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Old 01-12-2009, 06:51 PM   #1
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Sump Punp Problem


For the past 6 or so weeks, our sump pump (one of two in our basement) has been going on continually, at intervals of anywhere from every 10 minutes to every couple of hours.

Let me first try to explain the series of events that have led to this:

1. We think the sump pump was left unplugged in the spring 08 after some work was done in that area of the basement. We think it was left unplugged up until a major rain in nov 08.

2. Throughout the summer and fall, we don't recall the sump pump ever going on. Nor did we have any water problems in the basement, basically it was bone dry all summer and fall, and it gets a lot of rain in New york.

3. In Nov 08, we had major rain event that flooded the basement with 2-4 inches of water. But it wasn't from the rain. We discovered that the sump pump was the unplugged, so we plugged it in, and all of the water was pumped out. Been dry ever since

4. HOWEVER, since then the sump pump has been going on as mentioned above.

5. I have check the pipe in the back yard where water from the the pump flows to and there is no back up going on. In fact, I dug a small hole at the end of the pipe to ensure that there was no back up. We tripped the pump 5 or 6 times and it kept emptying, to lesser degrees each time.

We don't know if leaving it unplugged for so long has something to do with some kind of change that is causing this...

We don't know if there has been some "sudden" major change in the water table under the house that is causing water to flow into the pump catchment (as one plumber has suggested)...Can a water table change suddenly?

We don't know if there is some kind of major town pipe leaking under our house and causing this seepage...

Basically we have no idea why it is "suddenly" going on all the time.

Any thoughts, suggestions would be deeply appreciated.

David Rosen

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Old 01-12-2009, 07:35 PM   #2
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Sump Punp Problem


I don't think a change in the water-table is too likely. However, it's been rather wet in NY (at least on Long Island) this year. It's also possible that there are other "feeds" into the sump, say from window-well drains or other less desirable locations (eg. laundry). Also possible a downspout is broken or clogged resulting in runoff seeping into the house. The bigger question is... is the sump filling up requiring the pump to go on? If you unplug the pump, does the sump fill up? If so, then the pump coming on makes sense, there's water to pump. Look for sources of water.

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Old 01-12-2009, 08:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by WaldenL View Post
I don't think a change in the water-table is too likely. However, it's been rather wet in NY (at least on Long Island) this year. It's also possible that there are other "feeds" into the sump, say from window-well drains or other less desirable locations (eg. laundry). Also possible a downspout is broken or clogged resulting in runoff seeping into the house. The bigger question is... is the sump filling up requiring the pump to go on? If you unplug the pump, does the sump fill up? If so, then the pump coming on makes sense, there's water to pump. Look for sources of water.
Wow, I feel so stupid. I should have thought of that. Thanks! I just unpligged it. If it DOESN'T fill up, than there is something wrong with the pump system. If it odes fill up and begin to flood, than it's seepage from the outside from some source. Is that what you're saying?
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:50 PM   #4
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Sump Punp Problem


Bingo. And don't feel stupid, the number of times I've said D'OH can be counted on one.... um, nevermind, the number's too high to count. :-)
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:29 PM   #5
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Sump Punp Problem


D.R.
You might want to leave it plugged in overnight. But during the day when you're home to observe, work out a depth gauge, even a yard stick and mark your depth say once an hour for 3 hours. If you are experiencing an inflow that pump is your best freind. Keep it plugged in. A new pump is cheper than a full basement and the marker will help you caculate your flow volume.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by drosen4141@mac.com View Post
Wow, I feel so stupid. I should have thought of that. Thanks! I just unpligged it. If it DOESN'T fill up, than there is something wrong with the pump system. If it odes fill up and begin to flood, than it's seepage from the outside from some source. Is that what you're saying?
Did you recently move into this house?

How did the sump pump become unplugged?

If this pump is running several times an hour, then you can probably monitor the sump pit within that timeframe without having to keep the pump unplugged overnight.

If I were you, I would check for the source of the water also. That means checking all the gutters and downspouts to make sure they are doing their job, and also check for settlement around the house's foundation.

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