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Old 10-31-2011, 12:57 PM   #1
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Sump pump and elderly parents


Looking for suggestions. I am 1800 miles away while my parents, in their 80s are weathering out the noreaster in CT without power. They won't go to a hotel and are constantly afraid to travel because of the stupid sump pump. Power goes out and the finished basement will flood. Their generator is old, but even a new portable would only last as long as the gas tank and wouldn't start automatically. Dad is afraid to fall asleep in case the generator dies.

I know one solution would be a full backup generator on LP (no natural gas line - oil heat), but with a tank, the installation and the electrician, it would probably run $10k+. I can't believe these are the only options. What do others do? I can't float $10K, but would drop up to $3k in a second to solve this issue.

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Old 10-31-2011, 01:22 PM   #2
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Sump pump and elderly parents


Totally stressful situation to be in for your folks. Find somebody with one of those site scope things and see if they have any natural fall from the footings at all. You only need a few inches for success. If there is then dig down to the weepers at one corner of the house. T in more drainage pipe and trench it and daylight it to an appropriate site. Gravity will take care of it.
Best of luck

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Old 10-31-2011, 01:35 PM   #3
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Sump pump and elderly parents


Not knowing what they have for a generator now, and with the primary concern being the sump pump, the first thing that comes to mind is to see what is available in a smaller generator that might have enough fuel capacity to at least let you dad sleep through the night. A battery operated float alarm might help in regard to him getting some sleep as well. Also, if they are on municipal water, you might check into a water powered pump.

Last edited by DexterII; 10-31-2011 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:46 PM   #4
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Sump pump and elderly parents


The system was set up for gravity but it doesn't keep up.

The generator they have is an antique. Well water, not muni.

The only critical item is the sump pump. Freezer and fridge would be nice, but not critical and could also be done by a smaller unit. Are there automatic start options on smaller generators? It would be nice if it was a setup that would last 5-7 days.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:01 PM   #5
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Sump pump and elderly parents


Someone else will be along that can help you with the generator questions. Is the drainage pipe clogged at the daylight end. Mine worked great last fall, but this year my sump was running a lot until I figured out this configuration requires on going maintenance. Its amazing how a few leaves and a bit of overgrown grass can block the whole process. Perhaps a neighbour could check it out for them
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:05 PM   #6
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You would have to do some research, but I doubt that you will find a small, comparatively fuel efficient unit that starts automatically, plus you then have a battery to maintain. Again, it would require some research, to ensure that you had one large enough to run the pump, but, although I don't have personal experience with them, I was thinking of one of those compact camp size units. The output is less than some of the larger ones, which would seem to translate to less fuel consumption, and easier starting, but they probably have a proportionally smaller tank too. Just throwing it out as something to think about. Also, if he doesn't have them, you may want to send, or pick up the next time you are there, a couple of 2-1/2 gallon gas cans; I know that there are days that I would appreciate having them instead of 5 gallon cans, and I'm not 80 yet!
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:19 PM   #7
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It's a long pipe and they've had it professionally cleaned in the past and it doesn't help.

Having a small portable that you have to refill with gas every few hours amd self start is not really the solution I was looking for. If he could check the battery before leaving for a week or two, it would come on automatically if needed and run 5 days without refueling, that would be ideal.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:21 PM   #8
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Sump pump and elderly parents


I would have someone check on it hourly or no more than two hours, if their area is known to flood, due to high water table. I would go no more than every four hours in checking the basement. If the sump has not ran for quite a while, and the well has not filled up during the week before the storm, still check the house for security at least four to eight hours, for safety sake.

Most areas are getting their power restored quicker than expected, due to the information that is being put out, is by POCO's using previous information from power restoration, and the "book" that is used, looks at the contingency that mutual aid companies had their units staged before the storm. They saw this coming at least 36 to 48 hours before it happened, and we had crews from our city utility already rolling that way, before first snow fall.
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:34 PM   #9
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Sump pump and elderly parents


I priced standby generators in upstate NY and a 7500 watt propane(100 gal tank) generator installed was between $4300 and $4900 installed. Transfer switch, permits. The whole thing.
What size generator was specified?
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:13 PM   #10
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Ron,

How long was it expected to run on 100 gallons? That would be about right. I was seeing 10kW generators at about $3500, a 500 gal tank was about $1500 ($2500 to fill it) and I figured double equipment for install. If I can get it done for what you were quoted, I might just do it for them.
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:09 PM   #11
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Sump pump and elderly parents


If they are on city water and sewer---look into a water powered sump pump.

City water turns a turbine --turbine spins the pump ---used city water goes into the sewer---sump water goes outside.

No electricity at all---
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkergetx View Post
Ron,

How long was it expected to run on 100 gallons? That would be about right. I was seeing 10kW generators at about $3500, a 500 gal tank was about $1500 ($2500 to fill it) and I figured double equipment for install. If I can get it done for what you were quoted, I might just do it for them.
How long it runs, depends on the load you put on it.
The customer never pulled the trigger on the job, so I have no, "mpg"'.
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:12 AM   #13
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Sump pump and elderly parents


maybe you could do like a couple 12 volt car batteries, a solar panel and a 12volt sump pump with a float as a backup system.
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:32 AM   #14
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Thanks Ron. I am no electrician, so I have no concept of 50% load, the way generators are rated. Is that a good average?

I repeat - well water - not city water. They built 50+ years ago when it was very rural.

Like the solar panel idea except for snow, which is what they have now.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:29 AM   #15
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walkergetx, do they have a high water table; what is the rate of flow into the sump, between cycles of the pump now?

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