New sump pump installation questions

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  #1  
Old 01-31-05, 08:40 AM
sajara
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Question New sump pump installation questions

Hello,

Thanks so much to the people who devote their time and expertise to answering questions on this site.

I bought a house two years ago, and the basement has leaked each spring (plus this month, when we had "spring" in January here in Michigan). When the snow and ground thaw, water comes up through the floor everywhere in the basement and in at the seams where the walls meet the floors. After about 2 to 3 weeks, the water subsides and there are no more problems, even in heavy rains.

I have gotten estimates (and long lectures) from professional basement waterproofers, and I've read everything on this forum and in the basement forum to find answers to my questions. But I have a few unanswered ones.

First, does it sound like installing a sump will solve this problem, or will I really have to install perimeter drains and/or excavate the outside?

Second, where do I put the sump? I've read in this forum that the pump should be in the "lowest" place, but I'm confused about that. The land around my home is pretty even, although one neighbor's yard slopes down toward my house until it reaches an upward berm that's about 2 feet from my foundation. In the basement, the entire floor slopes slightly toward the middle point where the main drain is. I can't tell if water is coming in more in one place than another -- it looks like equal-opportunity water coming in absolutely everywhere.

Third, how do I choose a pump? I've read a lot about backup pumps in this forum, but there's not much about purchasing a primary pump. How do I begin to estimate how much water needs to be pumped out, etc.? And which are the better pumps?

Thanks so much for any insights you can lend.

~Natalie
 
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  #2  
Old 01-31-05, 07:29 PM
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Hi Sajara,
- I would highly recommend having a perimeter drainage system around the house.
You say the floor in the basement "slopes slightly toward the middle point where the main drain is." -If this main drain is handling the water accumulation adequately, then I really can't see any advantage in having a sump pump. If it's not handling it properly, then look into having it roto-cleaned to improve drainage.
I hope I've clarified your situation, if I've misunderstood your point, post back and let me know, otherwise, good luck with it

Do it Right - Do it once.
 
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Old 01-31-05, 07:57 PM
W
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Perimeter drain

I agree with NOMIND on the perimeter drain. I had problems similar to yours about 24 years ago with the home I still live in, and that drain (which all my downspouts now are connected to Im sure made the difference. I also had a 4" diameter basement drain that had probably narrowed to just a 1" diameter opening thru it from soap and other debris that had gone thru it and dried, gone thru it and dried. etc. I discovered this the hard way, after a very long sustained rainstorm. If you put in a perimeter drain, you have to have someplace to go with it. We had so many problems here in our subdivision, the city looked the other way when all of us ran our plastic pipes out underground and then cut the curb to let the water go into the street. (they are all tied into a separate drain that they put in when our new street went in this year. They would be a little upset if we cut these new curbs! I would not suggest doing it in YOUR neighborhood either. Call your City services director and explain the problem. They might be a big help to you. My other houses I watch for my aging mother in law and my own dad have sumps with pumps. I use a better grade of Zoeller submersible pumps in those homes (about $200 apiece, with battery back up pumps mounted above the main pumps for an extra couple of hours of sleep after the power goes out.) Good luck!
 
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Old 02-01-05, 05:52 AM
sajara
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Maybe I have something drastically wrong, but I thought a sump pump would assist in lowering the water table before the water rose to a level that would enable it to permeate the floor. Once the water is in the basement, it runs to the main drain & drains out fine. But I would like to prevent water from entering in the first place.

Have I completely misunderstood sump pumps? Also, nomind, you mean a perimeter drain inside the basement, like french drains, right? Versus an exterior perimeter drain?

Thanks again!
 
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Old 02-01-05, 10:16 AM
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Hi Sajara,
- I guess I didn't make myself clear enough. -A perimeter drain is around the OUTSIDE of a house, purpose- to collect water off the roof etc and divert it AWAY from the house. This is precisely so it will not soak into the basement !
You have definitely misunderstood the purpose of a sump pump. It is simply to keep your basement dry. If you already have an adequate drain a pump is superfluous.
Forget about "lowering the water table " , - When you were a little kid didn't you ever dig holes on the beach and wonder why you could never empty all that water ?

Do it Right - Do it once.
 
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Old 02-01-05, 10:58 AM
sajara
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Nomind,

That's exactly what I want to do -- keep my basement dry. My main drain certainly isn't helping me do that; it's just giving the water a place to go once it comes in.

I guess I don't understand how exterior perimeter drains will help me when the water table rises (at least to the exclusion of a sump pump). I don't have any leaking during rains and no water coming in through the walls. I thought perimeter drains were more for helping problems caused by rain, improper grading, roof discharge, etc. Maybe all those hours-long lectures from prospective contractors didn't enlighten me as much as I thought.

If not mine, what type of situation would require a sump pump?

Signed,

 
  #7  
Old 02-01-05, 03:27 PM
W
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Main drain

I wonder about you having water coming in the basement. Perhaps your house is set up like mine with footer drains that tie into the main drain BELOW the level of the concrete floor. If your footer drains are working properly, they should intercept MOST of the water coming in from the outside no matter how high the water table is. Then it would be channeled to your main drain and out to the street or storm sewer or whatever. You should only need a sump pump if you didnt have a MAIN drain that you describe. Just for grins, take the cover off your main drain and see if there isnt a couple of extra holes below floor level that might be from the footers. If they are plugged anywhere, the water pressure will force the water to come in under the walls and over the floor to get to the drain..(not what you want) MY outside PERIMETER drains got rid of the EXCESS water pressure on my footers so things remained dry downstairs even in the worst rain conditions.
 
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Old 02-02-05, 01:35 PM
sajara
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Ohhhhhhhh. NOW I understand. I didn't realize a main drain was supposed to drain water *before* it came up through the floor. Thank you, WLM13!!

I tried to see if mine had the holes you described, but I can't really see underneath the opening & off to the sides underneath very well to tell. I tried feeling around, but that didn't help either.

If there is a footage draining system to the main, and it is clogged, how does one fix that? And would a sump not be a good backup system for clogs happening again?

Also, if I drop in a sump, do I need any kind of subfloor drains going to the pit, or do I just install it independent of any other draining system?

(And in the spring, I am definitely going to do exterior perimeter drains.)

Thanks!
 
  #9  
Old 02-02-05, 02:51 PM
W
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Sump Pump

Ill try to answer as best as I can.

You probably couldnt remove the drain cover to see the extra drain holes. It is usually imbeded in the concrete floor. It is not a big deal to loosen it to check, but you might want to have somebody who has at least done it once do it so it doesnt damage anything.

Every house that I have owned had the footer drains going to it. The house I now own as I said before has no pump. The footer drains go into a very small sump area, and the water then goes out a pipe to the street storm sewer. No pump is necessary here. If I wanted to replace this system, which I DONT) No electric bill or pumps to replace every few years) I would put the new sump right where this one is, the footers will run to it, and then I would pump the water where the city code permitted me to do it.

If you can take a digital picture of your floor drain set up and attach it to your next post...someone will know what to do , or who to send you to next to possibly fix your problem, and not cost you the money some of your possibly unnecessary solutions will.

If you are in Monroe or Lenawee County, Ill even look at it for you!
 
  #10  
Old 02-02-05, 02:57 PM
W
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Cleaning footer drains

I forgot to tell you that any drain cleaning company can clean a footer drain for you with the right equipment. Older houses have clay tile, newer ones have plastic pipe. The older clay ones can cause problems because they get crushed. If thats the case, you have some excavation work to do around the house to replace them. There are interior drain installers too, but I wont comment on the effectiveness or practicality of that. If I had crushed tiles and and wasnt going to stay there I might go that route, but I would rather put it back to original if I was pressed.
 
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