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Old 01-04-2010, 11:12 AM   #31
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


ahhhh... ok, I'm understanding the "water table" and sump pump after doing a little reading last night. As far as standing water, while I understand there should be some, I was also reading that having too much in the pit will cause humidity issues in the basement, or backed up water will cause water to seep into the basement floor or through the wall (it's old clay weeping tile around the house).

I sat around the pit for a bit last night to watch it rise (not the most exciting). I noticed a few mosquitos in one of the drains...so I got rid of them...I guess they found a good place to hibernate with standing water. After buying the house earlier this year, I was doing renovations all summer so bugs got in easily. Thankfully I've gotten rid of a lot...and the house is really clean.

The reason I ask about the pump is that I plan on turning that room into my theater... so I may make a new cinder block wall inside that room should the pump ever overflow, the water will rush into the laundry room area rather than damaging the room, or, keep the pump in the room... neighbours say that they never get flooded, especially with a back up pump and a generator should we ever lose power...

...hmmmm...

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Old 03-13-2010, 04:08 PM   #32
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


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Originally Posted by emre View Post
I have never seen water coming from the drain tile pipes. The water is coming quickly from the bottom of the pit which apparently has holes. I can see some bubbling at the surface of the water while it is going up. The rise will slow at about 10", and eventually stop at 13" right below the drain tile pipes.

This happens when we get rain, the sump pump will cycle about 4 times in a minute. Otherwise, depending on the season, it could cycle anywhere from couple times in an hour to far apart in a week in dry conditions.

I don't mind having water in the pit at 13" instead of 3". My concern is the hydrostatic pressure and the damage that would result to the slab or the footing of the house. I have also seen in another house moisture at the joint of the slab and foundation walls from having a sump pump set too high.

It sounds like that it might be fine let the water rise half way in the pit, at about 12" from the bottom of the pit, that would leave the water below the drain tile pipes and at 12" from the top of the pit.
I am having the same issues and I have an idea of what I want to do, and I thought I would ask around.

For my situation, I have two pits and each of them have holes at the bottom where ground water is always running up. My pump runs all the time and right now it's raining, so it's pumping about once a minute to 90 seconds. I bought this house last year and this isn't normal, so I'm wanting to fix it this year. There was a period last year where we got no rain for 3 weeks, yet my pump was running once every 30 minutes. On average, it's about once every 5-6 minutes.

I have a submersible Zoeller pump and the float is not adjustable. I just measured the water level in the backup pit and it's at 14". I'm going on a limb here to estimate that the water level is about 11-15" at any given time. The problem is that the pump is lower than the natural water level, hence why it runs all the time. The pit is about 24" deep.

Here is what I have:

Code:

    backup pit          primary pit

|                |   |                |
|              |"|"""|"|              |
|              |_|___|_|              | drain tile
|                |   |              |"|""""""""""""|
|----------------|   |--------------|_|____________|
|  water level   |   |                |
|                |   |                |
|                |   |                |
|                |   |___________,O_up|
|     ,----.     |   |     ,----.     |
|    |backup|    |   |    |prmary|O dn|
|_ _ |______| _ _|   |_ _ |______| _ _|
  ^ ^        ^ ^       ^ ^        ^ ^
holes




In the illustration, my drain tile sits around the resting water level. And if I turn off the pump, some water drains back into it. With the primary pump, you can clearly see that the natural water level is well above the pump. My pump tries to keep the level between the "O"s where I have labeled it up and dn. So I keep getting water entering from the bottom constantly and it's a losing battle. That's why it runs all the time.


Here is what I want to do.

1. Get an adjustable float switch.
2. Take the pump out and plug up the holes on the primary pit only.

Will this work?

Questions:
1. How should I adjust this? From above the drain tile just before the water spills to the other pit. And where should I set the bottom? Below the water level or go much lower (and let the ground water fill back up)?

2. Is it safe to plug up the holes on the primary pit. The holes may have been put there for a reason, and I figure if I only do one of the pits, then I shouldn't worry too much as the backup pit will still collect the water. Will the water level rise in the backup pit?

3. What type of float switch should I get? Tethered? Vertical? And if tethered, single or double? Or does it not matter? Will plugging the holes do the trick?
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:39 AM   #33
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


March 2010. Now I am convinced. Set the pump turn on at the level where the water just goes above the bottom lip of the lowest drain tile pipe feeding the pit. You can go a little higher if that greatly reduces the amount of pump running but the drain tile openings should be mostly above water.

The turn off should be as low as is practical.

The idea is that the drain tiles should not be full of water between pump starts. Otherwise more wicking of water into the soil above drain tile level all along the path of the drain tile (perimeter of the house) will occur. The scientific description is that the water table all along the perimeter does not get artificially lowered as much.

Do not plug the holes at the bottom of the pit.

Trying to keep the water level in the pit well below the level of the drain tiles will have no effect on the water table more than a few feet from the pit unless the soil (or sand) under your house is unusually porous.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 03-14-2010 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:18 PM   #34
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


I have a built in vertical float switch on my pump. I have something like this (I think):
http://www.zoellerpumps.com/ProductB...x?ProductID=89


I saw a tethered float, but it works differently that I thought. I wish I could set the pump on to turn on around 13" high. Putting a stack of bricks 10" high seems impractical and unstable. Plus all the extra displacement with all those bricks.

Anyhow, you say plugging the holes is a bad idea, but is it still a bad idea if I just do it for the primary and keep the holes on the backup pit which will still allow the ground water to rise?

You say I shouldn't keep the water level above the drain tile, but also keeping the water level well below the drain tile level will have no effect.

If I raise my pump about 3 inches, it's still going to pump excess ground water.
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:00 AM   #35
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


All pumps have an ON level and an OFF level. This means it will turn on when the water gets to a certain height and will turn off at a certain depth of water.

Your situation sounds normal. To test your pump, run a garden hose inside the sump well. This also helps clean out any debris that may have built up.

You can drill holes in the sides and base of you sump pump container to let the water seep out into the ground when the water table drops back down.

Your pump will eventually break or wear out though. Instead of worrying about it, have a backup sump pump installed. These can run on regular electricity and/or an automobile size battery in case your power goes out.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:03 AM   #36
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


How long does it take for the water to rise each inch from the turn off level?

If it takes a short time to rise the first inch and a long time to get from one inch below the drain pipe to actually reach the drain pipe then setting the turn on level far below the drain pipe can result in much more pump running.

Now if the rise time per inch is short all the way up until the drain pipe ends are submerged, and then the rise is much slower, then you have a dilemma. IMHO is is better to let the pump run more often rather than let the drain pipes become full for long periods of time. In a few cases you can compromise by setting the turn on level when one of the pipe ends is half submerged.

After choosing a turn on level, let the system run for at least two days of dry weather, for the entire foundation and perimeter drain system to stabilize, before deciding that the pump still runs too often.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 03-16-2010 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 03-20-2010, 09:36 PM   #37
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


Thanks for taking the time to try to help me with my problem. Like I said before, my pump runs all the time pumping water. Rain, sunshine, snow, whatever. It rained a half inch on Sun, Mar 13th and it's been sunny and dry since then. My pump is now running every 23 minutes. On Wed, it was about every 6 or 7 minutes. Yesterday it was around 15-18 minutes. We are due to get rain tomorrow, so it will go back to pumping every 2-3 minutes soon.

I did an experiment and I have determined that I'm NOT going to plug the holes. The water level in the backup was about 12.5 inches on Wednesday night, NO water was dripping in, I turned off the humidifier, and I unplugged the primary sump pump.

I woke up 5 hours later in the morning and went to go check. The water level rose up to over *16 inches* in the backup and the water level submerged the pump and into the drain tile. Why did it rise with no water coming in? I have no idea.

I plugged the pump back in and it pumped the water out. Afterwards, the water level went back down to 12.5 inches in the backup. It's still at 12.5 inches.

I know the following:

1. The primary pump *is* actually doing something to fight the ground water from going up. Plugging the primary holes will stop the primary pump from running, but the water level will keep rising. It'll eventually spill back in the primary pit and will solve nothing.

2. With no rain, why would the ground water level continue to rise? If my house was built on a spring, the water level should rise at a constant rate. But it's not.

I'm starting to think it's one of two things. I got a ton of ground water and maybe one of the storm drains may have a crack in it leading to excess ground water. The storm drain runs between my house and the next door neighbor, so that's a possibility. I'm built on a hill, but I still get excess water.

All I know right now is that I have a VERY SHAKY situation if my primary pump were to fail. The backup battery pump would run, but I would have to get another primary pump PRONTO, because it would run constantly and burn itself out quickly.

One other idea I'm going to try is work around the sidewalk. One of my gutters spills water on the sidewalk. And there appears to be gaps along the grass and sidewalk lines. I'm going to redirect this to the driveway. After that half inch of rain, it took 3 days until the water completely stopped dripping from the drain tile.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:37 AM   #38
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
March 2010. Now I am convinced. Set the pump turn on at the level where the water just goes above the bottom lip of the lowest drain tile pipe feeding the pit. You can go a little higher if that greatly reduces the amount of pump running but the drain tile openings should be mostly above water.

The turn off should be as low as is practical.

The idea is that the drain tiles should not be full of water between pump starts. Otherwise more wicking of water into the soil above drain tile level all along the path of the drain tile (perimeter of the house) will occur. The scientific description is that the water table all along the perimeter does not get artificially lowered as much.

Do not plug the holes at the bottom of the pit.

Trying to keep the water level in the pit well below the level of the drain tiles will have no effect on the water table more than a few feet from the pit unless the soil (or sand) under your house is unusually porous.

I'm wondering if this is my issue. My drain inlet is only about 6" above the bottom of the sump pump basin. The water level goes well above this in the basin before the sump pump turns on. I get a fair amount of seepage when it rains hard, and I've tried so many other things.

So you think that by making my sump pump basin deeper this should take care of my issue? Thanks so much in advance....I've tried nearly everything.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:26 PM   #39
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


A deeper pit will not reduce the total amount of water pumped but it can improve the timing, namely achieve fewer pump starts and longer runs between starts.

Particularly if your pump start point is set above where water starts to accumulate in the perimeter drain pipes, a small pit may result in the pump stopping while the drain pipes are still pouring (not that fast) into the pit. A few minutes later the drain pipes have emptied out but the pit is now half full again.

With a larger and/or deeper pit, the pit is not emptied out that fast (time wise) and by the time the pump stops, the drain pipes should have finished emptying themselves into the pit giving the pit a clean slate.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:39 PM   #40
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


My sump pump pit is fairly deep, gets pretty full before the pump kicks on, which equals quite a bit of water.

My question has more to do with the tile drain inlet pipe being completely submerged. I'm wondering if the seepage that I get has to do with this inlet being submerged actually raises the artificial water table around my house causing the seepage. The inlet can get roughly 12-18" submerged before the pump kicks on.

Just wondering if lowering my pit to never allow the inlet pipe to get submerged might stop my seepage issue. Thanks so much in advance!
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:07 PM   #41
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


You should get less seepage about the basement if you set the pump to come on long before the drain pipe ends are submerged.

Digging the pit lower helps here so that there is also enough of a volume of water for the pump to work on so as not to get frequent short starts and stops.
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:07 PM   #42
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


I fixed a lot by moving one of the gutters away from the sidewalk and towards the driveway. Now I don't get the every 3-5 minutes of pumping. It's been cut to about every 25 minutes. When we got some torrential rain, my drain tile wasn't spilling water.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:38 PM   #43
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


i have water comming from boiler room drain when i wash cloths
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:42 PM   #44
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


We installed a new sump pump today, the water level is about 7 inches lower than before and the pump runs every 2 - 3 minutes. Once the water goes out, it raises from the bottom again, the pump kicks on and the water level will drop about 3 inches and start all over again. This is not the first pump we have installed; we put on in about 8 years ago and everthing went fine. Any sugguestion?
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:20 PM   #45
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Sump pump pit water level --- problem


Readjust the floats and switches.
1. So it turns on when the first drain tile opening into the pit has just begun to get submerged,
2. So it turns off when the pit is as empty as possible but not requiring the float to hit bottom, which could result in unreliable shutoff. (If you set the turn off so low that the pump starts to suck air, that will also cause unreliable shutoff.)

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