Leaking Mystery Pipe in Basement


  #1  
Old 10-23-14, 06:19 PM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Leaking Mystery Pipe in Basement

Hi all,

I purchased a home built in the 1960's in NH early in the decade. After the purchase I detected this mystery pipe in my basement. There is only one of them and it's located 9 inches above the floor and 6 1/2 inches from the corner. The hole is slightly larger than 1 inch and the pipe is about 1 inch in size. The pipe is not attached to the wall by more than brute force and can be pulled easily away with a pair of pliers (and inserted back). See image below:
Name:  mystery pipe 1.jpg
Views: 760
Size:  27.9 KB

I've asked two different contractors who have 10 years respectively 20 years in the business and neither can tell me what possible purpose this pipe serves/could serve. One of them stipulated that it could have been used for pouring in the foundation. My father-in-law who has 30 years of dity experience said that the pipe could be used for basement ventilation or balancing the water pressure, but the pipe must be at least three feet below ground. The town inspector whose background is as an electrician/general project management, told me he has no idea what the pipe is for and why it is there. After looking around the net a long time (several hours of searching each year, I might add) I found this forum with an old post from 2006 called "http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ba...leaking.html#b" that gave me a clue that this might be some sort of weeping hole, but I'm unsure.

The reason this pipe bothers me is that during heavy repeated rains (think hurricanes, tropical storms or nor'easters) the pipe starts leaking up to 10 gallons of water into my basement. This happens roughly a half a dozen times in a year. On top of this, during a few weeks of heavy rain that frequently happens in the fall, and during the final spring melt this pipe causes a flood in my basement with hundreds, possibly thousands, of gallons leaking into my basement. Aside from this pipe, my basement stays almost perfectly dry throughout the year, with tiny bits of water (think max a quart) coming in via some rusted bolts in the concrete.

So my question is: what is this pipe for and what would be the best way to tackle this problem? I've been afraid to put a bunch of concrete in the pipe hole due to the fear that this pipe is somehow crucial to the functionality of the house.

Thanks
 
  #2  
Old 10-23-14, 07:00 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,581
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
My guess would be it was installed when the wall was poured to leave a hole for a pipe (water or gas) that was never installed due to a change in plans.
 
  #3  
Old 10-23-14, 09:07 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
Did I read that correctly, that you can pull the pipe (completely) out of the wall? It is just a stub? If yes, then I would agree with Ray that it was done to allow for the entrance of some other pipe.

If the above is true then I would get a small tub of hydraulic cement (any big box mega-mart homecenter should have it), remove the pipe and plug the hole with the hydraulic cement, mixing it as directed on the tub.
 
  #4  
Old 10-23-14, 09:11 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 18,159
Received 69 Votes on 61 Posts
I agree with Ray and Furd.............
 
  #5  
Old 10-24-14, 04:19 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: usa
Posts: 466
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Although I agree with the other opinions I would also note that, from your picture, it appears there is efflorescence showing on the wall on a consistent line in the total field of the picture. Does that continue down the length of the wall?

Have you been able to determine if there is a perimeter drain tile to handle percolating water? Can you see any pipe ends that would drain that system anywhere on the property? Do you have a sump and pump in the basement that handles any ground water?

If you can pull the pipe out then look at the wall of the hole itself. If it appears it was drilled then somebody had something in mind. If it appears like rough concrete then it was in place when the concrete was poured although I can't imagine why it would be able to be pulled out if it was in place when the wall was poured.
 
  #6  
Old 10-24-14, 05:40 AM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Although I agree with the other opinions I would also note that, from your picture, it appears there is efflorescence showing on the wall on a consistent line in the total field of the picture. Does that continue down the length of the wall?
If with "efflorescence" you're referring to the white line-ish that runs down the wall, that line doesn't continue all the way down. It's stops above the pipe and there are no sections of it below the pipe where the blue bowl is.

However, one interesting thing with the wall is that those two vertical sections of concrete (with the lines and bolts in them, not quite sure how to explain this properly), are slightly different than any other section of concrete in the house foundation. They are different for two reasons: 1) they are at a slightly different angle, and 2) they appear slightly thinner (could be that they are then slightly thicker on the outside). I think that this is due to that section being built last.

Have you been able to determine if there is a perimeter drain tile to handle percolating water? Can you see any pipe ends that would drain that system anywhere on the property? Do you have a sump and pump in the basement that handles any ground water?
As far as I know there is no perimeter drain in this house. I do see a pipe that drains the sump pump, but that's the only pipe there is. The sump pump system is on the same side as the mystery pipe in the basement, but in the other corner. Therefore whenever the basement floods the flooding has to be really bad before the sump pump gets turned on. The sump pump wasn't original in this house, but was installed after the ice storm of 08 which caused 1 1/2 foot of water accumulation in the basement according to the previous owner (there is a visible water line to that effect). Since then the sump pump has been used once (by me). There is no pipe that would flood directly into the sump pump, instead a section of the sump pump edge has been cut away to allow the flood of water into the sump pump. But this happens very rarely.

If you can pull the pipe out then look at the wall of the hole itself. If it appears it was drilled then somebody had something in mind. If it appears like rough concrete then it was in place when the concrete was poured although I can't imagine why it would be able to be pulled out if it was in place when the wall was poured.
I tried to pull out the pipe just now with a wrench, but was unsuccessful. This is due to the basement being wet and the piece of cloth that appears to be between the pipe and the wall being saturated with water and holding it tighter. It's also possible that the previous contractor used a rubber hammer to put it back in place after he moved it. That being said, I do vaguely recall that the hole was drilled, since when I put my finger into it after removing the pipe a while back, the edges were quite smooth.
 
  #7  
Old 10-24-14, 05:53 AM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Just wanted to thank you all for your helpful replies on this matter. Here are a few nuggets of information that might help you (in case there's any point, since this matter seems to be more or less resolved anyway) help me further.

When I purchased the house the section where the mystery pipe is (the pipe itself is made of black plastic and cut roughly with a knife, instead of being cut straight with e.g. a pex cutter) was also used as a root cellar (the cellar walls were insulated instead of the outer walls of the basement, there were old potatoes and carrots in some wooden crates, and the room had a musty smell). The pipe itself was blocked with an old sock. When I had a small chimney fire in the house two years ago, a cleaning team from ServPro went through the whole basement and found tiny bits of mold in two separate locations. One of those locations was the wooden walls of the root cellar room, so I torn those walls down and since then the musty smell has been gone. I also have no radon problems in this house, so hence it couldn't have been used as any sort of radon ventilation like a friend of mine once suggested.

Thanks
 
  #8  
Old 10-25-14, 03:40 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: usa
Posts: 1,348
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
water leaks out of the pipe when it rains because wtr level outside your home bsmt walls is at least as deep as the pipe is high,,, wtr seeks its own level so, if the pipe's 9" above the floor, standing wtr depth outside's 10" - you just can't ' se ' it,,, as to why its there, who cares - little late to be worrying about that now,,, present function's relieving wtr outside your bsmt walls,,, plug it up & it'll find another way into your bsmt

so - what do you want to do about the leaking water - run a hose to the sump OR continue with the shallow bucket ? sumps & pumps are fine IF wtr can get to them
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: