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Old 03-11-2015, 10:20 AM   #1
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Sump pump discharge question


Hi all, this is my first post on this forum.

Not 'exactly' a DIY; single female, hired a contractor to install French drain and sump pump, and to apply sealant to inside of cellar walls. House built in 1956 by my parents, fixing it up to move in; it is in Northeast Mass, we have 4 feet of snow on the ground still. Anticipated about 2 feet of water in cellar if I did not do something.

Growing up I was part of the 'bucket brigade;' not willing to deal with that any longer.

I used Angie's List, met with 3 companies, got estimates, went with contractor with A rating on Angie's, and A+ rating with BBB. 3 pages of positive reviews on Angie's, a few B ratings from individuals, but most folks very happy with their work. This is a contractor - licensed, does siding, windows, roofing, additions, etc. Been on Angie's List since 2010, says on website they have 30 years experience.

Several things have raised flags. First, signed contract on Feb 7, told work would start in 2 weeks but instead work did not start till Mar 5. Work only started after I made repeated calls to voice mail about having removed all the stuff from shelves to floor and if melting starts everything gets soaked! Second, they tried to give me a used sump pump! I was here when they carried it in, in a plan brown box with other parts. No original container. When I picked it up and looked at it, could see it has been run. Threw a hissy fit (that is one thing I am good at!). Bottom line, they 'claim' this is temporary, mine was ordered but did not arrive yet, they will be back to switch it out. Hmm, nothing was said about this until I blew up, contract was signed 4 weeks prior to job. Yeah, like I believe it has been on order 'for awhile now.'

Next, I get to thinking. I had asked the sales guy if the sealant can have color added, I'd been looking at it online and some can be, like at Home Dept. He responded that we don't use HD, what we use is a better product; yes some colors are available, not as many as for paint, we will get you the sheet with color samples. He later passes this task to job Foreman. Who comes to me on Saturday (crew is working, jackhammer work done, pipe and gravel going in) to say the store that sells the sealant is not open, so he got some samples from HD. I think, You didn't KNOW a plumbing supply house is not open Sat and Sun? Even "I" know that!) I can pick one and he will get the color closest to what I pick (I wanted a light blue, rather than stark white, just a hint of color). Foreman on job 'claims' he bought my sealant at John Deere in NH, then took it to Home Depot to have the color added. He hauled it in, in one of those 5 gallon Home Depot tubs -- not an original container. I have not confronted them on this as yet; I called JD and no, they do not sell cellar wall / concrete /cinder block water proofing sealant (guy must have thought I was a nutty female, but this was on the phone so I don't care). Checked w/ HD, they do not color 'your' paint, sealant etc. must be bought from them at the time the color is added. So now, I have NO idea what they put on my walls.

So. I have this "temporary" pump in the well with no cover on it (they 'forgot to bring one.') Everything is connected, plugged in, they tested it with buckets of water. Discharge pipe goes up the cellar wall and through a hole they put in my brand new siding. They will return in 8 days to finish up.

They will have to come back the 3rd week of April or so to do the outside work, digging a catch basin and running outside discharge pipes underground. Everyone of them (sales, foreman, 3 crew members) all say I won't see anything out there when they are done. May need to reseed a trench of about 18 inches wide. They will caulk around the outside of the pipe coming out of my siding at that time.

Off they go. And I ponder things overnight.

WHERE is the melted snow going? Into the French drain, to the well, pump will turn on, send it up the discharge pipe and . . . down the outside of my house! They have to put SOMETHING on temporarily don't they? Until they come back and do the digging outside?

How much melting is going to happen till they return in 8 days? Am I going to have flooding in my cellar? How far out from the house should I make sure they put . . . whatever, on top of the snow, till melting is complete?

Fuming doesn't BEGIN to explain how I feel. I have not moved in as yet, I live an hour and half drive away, come and stay for 3 to 4 nights at a time. So I've been here watching everything they did.

Thank you for listening to me rant, did not expect to write this much!

Last edited by Freedomsand; 03-11-2015 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:17 AM   #2
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Guess you've seen just how useless Angie's list is, it's been mentioned here many times.
Would be interesting to see some pictures of what they've done so far once you get 5 post.
Where you live I believe I would have ran that line under ground through the foundation, not through the siding.
That high would leave it exposed to freezing temp.
Also should have been a bleed hole in the pipe to allow it to completely drain the outside line to prevent freezing.
Is there a check valve near the pump in the vertical pipe to stop the water from flowing back into the pit when it shuts off?
How far away did they run the pipe on the outside?
What type siding do you have? If it's vinyl they should have installed a siding block to run the pipe through, not just drill a hole.
Trying to water proof a basement wall on the inside is useless.
If they bought a real sump pit all the pits I've bought came with a cover.
What's the quote say about what brand sump and spec. for the sump pump.
If it's as bad as you say I would have gone with a Zoeller with battery back up.
That would have came as a complete unit, pump, pit, cover, battery box and charger.
Did they at least use the same size pipe as the outlet on the pipe and not reduce it down?
What size pipe is it. (should be right on the outside of the pipe is it's PVC.)
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:16 PM   #3
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I have been in business for almost 40yrs now....never belonged to any kind of organization...bbb or angies list or anything else....why ...it doesn't matter if you do good work... and be honest ..that is your best form of advertisement. we have seen people get ripped off by contractors in good standing with bbb and angies list as well ...sorry to hear of your position with your contractor best advice is to try to work it out at this point work is already done and as mentioned post some pictures of what was done so you can get some peace of mind that it may have been done some what right...sorry ....
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:21 PM   #4
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To answer the question yes the sump should discharge away from the house preferably where it is sloping away from the house.

I honestly wouldn't hire a handy man for water proofing work. But that's me.
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:01 PM   #5
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So far, forum will not permit me to post photos, says "you need at least one post to share links." Hope this does it!
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:17 PM   #6
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Pump is the Pit Boss, 3/4 hp.

Not sure where you read that I hired a 'handyman,' this is a licensed general contractor who does additions, siding, etc.

This is what has been done so far:
Used hack hammer around perimeter to cut floor


Except they went around the oil tank.


Cleaned out the trench, put in weep holes, 3 per cinder block all around the perimeter (not under oil tank)


Put in slotted PVC, slot side down for water to rise up and into the system.


I think gravel went in before the PVC, and then more gravel on top:


At this stage, still working around the oil tank


Put on base liner with fasteners


Hole for pump - you can see PVC empties into it from both sides


More photos coming up.
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:19 PM   #7
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Put in a 'false floor' under the oil tank. Any water which comes in that side will flow across this and into the system. This was covered with concrete, no photo.


Concrete on top of everything. Very smooth, no tripping hazard.


Basin in place for pump. You can see PVC coming in both sides.


Hole they made for discharge. This is from the inside. Can't get to outside, 4 feet of snow out there still. Outside, house has a 12 inch concrete apron all around.


And that is where my photos stop. I did not take a photo of the 'temporary' pump.

Seems I have no photo of the sealant on the walls, either.

The Foreman did not realize the baseboard heat is a 1 inch copper pipe. Apparently today, standard is 3/4 inch. He's had a hard time finding the replacement casements, finally located a plumbing supply house with some but not enough, and has special ordered it.
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:27 PM   #8
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I would of hired a water proofing company directly. Looks like a decent job. Just make sure the temporary sump discharge is away from the house.
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:29 PM   #9
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I am no expert, but it looks like they did a decent job on an interior drain system, but it wont do much good until the pump and drain is operating properly. Seems like your main frustration is with speed and communication. Hang in there
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:30 PM   #10
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Joecaption: I will ask re bleed hole and check valve.

Can't even see the hole on the outside of the house, there is 4 feet of snow out there. From the street, clearly no one has been in there as yet, no footprints through the snow.

Vinyl siding put on in 2013. By Harvey, it is Certainteed Cedar Impression Looks like real wood cedar shakes. Here is a picture. The sump discharge will be coming out far right corner. Good point about the siding block. I will add that to my list!

Ghostmaker and ZT Man, THANK YOU! "Decent job" is what I needed to hear!! One little comment and I tend to take off that the whole project is a bust, lol. Thanks for getting me back to reality!


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Old 03-11-2015, 07:41 PM   #11
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Do your downspouts attach to a storm drain. If so that is where i would go with your sump discharge.
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:42 PM   #12
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just as an aside, we put one of these systems in at our office with three pits. The systems function great BUT be prepared. A pump will fail when you least expect it, a fitting will break or a connection will come loose at the most in opportune time. Usually in the middle of a night when the stores are closed. Its a good idea to have extra parts on hand, including an extra pump. We actually put three pits in in case one could not handle the volume or if a pump failed. When high water was predicted two years ago, we actually put two pumps in one pit because one could not keep up with the inflow. Also be prepared for power outages. A little generator is a must if the power goes out. Get extra parts and have a back up for your back up
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:51 PM   #13
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No storm drain. Downspouts have extensions away from house and just go out onto the lawn.

ZTMan PLEASE! The thing isn't even IN yet and you are taking about it breaking? OMGOSH! I plan to keep this house 5 to 7 years. Most years, we don't get much water in the cellar, if any. This year has been extreme re snow.

Contract specifies, I have a lifetime guarantee -- lifetime of the house. Guarantee is transferable, on sale, to new owner. I think if I have an issue I just call the General Contractor.

Been thinking about a generator. It's a LOT, for me. And I don't mean only the cost, though that is part of the concern. Dealing with propane tanks and such, which I can not carry myself, so I'd be bothering the neighbors (no gas main on our street). I did talk with some folks about those 2 years back, estimates ran $12,000 to $15,000 installed, that is more than this project!

Power outages: we get them, usually due to accidents. Not related to storms with lots of water.

House is at the top of a big hill, so no flood concerns.
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:52 PM   #14
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from the pictures yep i would agree its a decent job....just follow up on the suggestions made to your contractor and be nice Iam sure it will be ok...nice house by the way
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Old 03-11-2015, 08:06 PM   #15
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Thank you, Ben's Plumbing!
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