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Calling all basement experts ( A concerned homeowner trying to make it right...)

Calling all basement experts ( A concerned homeowner trying to make it right...)

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  #1  
Old 03-15-11, 06:36 AM
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Calling all basement experts ( A concerned homeowner trying to make it right...)

Here's my situation, Bear with me please..

I live in an area with a high water table, a lot of clay, and no daylighting oppurtunities. I have a full basement with a 3 block thick foundation that is 5 to 6 ft. below grade. At the low point of the basement is a 3'X2' sump pit that is 2 ft deep. I have a new schedule 40 track system, interior french drain. I also have old tile that network under parts of floor that run from the perimeter of the foundation and all terminate into to one line dumping into the sump pit. So my sump pit has two pieces of the perimeter drain system flowing into it, and this older pipe where this network of sub-floor drains dump in.

The french drain appears to work properly for the most part. My major problem is the volume at which the network of older sub-floor drains flows in. This is serious volume here, I am not exaggerating. This volume has caused my whole basement to fill up with 30'' of water before. I rely on the mechanical aspect of my system to keep my basement dry during heavy rains. And I know for sure that all these old sub-floor drains eventually tie into my perimeter drain, which means that my perimeter drain system is relying on these old sub-floor drains because they are the path of least resistance.


My questions are : How could I possibly deal with this on the exterior? I would love for gravity to somehow take this volume somewhere outside of the house before a pump takes it to a dry well.

Should I dig up the inside perimeter where these old sub floor drains tie in and concrete them off, and disable the water from entering it?

My concerns are that drilling through my foundation will be a challenge because it is three blocks thick.

Any Ideas where all this volume is coming from?????

Any insight is greatly appreciated.


~~~ A Concerned Homeowner Trying to Do it Right ~~~~
 
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  #2  
Old 03-15-11, 06:51 AM
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I'm not so sure I'm following you completely. What is a sub floor drain? Other than that I would advise you to not concrete any existing drains closing them off. I am assuming this problem is apparent during this time of year only. You may need some help on this one as it sounds as though your water problem is extreme. You may need to have a qualifed person come in and create an additional sump to handle the heavy runoff you are experiencing for this period of the year. I also hope you run more than one pump and back up in case of sudden power outage.

Where is your discharge from the sump going? A drywall would not be sufficient for your volume of discharged water. Blocking off the pipes from outside and it will rise until it finds it's way back into your basement. You need to think about lowering the water table both inside and outside so you can't depend on your wall to withstand the dynamics of keeping this water and building pressure from the outside.




bs5
 
  #3  
Old 03-15-11, 06:58 AM
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yes. My system is big and bad and backed up, but this volume is very problematic. These sub-floor drain tiles run beneath the basement floor. They appear to be retrofitted in due to scaring on the floor coinciding with the drains. Not sure why they were originally put it. But I do know that 10 times the volume comes in from these sub floor drains that comes in from the track system. So they appear to be the path of least resistance by design.
 
  #4  
Old 03-15-11, 07:56 AM
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What do you mean by track system?

Why would block of drain tiles that have a lot of water coming out of them? That means they are functioning very well. Does your current sump pump handle all the water? You already know your problem and that is a high water table. The water is coming up from below and those drain tiles that run under your floor capture that water and bring it to the sump. The sump pump should be pumping that water to daylight away from the house.
 
  #5  
Old 03-15-11, 10:48 AM
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how much help would a perimeter drain outside be, and how deep should it go to be the most effective??

and how dangerous would it be to plug the hole where the subfloor drains dump in and let the water find another path?
 
  #6  
Old 03-15-11, 12:10 PM
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Perimeter drain? Yes, it would be of help but it needs to be able to dump in the sump pit so it can be ejected

How deep? Below basement floor level so it does not build up pressure against basement wall until it finds a way right back in the basement.

plugging an existing drain? That makes no sense at all. The object is to capture and eject the water away from your property. What do you expect is going to happen to that water that was trying to make it to your sump.

I had asked earlier, what are you doing with the water that is pumped away by your sump? Where does it end up. If it is getting dumped close to your house you might be handling it over and over again. You have not told us about that just yet.

bs5
 
  #7  
Old 03-15-11, 12:40 PM
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sorry, my sump pit pumps to a 4 in pvc line that runs about 40 feet to a dry well with a bubbler. When water overfills the bubbler, it flows to the city eventually via my side yard. I understand the dangers of plugging a drain line, especially one as vigorous as this is, but the company that installed the french drain guaranteed its ability to keep up. When in reality, it is relying on the old sub floor lines to keep up....or possibly is dumping into them unecessarily? To answer your question, I expect that when I plug those old subfloor drains, the water will take the path of least resistance, being my french drain system. And I will know for sure whether what they install is sufficient.

Am I on the right track here or am I doomed to this old drain line forever?
 
  #8  
Old 03-15-11, 12:50 PM
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Rain Water

How is rain water from the house roof managed? Does it flow into gutters and then get piped away from the house?

A common problem with gutter systems is that the downspouts get clogged and the water overflows out of the gutters and down along the foundation of the house.
 
  #9  
Old 03-15-11, 01:11 PM
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Plugging those old pipes isn't dangerous, it's dumb. Plain and simple. Whether or not water goes from the new pipes into the old pipes doesn't matter. It is water that needs to get pumped out. I don't understand your thinking here. The water gets into those pipes and then into your sump because it needs to be pumped out. Why are you so worried about the amount of water leaving those pipes? Do you still have flooding in your basement? Does your current pump not keep up with the flow of water into the sump pit? You should be answering the questions people ask you. Otherwise you will not gain very much benefit from saying the same thing over and over.
 
  #10  
Old 03-15-11, 02:28 PM
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Dbhaze; You mentioned that you would love for gravity to take this volume of water away and that is definitely the ideal. You also said there is no possibilty of daylighting, but I think if you had gravity on your side it would need to daylight somewhere. Have you had someone with a laser scope even measure the pitch away from the foundation to a suitable draining area. A couple of inches is all its going to take to get that water flowing away. If you have the slope, dig a trench from the draining area to the house. T-into the outside weeping tile with new 4 inch corrugated pipe. I'm not sure about gravel in the trench or whether or not you need perforated pipe with a sock or not. I hope this works for you as it did for me. My pump that was cycling on literally every few minutes has'nt gone on since. Good luck
 
  #11  
Old 03-15-11, 04:20 PM
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Can you tell us this, isn't it true that this is the worst time of the year for your groundwater situation? And if it is, isn't it also true that despite this high volume of water you endure, your system seems to be handling Mother Nature's onslaught. I guess we can be thankful for that.

Now what to do. Your problem seems to surround the fact that you have too much water to bail. Your basement seems dry currently. You seem to have all the players for that. So the only thing I can think of is to divert as much ground water as you can. That may entail hiring an excavating company and attack the source of this water to the extent you can. I'm talking about installing more curbing, manholes and drain systems up hill of your house.

Maybe that means leaving the present system to do it's job like it barely is at this worst time for ground water. Have you ever thought about hiring an engineer to comeup with an idea and any other ways to capture and divert the source. How do you think these big asphalt surfaced parking lot's manage to eliminate runoff.
Engineers have to plan for that.

I'm no engineer but I have built basements and other type foundations. I once had a spot excavated for a basement only to discover it was filling up with water as fast as we could dig. I told the home owner I would not build a basement and that he better settle for a crawl space. Don't we all wish for you that swimming pool wasn't there.

I wish you the best of luck, I hope with professioinal help, a management plan can be spawned AND IT WORKS. Mother nature sometimes has her way but there is usually a way. In the meantime the urgency should diminish itself for the time being, I hope.

bs5
 
  #12  
Old 03-16-11, 07:04 AM
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I also live in a high water table area with almost no grade avalible to use for run off.
Most of the time when I go to look at a home that has water going into the basement. There's 0 grade away from the house, there's mulch piled up againt the foundation, someones made flower beds that act more like ponds out of bricks or landscape timbers.
When we build something new in this area I always water proof the foundation, add a french drain, add a second solid PVC line just for the gutter down spout drains.
Then we grade so there's at least some sloop away from the house.
Having water that's at one point was outside and piping it inside so it can be pumped out with a sump pump makes 0 since to me. If that pump fails your in deep dodo.
 
  #13  
Old 03-16-11, 12:11 PM
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Thank you all for you help. A well rounded decision is definitely called for in this situation. Please tell me more about hiring an engineer and how I might go about this.


As for my plan....i cant bring myself to dig down to the footer just yet. I am unable to invest in that kind of a project until I am certain I have exhausted all other avenues. I am going to rent a bobcat and scoop about 1-2 foot of clay off the top of the surrounding land. I am then going to place down new top soil and properly grade the land from the house. I also want to bring my downspout terminations back to the surface and extend those away accordingly. I think I can reduce some of my volume by doing this.


This is a 2 - 3 time a year problem, yes. It is a tough pill to swallow to know I am mechanically dependent for a dry basement. But I will get over it I suppose and make the most of it.
 
  #14  
Old 03-16-11, 01:01 PM
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<<I am then going to place down new top soil and properly grade the land from the house. I also want to bring my downspout terminations back to the surface and extend those away accordingly. I think I can reduce some of my volume by doing this.>> (DBHaze)
=========================

That's the spirit. That will do nothing but help your situation. Start with that task and then go on from there. Done properly that might just take care of your situation at least making it more managable. Make that wateer flow around your house not into it.

bs5
 
  #15  
Old 03-16-11, 01:36 PM
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Clay is in the main waterproof, however there are usually cracks in the clay where you may have a steady flow of water working its way downhill.

You say you have a high water table? The two don't fit together.

Have you dug down and found how high the top of the water table is, during the summer and the winter?

Is it an inch or two below the surface, or is it lower?

With clay it is unlikely you are sitting in the middle of an underground lake or stream.

With clay, the rain usually runs over the top until it finds a place where the ground has been disturbed and then it flows into the hole.

Take a careful look round, study the contours of the land, are you in a dip, part way up a slope?

Can you see from the lie of the land, if the water is landing higher up the slope and merely running down towards your home and entering your drain just because it is there?

If this is the case, then a better idea is a hidden wall.

I hidden wall is a ditch/drain that is positioned up hill from your home, that collects the surface water and diverts it away from your home....down hill, it is usually designed to be invisible from your home.

Leaving your drainage system to merely cope with the rain that falls between the hidden wall/ditch/drain
and your drainage system.

When a French drain is designed, the designer will take the lie of the land into consideration, a French drain should be designed so that all water that enters the drain is able to freely flow along the drain until it reaches the point where the bottom of the drain comes out level with the surface and then the water flows away down hill.

If your drainage system, is designed to deliver collected water into a pit that is inside your home, then you will always be at risk, from a larger flow than the pump can cope with, a power cut, a pump break down.

A better system is the hidden wall and an external drainage system, where the water can flow away by gravity.

Failing that, an external pumped system with a stand bye second pump, with the size and design that is able to handle the largest amount of rain that will be expected to fall/has fallen per square foot of your catchment area since records began.

At the same time all of the outside walls and all holes and cracks (including your indoor sump) should be filled and externally waterproofed - this to mitigate the flow into your home should the design and installation of your drainage system prove inadequate.
 
  #16  
Old 03-16-11, 02:22 PM
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I do have a sloping property that flows from behind my house through the front. The hidden wall is a new concept to me. But, it sounds like a good theory. It also sounds like a cheaper excavation job that I could possibly do myself? Or should I leave that to the pros?
 
  #17  
Old 03-17-11, 03:21 AM
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Of course you can do it!

First of all, just remove the top soil down to the clay, wait for it to rain and see where the rain goes.

You may find when doing this that the clay has a dip in it that funnels the water towards your home.

Then find out how much rain you are likely to get at any one time on the ground, work on the basis that you need to shift that rain round and down hill from your home.
A diagonal trench, the steeper the slope the the more rain it can handle the quicker the rain gets away and the trench will stay dry most of the year.

Then measure your roof in square feet and work out how much rain you have to deal with up there in cubic feet, then check the gutters and down pipes can they handle that amount of rain?

Have you stood outside when its raining and checked that the gutters can cope, does the rain come over the edge of the gutters?

The manufacturers can help you with their design capacity.

If they can handle it where does it go at ground level?

You may find that ending each pipe in a four or six inch sewer pipe that runs round round your home under ground for cosmetic reasons and terminates away down hill at least 16 feet gets the rain away from your basement. (further is better)
 
  #18  
Old 03-18-11, 05:14 PM
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water table

Thanks for all the info! I have a friend who is dealing with a high water table and I'm going to send all this along. Good luck with your situation.
 
  #19  
Old 03-18-11, 09:49 PM
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this is all fantastic stuff. Thanks for all the expertise. I will keep everyone posted.

Derek
 
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