim, wiring and restoring an old motorcycle, etc are one thing. I'm in good shape, but at 40+ the thought of doing this alone is, well, too much.

If I might, is my asessment correct? Is it indeed better to deal with this rather than let it stew? Is there a way to "close it back up", at least temporarily, until a full basement solution is implemented? Would such even be recommended? I wonder if the issue might even improve on its own if indeed there is trapped water which could dissapate over time.

Again, thanks to all. Great forum here! Wish I'd stumbled across it sooner. Hopefully I'll be able to return the favors, so to speak, for others in the future.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:31 PM   #4
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


Got a few estimates, of which Bdry was the highest--by far. But, I like their system and warranty. Seems substantially better than they other area companies. I figure the 13K expense is less than the 25-40K I'd get hit with in lower resale value for water issues.

The good news is I should have a gravity drain. The bad: the 13K check I have to write.
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Old 02-23-2007, 12:46 PM   #5
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


I to went with b-dry. Our bill was $8500. We choose to "stub up" for their fresh air system for and extra $500. the stub up in our case included the sump, sump pumb, the pipe connecting sump to the "channel" and the pipe run through the foundation wher the sump will eject water, as well as about 4' of the 4" pvc leading to the outside.
All i'm really lacking is the fan. So for 500 plus 150 (fan) i got the fresh air system instead of the 3000 they wanted.

We too told them we only wanted it if it was gravity feed. If the sumppump ever fails, it over flows into to the gray gutter looking stuff under our slab. with the rest of the rain water.

I've got pic if you want to see PM me.
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Old 02-23-2007, 12:51 PM   #6
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?








before

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Old 02-23-2007, 12:51 PM   #7
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?






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Old 02-23-2007, 05:26 PM   #8
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


My Bdry bill will be big $$- I've have a full perimeter system and a gravity drain only. It'll have to run a good 120' out, but there will be NO pumps or electricity needed. Plus, they'll hard plumb in drain lines for my water softener & dehumifier, etc. No more condensate pumps, either.

Yes, 13K is high (12.5 if only one day of backhoe needed), but their method appears to be superior. Most importantly, area real estate agents, some of which are family/friends, all say that bdry has a sufficiently good reputation that future buyers will have no qualms about buying. I figure 13K isn't so bad if it recoups 2-3X that at resale time.

Curious, though--if you have a gravity drain then why do you need a pump at all?

Here's what is also weird-- there was not one mention of the air system you describe. Not even a hint thereof. Hmmm.....

One more thing- thanks for the PM. I apparently cannot respond as I do not yet have 20+ posts. I'm on several boards and this is a new restriction to me. Weird.....

Last edited by jws3; 02-23-2007 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 02-24-2007, 09:02 AM   #9
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


Got it about the PM.

The sump pump in my picture is just part of thier "America's only FreshAir DryForever Ecosystem". When I connect a fan to it it will pull air from underneath my slab (via the drains they installed) as well as throw a small vent in my basement floor. The idea is to change out air 8-10 times a day in the basement to lower humidity. Having air pulled through their drains also drys them out, and reduces Radon which I think is really their primary goal of the "system", plus it's supposed to reduce odors in a previously wet and stinky basement.

This pics i'm posting of the literature can explain it better than me.

If I unplug the sump pump, which it is, and it fills up with water, it overflows into the drain system which gravity drains out of my house and 40 feet out into front yard.





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Old 02-24-2007, 10:03 AM   #10
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


The literature on B dry's web site makes no mention of it, nor do I find any other reference to it via a quick Google search. I'll have to ask the sales guy who came by about it.

Curious-- If you have a gravity discharge line then why bother with a pump? I'm having trouble seeing how a pump would be needed if you already have a 100% gravity discharge. I won't even have one--or a sump for that matter. The design calls for a 100% gravity system which requires no electricity or anything else. The other good part is the hard plumbing access for water softener, A/C and dehumidifier discharge into the line.

Excellent documentation, btw. It was your pics and thread I found via a Google search that led me to this board in the first place!
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Old 02-24-2007, 10:46 AM   #11
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


Yeah I was curious why install a sump and pump as well. The answer I got from the salesperson was pretty much that the have designed a standard system, the fresh air deal. It can be purchased and installed by itself. If that was the case they need a way to gain access under the foundation. They best way to do that, from inside your home is to instal a sump. In the pictures you'll notice one pipe that goes from the sump to the surface of my basement floor. With that installed and connected to the sump if it filled with water it could flood you basement since you effectively have a hole in your floor. So they put in a pump and ejection pipe.

O.k. so this is their system, and they always install it like that, so they just installed it the way they always do.

Additionally, we only had the system installed in 2/3 of our basement. Since the drains were installed to gravity drain, if in future I decide I want the rest done, It would be difficult to add on, because you know how the workers are, they put it just deep enought to drain now, not in the future if I add on 50 more feet. So if I added 50 more feet it would most likely dump into the sump and get ejected.....

I'm just happy that it all can work as is without the pump, that was my requirement, and happy I paid the $500 for the "stub up" vs. $3000 for the stub up, a fan, and $30 more worth of pipe....
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Old 02-24-2007, 10:48 AM   #12
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


oh yea, it was thourghly explained in the DVD the sales guy showed us, did you see that?

It also might not really be applicable to your situation.
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Old 02-24-2007, 11:06 AM   #13
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


it looks good. I understand the thought process a bit better now. I still wonder if it's a Bdry product or something else. I specifically mentioned radon to my salesman and he said there are companies out there who can deal with it if I have an issue. Hmmmm......

I just wish it didn't cost so much, but what can I do? I am not about to excavate that much all by myself. They'll have a 5 man crew working 4-5 days and a backhoe. It would take me.....years. Not worth it. Plus, the Bdry name is so well regarded in my area that future buyers will be put at ease, especially w/o a pump.

Again, thanks for your time and imput. Much appreciated!

One more thing- Got your PM. I had already mentioned a neighbor who has the system. Sorry........ I'll mention you as you and see what they say.

Jim

Last edited by jws3; 02-24-2007 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 02-24-2007, 11:26 AM   #14
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


No it's deffinately b-dry, i called the number on the brocheure just to be sure, this is the back page, i didn't post it eariler...

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Old 02-24-2007, 12:57 PM   #15
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Stumped: Basement water and fix- Did I make things worse?


the salesman--not even a hint of it. Maybe it's a regional thing? I live in what I call the "People's Republic of New York". You got me curious- I need to ask this guy about it as it looks like an interesting idea to deal with humidity-sort of like a "Humidex" device. Great idea you had on doing the end work yourself. I always thought Bdry was overpriced, but in my area it's reputation is so good that it becomes worth it. I'm having a full perimeter system and a 120' gravity discharge. If only I would have thought of this BEFORE the house was built.......

I wonder if the prices are the same across the nation. Seems that eveything is higher here in NY. Born & raised here and I can't stand it- Too cold and the taxes are astronomically high.

Jim

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