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Old 04-13-2008, 01:43 PM   #1
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What is this large cap with a wire coming out?


We moved into this newer (2003) townhome last fall and I noticed something odd today while in the basement.

What is the recessed large black cap(?) with the grey wire sticking out? The other side of the wire is near the base of the stud wall.

If this is a sump pump, how can I ensure it works, and I am guessing it wouldn't work, whatever it is, without that wire connected. Any advice on this entire situation?

Also, lastly, I can see gravel (last pic) under it -- this is probably an area where many spiders are getting into the basement (I see a few a week and get rid of them). Can I seal this area up somehow? I'd rather not have my cats or daughter trying to play with or eat the spiders.

Thanks.






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Old 04-13-2008, 01:59 PM   #2
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What is this large cap with a wire coming out?


A sump pump requires a plug and line(120 volts)voltage. The grey wire is low voltage. Do you have an exterior water meter unit? Maybe a radon monitor?
The cleanout with the gravel around it could be part of the weeping system around the foundation perimeter.
Spiders are good to keep the other insects at bay. They are also a protein supplement for the cats. The spiders don't get in around the gravel, they just hang out around moisture because the other insects will come there. Sort of like a watering hole.
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:06 PM   #3
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What is this large cap with a wire coming out?


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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
A sump pump requires a plug and line(120 volts)voltage. The grey wire is low voltage. Do you have an exterior water meter unit? Maybe a radon monitor?
The cleanout with the gravel around it could be part of the weeping system around the foundation perimeter.
Spiders are good to keep the other insects at bay. They are also a protein supplement for the cats. The spiders don't get in around the gravel, they just hang out around moisture because the other insects will come there. Sort of like a watering hole.
Ron
Yes we do have the exterior water meter thing that the utility co. reads... about 3/4" diameter circular thing.

So you mention the thing I'm interested in is a cleanout? Should it be cleaned out on a regular basis, or only when there's flooding?

Why the heck would there be a low voltage wire, cut, going into the cleanout? Makes no sense to me, but then again I'm the one without a clue on this since I'm asking.
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:42 PM   #4
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What is this large cap with a wire coming out?


The cleanout looks like your house trap - that's where all your solid waste exits into the sewer or septic system.

The grey wire is to connect the remote meter reader to the meter.

The piece sticking out of the cleanout cap is a scrap piece of debris and not connected to anything.
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:18 PM   #5
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What is this large cap with a wire coming out?


Great, thanks guys.

The other cap, the one that sticks out of the floor a lot more, looks like it goes down a good 18" below the floor if I remove the cap. I assume this is the sump pit? There doesn't appear to be any wires in/out so I'm guessing I do not have a sump pump installed. With the vast amount of snow we've had this year, which is 99% melted, I'm surprised I didn't require a sump pump to keep the basement dry.
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:18 PM   #6
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What is this large cap with a wire coming out?


It most definately is not a sump pit. A sump pit is about 18-20" in diameter, and does not resemble sanitary plumbing. If you have a sump pit and a sump pump, it certainly isn't in these pictures.

What you have there is a sewer cleanout. Actually, in the first picture, it appears you have two of them, but I would imagine that the shorter one is the main cleanout. The one on the left is more of a stack cleanout of sorts, which each drain stack has to have. The shorter main cleanout is where a plumber will access the sanitary sewer line that goes from your house to the city sewer should you have a blockage.

For your information, the black PVC pipe with the plain flat cap on it in the foreground of your picture is a backflow preventer. In the event of a city sewer blockage, the backflow preventer will prevent sewage from backing up from the sewer into your basement. It works like a gate that only swings one way. You flush, and it swings outward. If sewage rushes back for some reason, it can't open against the backward flow. These things are great and very simple, but they do occasionally catch solids. It is a good idea to periodically pop the cap off and make sure it is operating freely. A gentle hose spray will usually take care of it.

As for the wire, it could be two things. It could be something the water company installed as previously mentioned that has to do with transmitting a signal from your water meter (which is pictured). Or, it could be a wire that the plumber put in to serve as a tracer wire...So they can find your PVC sewer pipe with a metal detector should they ever need to dig up your yard. Either way, it should not be IN the pipe itself.

As for the visible gravel and your spider concerns...Some canned spray foam should do the trick. Or you could glob a bunch of silicone caulk around the pipe. Another option would be to just mix a little concrete and patch the gap.

Last edited by Termite; 04-13-2008 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:21 AM   #7
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What is this large cap with a wire coming out?


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
It most definately is not a sump pit. A sump pit is about 18-20" in diameter, and does not resemble sanitary plumbing. If you have a sump pit and a sump pump, it certainly isn't in these pictures.

What you have there is a sewer cleanout. Actually, in the first picture, it appears you have two of them, but I would imagine that the shorter one is the main cleanout. The one on the left is more of a stack cleanout of sorts, which each drain stack has to have. The shorter main cleanout is where a plumber will access the sanitary sewer line that goes from your house to the city sewer should you have a blockage.

For your information, the black PVC pipe with the plain flat cap on it in the foreground of your picture is a backflow preventer. In the event of a city sewer blockage, the backflow preventer will prevent sewage from backing up from the sewer into your basement. It works like a gate that only swings one way. You flush, and it swings outward. If sewage rushes back for some reason, it can't open against the backward flow. These things are great and very simple, but they do occasionally catch solids. It is a good idea to periodically pop the cap off and make sure it is operating freely. A gentle hose spray will usually take care of it.

As for the wire, it could be two things. It could be something the water company installed as previously mentioned that has to do with transmitting a signal from your water meter (which is pictured). Or, it could be a wire that the plumber put in to serve as a tracer wire...So they can find your PVC sewer pipe with a metal detector should they ever need to dig up your yard. Either way, it should not be IN the pipe itself.

As for the visible gravel and your spider concerns...Some canned spray foam should do the trick. Or you could glob a bunch of silicone caulk around the pipe. Another option would be to just mix a little concrete and patch the gap.

I'll probably have enough concrete left over from the patching tube I'll be buying to repair a chip on the main entrance patio that developed over the winter -- I'll use that on the gravel area around that pipe -- thanks for the tip!

As for the wire, it definitely isn't for the water meter, as I've found that wire and it has no breaks in it. Maybe it's a tracer wire as you stated.

Good to know about the backflow preventer too, thanks. I think my insurance broker asked if my house had one last week when I was applying for a new home insurance quote. I'll have to call him back.

Thanks again everyone. This site is so useful because of good people like you guys!
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:56 AM   #8
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What is this large cap with a wire coming out?


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
It most definately is not a sump pit. A sump pit is about 18-20" in diameter, and does not resemble sanitary plumbing. If you have a sump pit and a sump pump, it certainly isn't in these pictures.

What you have there is a sewer cleanout. Actually, in the first picture, it appears you have two of them, but I would imagine that the shorter one is the main cleanout. The one on the left is more of a stack cleanout of sorts, which each drain stack has to have. The shorter main cleanout is where a plumber will access the sanitary sewer line that goes from your house to the city sewer should you have a blockage.

For your information, the black PVC pipe with the plain flat cap on it in the foreground of your picture is a backflow preventer. In the event of a city sewer blockage, the backflow preventer will prevent sewage from backing up from the sewer into your basement. It works like a gate that only swings one way. You flush, and it swings outward. If sewage rushes back for some reason, it can't open against the backward flow. These things are great and very simple, but they do occasionally catch solids. It is a good idea to periodically pop the cap off and make sure it is operating freely. A gentle hose spray will usually take care of it.

As for the wire, it could be two things. It could be something the water company installed as previously mentioned that has to do with transmitting a signal from your water meter (which is pictured). Or, it could be a wire that the plumber put in to serve as a tracer wire...So they can find your PVC sewer pipe with a metal detector should they ever need to dig up your yard. Either way, it should not be IN the pipe itself.

As for the visible gravel and your spider concerns...Some canned spray foam should do the trick. Or you could glob a bunch of silicone caulk around the pipe. Another option would be to just mix a little concrete and patch the gap.
bingo on this answer.... or at least thats what I was going to say.

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