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Old 03-31-2010, 08:32 PM   #16
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


Scuba Dave--

So when the rain stops and the ground gets dry, your pit is totally dry?

Also, so even though your pit is say 18" deep, you have your pump only go on when the water level is say at 16"? My Zoeller doesn't seem adjustable. And I have wondered why pumps are set so low in the pit, as it seems like that isn't necessary. Is there a reason that the pumps are set so far down in the pits? My Zoeller model is set to go on at 7" from the bottom (mine is on bricks so it goes on at about 9" from the bottom so about 12" from the top of the pit).
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:51 PM   #17
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


Yes...my sump pit goes dry once once the rain stops & the stream level drops
One night I check & there is water...next day its empty

Adjustment depends upon your pump
On mine the rubber stoppers are adjustable
So I can adjust when it turns off & on
My pump sits on the bottom & goes on about ~2" from the top
This gives it a longer run time (~12 min) which allows more water to be pumped out at once
Then it will shut off for a while - depending upon amount of rainfall

In a normal year due to grading, extended downspouts, 16' drain system out front & 2 river rock drainage systems the sump pump no longer needs to run


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Old 03-31-2010, 09:09 PM   #18
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


Scuba Dave--

"In a normal year due to grading, extended downspouts, 16' drain system out front & 2 river rock drainage systems the sump pump no longer needs to run"

So there are years your pump doesn't run, but then there are years that it needs to run? I'm just trying to figure out whether this is an aberration for our house and it's hard as we never looked in the pit and the old pump may have been very quiet. We've been here ten years and I know it has never run this often (it's still every 4 minutes since the storm), if much at all.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:19 PM   #19
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


No doubt the snow melt contributed. That alone got my pump running, never mind the approximate 10 inches of rain this month! I read today that the past 12 months has been the wettest 12 months ever for NJ, at least since they started keeping records (late 1800's).

I haven't timed my pump today, but judging from the giant puddle I have under my forsythia's where it's piped to, I know it's running frequently.

I have a radon system as well, so I also had to build a sealed lid for my pit. I like having the sealed lid, makes it quieter and keeps dampness out of the basement. I didn't like not being able to see or access the pump though, so I added a clear deck hatch made for a kayak to my lid. It's airtight, and I can see the water/pump since it's clear. If I need to, I can reach my arm down there and access the pump. It's just like this one:


I also didn't like the fact that since the pit is sealed, water can't drain into it from above if needed (burst pipe, failed washing machine etc..). After some research, I found one that is airtight for radon suction purposes, but when the drain is filled from above with water, it opens. It's a little pricey, but a good piece of mind knowing my basement won't turn into a swimming pool if a pipe bursts while I'm at work. Can google it (Dranjer fs2). Many radon supply stores sell them online.


Both of these things are fairly easy to add to a sump lid.

Assuming we get a decent run without precipitation for a while, I would just pay attention to your pump and see if it cycles less frequently as time goes by. It probably will.

You might want to also consider backup pumps, and/or a backup power source just in case you ever lose power, or have a pump failure in a situation where the pump "needs" to keep running. Probably not likely, but you never know. I lost power in the storm we had a few weeks ago, but luckily I had a backup power source to keep my pump running. If I didn't, I'm not sure if I would have gotten by without getting water. How much backup/redundancy you need or want is certainly subjective. I have an uncle that has some type of sump pump failure insurance added to his homeowners policy.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:22 PM   #20
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


Yes due to better drainage, better grading of the yard, sunroom & addition water is being directed further away from the house
So if we don't have heavy rain storms, or days of lighter rain, then the pump doesn't go on
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:27 PM   #21
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


Thanks pkovo--

I do want to do a backup pump. My pit, though, is about 16 inches by 10.5 inches and then about 21-22 inches deep so my plumber said we'd have to dig a bigger pit to do a backup. I REALLY do not want to dig a bigger pit, not even just because of the cost but because the current pit is set up for the radon cover and I just don't want to be digging up our basement. I've called Zoeller to find out if I could do the backup they have that goes with my regular pump but still waiting for a call back.

In the first storm two weeks ago we did lose power for 3-5 hours with no problem but I still want a backup.

Thanks for the very detailed info on your new pit cover for radon purposes. We actually already have a drain in our basement so I don't need the sump pump pit to act as a drain in case of burst pipe.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:50 PM   #22
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


I don't have a backup pump, and don't blame you for not wanting to make the pit bigger. Most of the battery backup systems I've seen look like glorified 12 volt bilge pumps to me, with a high price tag. I'm on the fence about getting one because I have backup power if I am home, and under normal circumstances, I don't have much of a water issue so it's tough to say it would be worth it.

If your plumber installed the most popular Zoeller pump (the mighty mate), the float is non-adjustable. It kicks on when water is around 7" high from bottom of pump, and shuts off when water is 3" high. Since it's only draining down 4" of water at a time, and your pit is on the small side, this might be part of the reason your pump runs more frequently. You can see the float and the relatively short throw it has in the picture here. Regardless, it's considered a very good pump.



I actually like the pedastal pumps like the one Scuba Dave posted, but without modification, it won't work for us with sealed sump pits.
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Old 03-31-2010, 10:00 PM   #23
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


Pkovo--

That is our pump! The pump does make the water level go down to 4" but, despite a check valve, water seems to flow back in and so the net effect is that the water level only goes down 3". I find that annoying, as I know the pump could be running less frequently if really removed 4", but I don't understand why that is happening when we have a check valve (and it is a Zoeller PVC check valve).

And thanks for the confirmation on the Zoeller 53 being a good one--I told my plumber I wanted the Rolls Royce of sump pumps (and he told me this is what he has).
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Old 03-31-2010, 10:43 PM   #24
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


I basically bought the same pump after much research, but I bought the non automatic version. I bought a seperate adjustable switch that attaches to the pipe. Lets me adjust the point it turns on, and lets it pump more volume, I think around 6 inches or so. Here's a pic



The water that falls back down may be the water in the pipe below the check valve. If your plumber installed following Zoellers recomendations, he drilled a small hole in the pipe right above where it attaches to the pump. The hole is 1/8" if I remember correctly, and it prevents the possibility of the pump becoming air locked. However I think that lets the water below the check valve drain back into the pit.

I would just let your pump run it's shorter cycle and in a few weeks it probably won't be running any more anyway.

This site relates to Ohio, or somewhere, but the the pictures are applicable to anywhere. Might be helpful to se ein a pic the different situations. I think when most people refer to a temporary high water table, it's really more of a perched water table.http://www.lakecountyohio.gov/swcd/L...7/Default.aspx

Your not alone in stressng about your pump running. I still have a hard time getting used to having my pump run, even understanding why it''s running. I'll be happy when the water table receeds and my pit gets dry and dusty again for the summer.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:45 AM   #25
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


pkovo--

Thanks again for all the info.

I'm testing my pump right now. It's been 40 minutes since I turned it off and it is still 4" from the top of the pit. So clearly if the switch went on at a higher point, it would pump less often. My real question is whether the water would actually go above the top of the pit.

What size is your pit and what level from the top of the pit do you have your pump going off at?

I want a backup because I worry about power loss and/or if this pump for some reason fails even if I have power.
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:27 PM   #26
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


You're welcome.

My pit is 18" diameter and 24" deep. The pit is surrounded on all sides and below by several inches of drainage stone, so the effective volume is actually larger. It's perforated with 1/4 holes throughout. My pump is set to come on when the water level is about 7" below top of pit. I might be able to get away with letting the water get higher before the pump kicks on, but my fear is if I let it get too high, I may have water seep in to some part of my basement before the pump kicks on.

I am debating making my own backup system with a high quality bilge pump, a deep cycle maintenance free battery, and a charger/maintainer. Would take up very little space in the pit, and I already have a suitable charger I could use.

Problem is, I'm not sure it's worth it. I mean, I have a generator I can always use if I am home during a power failure, and I have an extra utility pump I can plug in and use if the pump was to fail when I am home. I also have an alarm that will sound if my pump fails and the water gets too high. So, the ony situation I would need the backup for is when I'm not home, but my pit is dry most of the year.

I am working from home today (basement office) so I have been paying attention to my cycle times. It's running every 33-36 minutes.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:12 PM   #27
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


pkovo--

If you have it go off at 7" from the top, how long does it actually run for when it turns on? Although mine is going every 4 minutes, it runs for only 5 seconds. Given my test this morning, I know it would run a whole lot less if the switch went on higher up than the 14-15" from the top it is at now.

The Zoeller backup (model 507) that goes with our pump (Zoeller 53) retails for $250 at irawoods.com but I'm not sure if that includes the really big battery. But given your situation (that you have a generator and a utility pump as well as the alarm), I totally see why you might not want to bother to get a backup. My concern is we take a two week vacation in the summer so I don't want to have to worry about a big thunderstorm while we are away.

It is so helpful to connect with other homeowners experiencing similar issues!
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:39 PM   #28
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


You know, I never actually timed it. It's longer than 5 seconds, but not very long. Probably somewhere in the ballpark of 10-15 seconds.

I was playing in the yard with my daughter and noticed my next door neighbors was running every 5 minutes. He's told me his pit is only the size of a 5 gallon bucket though, so I guess that's why.

If you are talking about the basement sentry model, It's basically a bilge pump. Not really a bad thing, but it's a lot of money for what it is. That price includes the pump hardware and charger, but not a battery. You need a decnt deep cycle marine battery. In my opinion the battery really should be replaced every 4 years to be safe, whether the pump runs or not.

I think it's basically this bilge pump



I agree, it's nice to know we'r enot alone. I spoke to a guy at work that Lives in Wayne NJ. His basements dry, but he can hardly move around his town with the way the Pasaic river has risen.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:37 PM   #29
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


My sump pit is about 17x17 & 14" deep, about 17.5g if my calc is correct

But my sump will run for 12 minutes & pump out ~600g of water due to the drain system
Usually it will not come back on for over an hour unless we have heavy rain
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:40 PM   #30
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Sump pump running often for first time ever


Thanks again, pkovo.

Scuba Dave--do you mean that the pump literally goes for 12 minutes without stopping?

I found information from the US Geologic Service and think I finally understand why my pump is going off now, when it hasn't in heavy rains, and didn't go on until after the heavy storm ended two weeks ago. The USGS has wells in counties and measures the depth of the groundwater from the surface on a daily basis. I looked for my county and found that in the ten years I have lived in my house, up until last month there have been about five days that the groundwater was less than seven feet below the surface. Then in March, fifteen of the days had groundwater less than seven feet below the surface!
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