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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I’m new to this, so please forgive any silly things that I might be saying or doing wrong. I need some reassurance that what I’ve done won’t cause me problems in the future. I just moved into a brand new house, and I noticed that the sump pump was running like every 4 minutes. I called the builder and he had one of his guys come out and they put some bricks under the sump pump and then it only ran about once an hour. I called the builder and asked if I could put in one more brick and he said sure. So I did raise the pump one more brick. Pump runs around once a day but is FULL of water.
Facts are: Sump pump pit is 18-1/2” wide by 24” deep. The main pump sits 12” above the bottom of the pit, and the water table is 6-1/2” below the top of the basement floor. The float kicks on the main pump when the water gets around 6-1/4” below basement floor and runs for about 4 minutes then stops. (Water level is about 1-1/4 “ above the top of the big black pipe that comes into the sump). I have a battery back up pump that sits 8-1/2” off the bottom of the pit, just in case the main pump fails. Is this installation OK??? Do I need to add bleach to the standing water in the pit occasionally to kill any bacteria?
 

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You have witnessed the dilemma zone (I did not say twilight zone).

Depending on the weather and the time of year, the level of water in the sump pump might come up to a different level and stop. This is because the water table changes.

0. If the pit is completely empty of course the pump does not need to run.

1. If the level stops below the fat drain pipes dumping in then it can probably stay that way indefinitely with the pump not coming on.

3. If the level wants to exceed the floor surface, of course the pump needs to have come on sooner to prevent obvious flooding of the basement.

2. This is the dilemma. If the level covers the fat drain pipes more than about 2/3 then the pump should come on and cycle as needed, even if the water would have stopped one inch above complete submerging of the drain pipes or stops one inch below the surface. Otherwise the behavior of the drain pipe system becomes erratic and you might get random flooding of the opposite side of the basement even with the pit not overflowing.

In all cases the best results are had if, once the pump starts, it keeps going until the pit is almost emptied. Unfortunately some pumps won't let you adjust the float to do this.

If you adjust the float, allow a week of running before concluding that what you did fixed or did not fixthe problem you had.

Adding some bleach or vinegar is a good idea provided that the pump manufacturer does not say it is bad for the plastic parts inside the pump. Do not switch from bleach to vinegar or vice versa without letting the pump run several cycles in between.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your helpful comments. Please excuse my “dumbness”, so please spell it out for me. Is what I did not good. Should I lower the pump and let it run more frequently?
Thank you for helping me.
 

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Short suggestion. Lower the pump so it starts when the black drain pipe is a little more than half submerged. You might need a "half height" brick.

Other things to do: During a heavy rainstorm go out or look out to see if water is pooling up against the foundation. This is bad. Water needs to flow away from the foundation. Catching the water in a bed of gravel does not help. There should not be a depression around the foundation filled with gravel or mulch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Short suggestion. Lower the pump so it starts when the black drain pipe is a little more than half submerged. You might need a "half height" brick.

Other things to do: During a heavy rainstorm go out or look out to see if water is pooling up against the foundation. This is bad. Water needs to flow away from the foundation. Catching the water in a bed of gravel does not help. There should not be a depression around the foundation filled with gravel or mulch.
Thank you Allan, I appreciate your knowledge and quick response. Have a great day.
 

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+1 that the footing drain tile pipe should not be fully underwater, because it sounds like your pipe crosses through the footing, rather than under. And the pump runs for 4 minutes (really?) when engaged which means the entire basement footing is sitting in water. So with a really big and heavy rain, eventually at the far end you'll have water coming in where it has found some spots.

You have not given enough info about whether it is actually the water table or if from any recent rains or runoff from neighbors. Your builder would know about the water table when they did the dig and footings. Just as a FWIW my sump ranges from 30seconds - 2 days depending on season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
+1 that the footing drain tile pipe should not be fully underwater, because it sounds like your pipe crosses through the footing, rather than under. And the pump runs for 4 minutes (really?) when engaged which means the entire basement footing is sitting in water. So with a really big and heavy rain, eventually at the far end you'll have water coming in where it has found some spots.

You have not given enough info about whether it is actually the water table or if from any recent rains or runoff from neighbors. Your builder would know about the water table when they did the dig and footings. Just as a FWIW my sump ranges from 30seconds - 2 days depending on season.
I looked at some photos and the drain tile pipe runs through the bottom of the footing. It definitely is the water table. So should I lower the pump (how many inches??) Appreciate your input. thank you
 

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Nitpicking. The lowest fat (black or white) pipe dumping into the pit should not be more than 2/3 covered when the pump should come on.

But if you can prove that the drain pipe slopes down for its final approach to the pit you can let the end as seen in the pit be submerged a bit more. The open space (air pocket) in the drain pipe needs to be there going all around the foundation.

It is okay for the perimeter drain pipe to cross through or under the foundation for example if part of the drain pipe system were inside and part outside. The short segment crossing the foundation, if it crossed under and resembled a P-trap, cannot hold an air pocket and does not have to.
 

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You will have to experiment on height with how much more you want to keep the drain tile clear. A water table height can vary with the seasons and rainfall. You can dig a post hole somewhere outside, put a pipe in, and take measurements every so often to verify the table.

The 4 minute pump run time is questionable. The pump should run between 5-20 seconds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nitpicking. The lowest fat (black or white) pipe dumping into the pit should not be more than 2/3 covered when the pump should come on.

But if you can prove that the drain pipe slopes down for its final approach to the pit you can let the end as seen in the pit be submerged a bit more. The open space (air pocket) in the drain pipe needs to be there going all around the foundation.

It is okay for the perimeter drain pipe to cross through or under the foundation for example if part of the drain pipe system were inside and part outside. The short segment crossing the foundation, if it crossed under and resembled a P-trap, cannot hold an air pocket and does not have to.
Allan, the pipe that you highlighted in red does not come into the pit. I was only showing how that pipe lays under the lowest part of the footing. the only pipe coming into the pit is the white one that is on the right. should that one be the one that I should trigger when it gets 2/3 full? Thanks again for all your help. I am not knowledgeable about these things at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You will have to experiment on height with how much more you want to keep the drain tile clear. A water table height can vary with the seasons and rainfall. You can dig a post hole somewhere outside, put a pipe in, and take measurements every so often to verify the table.

The 4 minute pump run time is questionable. The pump should run between 5-20 seconds.

If I were to let it rung only 5-20 seconds, it would be kicking on every 2 minutes.
 

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That white pipe that does not come into the pit, where does it come from and where does it go and what is it connected to?

If it is part of the perimeter drain system then there should be a leg or extension at its level coming over to the pit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That white pipe that does not come into the pit, where does it come from and where does it go and what is it connected to?

If it is part of the perimeter drain system then there should be a leg or extension at its level coming over to the pit.

My drawing was so that I could show you where the white pipes came through the footings. Those white pipes are around the inside of the footing and come into a y then into the sump in only one entrance.
(My picture shows the pipe around the inside of the footings. I am so confused.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If you look at the picture, where the 2 guys are in the corner, that’s where the. Sump pit is. I think that’s where they put a Y on the white pipe loop. And brought. It into. The sump pit.
 

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Are you currently having water up on the basement floor during some rain storms?

Can you explain in more detail what looks confusing or what seems confusing?

Are the two pipes you showed on your diagram:
1. really at different levels (different depths)?
2. really at the same depth but you misjudged when halfway through drawing your diagram and it was too much trouble to fix the diagram by redrawing it?
3. you are really not sure whether or not the pipes are at the same depth?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Are you currently having water up on the basement floor during some rain storms?

Can you explain in more detail what looks confusing or what seems confusing?

Are the two pipes you showed on your diagram:
1. really at different levels (different depths)?
2. really at the same depth but you misjudged when halfway through drawing your diagram and it was too much trouble to fix the diagram by redrawing it?
3. you are really not sure whether or not the pipes are at the same depth?

I have never had water come up through the basement floor. Item #2 is the case, my drawing was misjudged. The pipes must be? At the same level.
 

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If you are having no basement flooding problems then you may get away with not making any changes to the pump.

With just one fat pipe dumping into the pit, my starting recommendation has been to have the pump start when that pipe is 2/3 covered.

When an air pocket is maintained below floor level, say, in the drain pipe, the water table at that point or along that line is pegged at that level. (A few feet away the water table can be different.) Soil above that level will have a tendency to desaturate because water will drip into the air pocket and then flow to the pit.

How long it takes for the pump to run and stop can vary widely depending on the speed of the pump. With a "slow" pump there is more time for additional water queued up in the drain pipe to come into the pit and be expelled in the same cycle before the pump stops (good). But with a slow pump a backup pump needs to be ready to help out if there is a heavy rainstorm or if water suddenly rises in the pit very fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If you are having no basement flooding problems then you may get away with not making any changes to the pump.

With just one fat pipe dumping into the pit, my starting recommendation has been to have the pump start when that pipe is 2/3 covered.

When an air pocket is maintained below floor level, say, in the drain pipe, the water table at that point or along that line is pegged at that level. (A few feet away the water table can be different.) Soil above that level will have a tendency to desaturate because water will drip into the air pocket and then flow to the pit.

How long it takes for the pump to run and stop can vary widely depending on the speed of the pump. With a "slow" pump there is more time for additional water queued up in the drain pipe to come into the pit and be expelled in the same cycle before the pump stops (good). But with a slow pump a backup pump needs to be ready to help out if there is a heavy rainstorm or if water suddenly rises in the pit very fast.
I do have a "WATCHDOG battery back up pump" set to kick on if the water rises 1 more inch than when the Main pump kicks on. I was concerned about the footings being damaged by being submersed in water all the time. Will the footing be okay, if theyre in water most of the time? And thank you again, I do appreciate your knowledge and time.
 
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