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Old 08-10-2009, 03:21 PM   #1
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Sump Pump Questions


First timer here, hope this all makes sense! :-)

Background:
I live in a new development, house about 3 yrs old, full basement, and have a VERY busy sump pump. It runs about every 15 mins, year round. I should have installed a backup pump a long time ago but am just getting around to it now, tsk tsk! We've never lost power at the house so I'm going to install another, standard pump (not water powered or battery). I also have a generator in the event we do lose power. That all being said, here are some questions I have. See attached pic.

1. You can't see it in the pic but there is a small (1/8", presumably deliberate) hole in the outlet pipe coming out of the existing pump. When the pump activates, it sprays water back down into the sump pit. Any ideas why something like that would be needed?

2. As the sump pit is small, I need to get creative about installing an additional pump. Any recommendations on best practices? I did note that someone on this forum suggested placing the main pump in an upside down bucket and then placing the back-up pump on top of said bucket. I fear that I just dont' have enough room in the small pit for this config but am not sure what else would work well.

As you can see from the picture, the existing check-valve is high above the current pump. I assume both pumps should have their own check valves and that the lines should join AFTER each pumps check-valve? I'm thinking of replacing the current check-valve on the existing pump with one that threads right onto the pump body (doing the same for the back-up pump) and hopefully joining the lines before arriving to the top of the pit so only one line comes up (out of the cover) to tie into the main line.

3. I've had a tough time finding consistent advice on this last question. I', hoping this group can set me straight. If possible, I'd like the main pump to NOT have to run every 15 mins. As you can see from the pic, I've pointed out the water line and noted that the pump is just about to activate. Would it make sense to raise the main pump up to allow water to backup/fill the drain tiles so as to allow the pump to run less often? Logically, I would assume that this would not be recommended as the idea of drain tile is to remove water, not store. However, I have been advised by a plumber friend to allow it to backup/fill the drain tiles so as to lesson the number of cycles placed on the pump.

As always, thanks for the excellent advice.

Jeff
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:47 PM   #2
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Sump Pump Questions


From the looks of the picture you would need a bigger (diameter) and deeper pit if you want the pump to not kick in as often (but run longer once it does kick in).

It doesn't matter whether the drain tiles extending all the way around your foundation perimeter fill up before the pump starts provided you don't get oozing up through the floor. With a small or shallow pit, the pump will exhaust the water from the pit proper and shut off before all the water filling the drain tiles flows (probably not all that fast) into the pit. A bigger pit means the pump will still be working, continuously, on the water in the bottom of the pit while the drain tiles become almost empty.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-10-2009 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:01 PM   #3
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1. The little hole is recommended when using a check valve to eliminate a possible air lock.

2. I would experiment with the water level before installing a second pump. Unplug the pump for a few hours & observe how high the water comes up. Start by setting the pump an inch or 2 below that high water mark. In my professional opinion, I would always want the water at least 6-8 inches below the top of floor. Your water level seems quite a bit lower right now.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:13 PM   #4
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silly question.... where is the discharge from the pump going? in my area it is illegall to run into the sanitary sewer has to be storm sewer. sounds to me like you're just recirculating water.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:03 PM   #5
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I wonder why the builder decided to put the sump pit right next to the water main.

One way to "Y" the backup pump into the existing plumbing is to increase the height of the reverse U, but the issue is how much time does the homeowner have to cut into the pipe and Y in before water starts filling the basement floor.

Sounds to me like the backup should have it's own dedicated discharge.

Also, since there is little head on the discharge, the current check valve may not be necessary.

Also, the most important question is why the pump is running every 15 min.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handy man88 View Post
I wonder why the builder decided to put the sump pit right next to the water main.

One way to "Y" the backup pump into the existing plumbing is to increase the height of the reverse U, but the issue is how much time does the homeowner have to cut into the pipe and Y in before water starts filling the basement floor.

Sounds to me like the backup should have it's own dedicated discharge.

Also, since there is little head on the discharge, the current check valve may not be necessary.

Agreed, this is in odd discharge (into the below floor plumbing) that I've never seen in my career.

Also, the most important question is why the pump is running every 15 min.
From the original post, I wonder if this is a multiple unit building? If it is, I think everyone else's sump pump may be set higher, unless you have the only sump for the complex? There are many factors that can lead to constant water, like the stone surrounding the water & sewer main, ground water, etc., but the picture shows ALOT of water running IMO.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
From the original post, I wonder if this is a multiple unit building? If it is, I think everyone else's sump pump may be set higher, unless you have the only sump for the complex? There are many factors that can lead to constant water, like the stone surrounding the water & sewer main, ground water, etc., but the picture shows ALOT of water running IMO.
According to the original poster though, he lives in a new development in a house.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
It doesn't matter whether the drain tiles extending all the way around your foundation perimeter fill up before the pump starts provided you don't get oozing up through the floor. With a small or shallow pit, the pump will exhaust the water from the pit proper and shut off before all the water filling the drain tiles flows (probably not all that fast) into the pit. A bigger pit means the pump will still be working, continuously, on the water in the bottom of the pit while the drain tiles become almost empty.
That makes a lot of sense, thanks.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
In my professional opinion, I would always want the water at least 6-8 inches below the top of floor. Your water level seems quite a bit lower right now.
Why would the top of the floor be a marker? Can you help me understand that? I thought the level was dictated by the drain tile. Thanks for the feedback! Interesting about the air lock issue, I figured the hole wasn't drilled there on accident. :-)
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skeeter 152 View Post
silly question.... where is the discharge from the pump going? in my area it is illegall to run into the sanitary sewer has to be storm sewer. sounds to me like you're just recirculating water.
There is so much about my house and how it was built and weird things that they did that boggle my mind. haha. The oddest was placing the main ground rod about 2 feet from the wall in the middle of the basement floor, 12 feet from the panel. Everyone here has already helped me in regards to my electrical problems though...so enough with that.

To answer your question, the pump does discharge into the storm sewer but rather than the sump being on the lowest side of the house, on the street side, the storm sewer side, the pump is on the opposite side and the discharge travels back down into the slab and then back up to the other side of the house and comes out under my porch. I should take a picture of that sometime too because it seems so odd. But then again, I'm a first timer owning a home, what do I know!
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handy man88 View Post
I wonder why the builder decided to put the sump pit right next to the water main.

One way to "Y" the backup pump into the existing plumbing is to increase the height of the reverse U, but the issue is how much time does the homeowner have to cut into the pipe and Y in before water starts filling the basement floor.

Sounds to me like the backup should have it's own dedicated discharge.

Also, since there is little head on the discharge, the current check valve may not be necessary.

Also, the most important question is why the pump is running every 15 min.
I've also wondered how much time I have. But you know, I can figure that out easily by sitting down with a good book, pulling the plug on waiting a while! Once I know how much time I have, I just better be sure to have all the right fittings. I'm anything but an expert in the area of plumbing but if I had an hour or so to goof around with fittings, I should be good to go.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the pump discharges under my porch. What I didn't mention is that it then pours into another "pipe" that supposedly runs to the storm sewer. I bring that up as several of my neighbors commented when I bought the house that I moved into the "house with the river" under it. Thankfully, we haven't had a problem in the house, yet. I imagine that the water table is really high and combining that with the fact that we are one the few houses on our block with a full basement and the ground is just about pure clay, draws the comments from neighbors who can hear it discharge all the time. I just had to laugh as I didn't notice it going off every 15 mins when we were looking at the house. Silly me. Maybe the builder had it unplugged!

What do you mean by, "since there is little head on the discharge, the current check valve may not be necessary."? Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
From the original post, I wonder if this is a multiple unit building? If it is, I think everyone else's sump pump may be set higher, unless you have the only sump for the complex? There are many factors that can lead to constant water, like the stone surrounding the water & sewer main, ground water, etc., but the picture shows ALOT of water running IMO.
Yes, single family home. I have wondered about how much water flows in but I suppose it is a sign that the drain tile is working?!??!

We've been in the house for 2 years now without a problem. Another couple good years and I'll feel confident in beginning to finish the basement. :-)
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:51 AM   #13
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Here is a video so you can get a sense of the flow.

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Old 08-11-2009, 05:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henlij View Post
I've also wondered how much time I have. But you know, I can figure that out easily by sitting down with a good book, pulling the plug on waiting a while! Once I know how much time I have, I just better be sure to have all the right fittings. I'm anything but an expert in the area of plumbing but if I had an hour or so to goof around with fittings, I should be good to go.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the pump discharges under my porch. What I didn't mention is that it then pours into another "pipe" that supposedly runs to the storm sewer. I bring that up as several of my neighbors commented when I bought the house that I moved into the "house with the river" under it. Thankfully, we haven't had a problem in the house, yet. I imagine that the water table is really high and combining that with the fact that we are one the few houses on our block with a full basement and the ground is just about pure clay, draws the comments from neighbors who can hear it discharge all the time. I just had to laugh as I didn't notice it going off every 15 mins when we were looking at the house. Silly me. Maybe the builder had it unplugged!

What do you mean by, "since there is little head on the discharge, the current check valve may not be necessary."? Thanks!
Little head on the discharge meaning the small amount of static pressure above the pump due to the short travel height of water before it gets dumped. In engineering terms, it's called head pressure.

Also, since the height is short, there's only a little amount of water that will fall back into the pit. If the pipe was long vertically, a lot more water could dump back into the pit, thus the need for a check valve.
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:46 PM   #15
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unless you live in a swamp that is alot of water coming in is your water meter spinning constantly? i think there is a fresh water leak under the slab

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