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Old 04-18-2009, 09:17 PM   #1
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sump pump running too often?


We just got a very wet snow here in Denver. My sump pump has been turning on with increasing frequency over the last day and a half. It's now turning on about every 3 minutes. I replaced the pump last year when I bought the house. Is this normal? Is the water seeping back into the pump and being "recycled"? How do I tell if this is happening?

I have attached images of the discharge area. We have thick clay soils so drainage is very slow. My neighbor says he has put in a drain-tile along the fence but that area is still a pond every time it snows/rains. Should I put in some sort of surface drain (instead of another drain-tile) to carry the water to the street and into the storm drain? Do I need to add more dirt to slope away from the house? Is it normal to hook up the discharge to a pipe that leads to the front so it can flow across the sidewalk and into the gutter?

I plan on putting river-rock in this entire area because I think it will always be soggy no matter what I do -- but that's a topic for another forum.
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Old 04-19-2009, 12:28 AM   #2
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sump pump running too often?


The first thing you should do is probably clear the snow away from the perimeter of your house. All that discharged water can easily dam up with the snow in the ground, especially if it freezes. Also, snow around the foundation means more sitting water around the foundation.

The next thing you should do is to run out and buy a 50' section of corrugated piping to route the water from your sump discharge and gutters away from the house.

Once your area dries out, you should probably dig trenches and then insert that corrugated piping into the trenches to route water away. You should also consider planting plants and growing grass which will help absorb water.

Buying the new sump pump may or may not have been necessary. The sump pump runs maybe once a week for a short time for a typical house in an average weather environment. There is no guarantee that a new pump won't fail.


Last edited by handy man88; 04-19-2009 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 04-19-2009, 01:46 AM   #3
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sump pump running too often?


I ran outside and did what I could with a 10-foot section of corrugated pipe that I had laying around (yes, it's 12:30 at night!). Tomorrow I will get some longer pipe. The problem I found just now was that once the pump shuts off, the water simply turns around and flows backwards out the opening of the corrugated pipe, because the grade is basically flat. This leads me to wonder if I should be getting rigid pvc and making a water-tight seal at the discharge location so it can't physically flow backwards, even if it were going uphill. Is there anything wrong with that idea? I did some late-night digging (neighbors probably think I'm crazy) and managed to get it flowing mostly away -- definitely better than it was before. Thanks for the advice.

Another question: I read somewhere that rigid PVC (with holes in the bottom if buried) is better than the corrugated because it can be cleaned more easily without damage. True?
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:27 AM   #4
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sump pump running too often?


The first mandate is to get the water away so it does not flow back and pond up against the house. This may require a longer hose or pipe as a sealed path for the sump pump discharge, and perhaps a stronger pump. You may also need to regrade the land a little.

Use non-perforated pipe for the sump pump outlet.

Pump the water in any direction (front, back, side) that works best.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-19-2009 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:51 AM   #5
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sump pump running too often?


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Originally Posted by secretspy711 View Post
Do I need to add more dirt to slope away from the house? Is it normal to hook up the discharge to a pipe that leads to the front so it can flow across the sidewalk and into the gutter?

You need to keep at least 6" (some siding manufacturers say 8") of separation between grade (the top of the ground) and the lower edge of the siding, otherwise you'll just be trading one problem for another.

Generally, directing sump pump discharge across the surface of a public sidewalk is prohibited, and it's a Bad Idea to discharge it across any walkway, in addition to the slip hazards the water may undermine the slab.

I'm in agreement with the other posters that you need to discharge that water as far from the foundation as is conveniently possible - the current arrangement is essentially an endless loop in which you pump the water out of the foundation drains and then discharge it close to the foundation, where it soaks back down into the ground and reenters the foundation drains to be pumped out again.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:21 PM   #6
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sump pump running too often?


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You need to keep at least 6" (some siding manufacturers say 8") of separation between grade (the top of the ground) and the lower edge of the siding, otherwise you'll just be trading one problem for another.
Is this because of the potential for termites?

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