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robertr4836 02-12-2008 02:56 PM

Water Mystery - Sump Pump Set Right?
I bought a 14yr old house with a private well. The well is 265' deep which lead me to believe the water level was very low.

With the recent rain and snow melting I have seen a lot of standing water in drainage ditches around the property. I had two small water leaks where the foundation wall meets the slab. There has been standing water against the foundation in the leak location on both occasions.

I'm going to patch the areas with a concrete leak blocker and in the spring I plan on re-grading the foundation and fixing the gutters and downspouts.

There is a sump pump/sump hole in the basement. Based on the date of installation it was not original to the house. I have read that this is typically installed in homes with high ground water and poor drainage. The sump hole has about 4" of standing water in it. The float valve does not engage until there is about 7" or 8" of water in the hole. I ran the sump manually the other day for about five minutes. It only took a few minutes for the water level to drop to about an inch but the water was flowing just as fast into the hole through the perforations in the tube that the pump is installed in. After turning the pump off it took about five seconds for the water to come back up to the 4" mark.

Is it OK/typical to have this much water below the foundation (I have never owned a house before!). Should I let the sump run until no more water comes into the hole (or would the pump just keep running until the dry season!). If I should keep the pump running until the water is gone then is the float valve set to high (and how do I change that!).

Any help/opinions would be appreciated. I want to fix any problems before they get worse and I'm worried that my lack of knowledge/experience may cause me to either overlook or dismiss something that should be taken care of ASAP or that I may spend money/time trying to fix something that really isn't a problem!

Ron6519 02-12-2008 03:40 PM

Sump pump switches are set to a certain height. The sump itself will never be empty. This is normal. The sump pump will cycle on and off as needed to keep the water at bay.
Definitely a good plan on regrading and water control outside. You might also look into a battery backup for the pump.

robertr4836 02-13-2008 01:58 PM


Originally Posted by Ron6519 (Post 97363)
The sump itself will never be empty.

Thanks! That's a relief.


Definitely a good plan on regrading and water control outside.
I'm not doing this until spring but I may need to make a new post about it. I'm not sure if I just get a load of topsoil and fill around the foundation until I have it sloping away from the house or if I have to do something more elaborate (like using gravel or sand covered by topsoil?


You might also look into a battery backup for the pump.
I'm trying to convince my fiance that we need a backup generator for the house. Failing that I will look into something for the pump by itself.

concretemasonry 02-13-2008 02:23 PM

You never mentioned where you are, so it is hard to give you an accurate answer on some things.

The surface water you see may just be melted ice/snow or rain that cannot get into the ground because of the frost. A very common situation on many areas and you cannot do much about it until summer when you can correct bad grading.

skymaster 02-13-2008 02:32 PM

You also should check to see if your perimeter drains are working correctly. THAT is presuming you have them, would check on that also

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