sump pump depth


Old 05-05-03, 01:58 PM
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Question sump pump depth

Please help a new homeowner position the sump pump in the well. I live in the Chicago, Illinois area and own a 55 year old cape with cinderblock basement walls and a 3" thick concrete basement floor. The sump pump well is located along the front wall of the house and is approx 4 feet deep with two 4" clay tile drains leading to it. I recently replaced the check valve to the pump and rerouted the 1 1/2" PVC. In so doing I decided to lower the pump in the pit a bit lower. (previously it had been sitting on a full cinder block turned on it's side- effectively raising the pump 16" from the bottom of the pit. Now my pump seems to run more frequently----which leads to my question......How far below the clay tile drains to I want to keep my water level in the sump pit? It seems that when I unplug the sump, it backs up almost to the clay drains and stops rising. (when it's not raining that is) Is it better to have some hydrostatic pressure around the foundation? Could this in some way compromise the foundations integrity? One last item of note. the sump well is made of concrete and just below one of the clay tile drains there is a 3/4" pipe which goes through the pit wall into the gravel around the sump. 99% of the water which comes into the pit seems to come through this small pipe. What is the purpose of this pipe? Any input you can give is greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-05-03, 03:38 PM
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All the block did was keep the pump's bottom, which is where it sucks in the water, from sucking in dirt and sand which will wear out the pump. You should have the pump sitting on something.
Water standing in the clay tiles may keep the concrete floor from settling, as the dirt is moist, but excess water is pumped off, draining all water may cause some problems.
As to the 3/4" line, could be just about anything. If you have a high water bill, you may want to look at this closer. Could be some sort of drain, which is what it sounds like, but the size is aweful small.

More questions, ask away and someone will answer you.

BTW: You want to drill a small hole 3/16 or so into the new drain line you just put in. Place this hole above the sump pump, but below the check valve, but above the regular standing water level. This will allow air to enter the line below the check valve to allow water to drain back into the sump pit, and not vacuum/air lock the pump. Some new sump pumps require this hole for their warranty coverage. Just a thought...
Old 05-05-03, 06:00 PM
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Thanks for the info, I did not know about the "breather" hole in the discharge line. I'll do that tonight! As for the small pipe running to the pit beneath the clay tile. It definitely is ground water and appears to drain the gravel immediately around the pit, when it gets overloaded the clay tile begins to drain, but never very much. I'm still considering raising the pump (water level to just beneath the small drain pipe but still beneath the clay tile, but I'm concerned about putting pressure on the outside walls of the foundation and basement. Any additional thoughts would be appreciated.
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