Sump Pump Level

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  #1  
Old 03-31-05, 06:39 AM
Wamslers
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Sump Pump Level

I grew up out west and recently moved to Michigan. I bought a new house, which has a sump pump. As I had previously never seen a sump pump before, I hope my question isn't too absurd.

My sump pump is constantly pumping water out. No, the float isn’t stuck—there is just a lot of water that drains into the hole where the pump is. My friends and neighbors who also own homes in Michigan are even surprised by how much water I am pumping out.

I tried an experiment this week. I had installed a back-up sump pump last summer, so I unplugged the regular sump pump to see how long it took before the back-up went off. To my surprise, the water level in the hole went up and stopped about half an inch shy of where the back-up sump pump should go off. I stayed that way for about 15 hours before I got nervous and just plugged the regular sump pump back in.

My question(s) is(are): how far should I let the hole fill up? I understand that under a basement there is a level of sand on top of a level of gravel. Is it bad if I let the water get into the sand? Will the sand wash away when the water drains? Conversely, is it bad to be pumping all the water out like mad as I am currently doing (other than wear and tear on the pump)?

Any advice or concerns you may have would be appreciated.

Thanks
 
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Old 03-31-05, 06:51 AM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
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Wink

Sounds like you found how high the water table is there where you live. Id say its up to you what you want to do there and try and keep the water table down so it dont come into the basement.

ED
 
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Old 03-31-05, 06:55 AM
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The pump should be working until the water level reaches whatever level you have the shut-off set at. Is your sump hole not lined? Meaning that is it just a dirt hole and there is not concrete or plastic surrounding it? That would be the only way the sand would be disturbed. Most pumps I have seen are set to shut off about 3/4 of the way up the inside of the sump hole. The water is coming from somewhere. Is the grading on your home going towards the foundation? If so, it needs to be re-graded. Good luck.
 
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Old 03-31-05, 07:29 AM
Wamslers
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“The water is coming from somewhere.” I’ve been telling myself the same thing. The grade is all right, but there are a few small things I am going to do this spring to help. Yet the pump goes off the same even after a week or more of no precipitation.

The hole is lined with plastic. If the only way to disturb the sand is to overfill the lining I will try to set my float up higher. Right now it is set about halfway up the inside of the sump hole.

Thanks for your advice.
 
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Old 03-31-05, 09:53 AM
C
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Is there a pipe feeding the water into your pit? Perhaps the water level didn't change much in your experiment because it might be backfilling into the drain tiles. Once the drain tile is filled, the water level in the pit would rise and then overflow.
 
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Old 03-31-05, 11:09 AM
Wamslers
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Yes, there is a perforated PCV pipe that dumps water into the hole.

So I guess the perfect place to set the float would be to start the pump as soon as the drain tiles are filled and the water starts to rise again.
 
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Old 03-31-05, 12:32 PM
C
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I'm not a professional plumber, but I would not advise allowing the drain tiles to fill up before your primary pump switches on. Allowing the drain tiles to constantly fill means that you constantly have this excess water surrounding your foundation (not a good thing). It does minimize the sump pump cycles, but think about whether your backup pump can handle the "load" if it is being asked to keep up with the volume of full drain tiles during a heavy T-storm with a power outage.

Rather, I would look at having the primary engage before you reach that level. Many of the pumps today that are equipped with a vertical shaft switch have a relatively short pumping cycle (4 to 5 inches of water). You can lengthen this via a different switch setup that increases the cycle range to a much higher level. A single wide-angle float can do this, but if you have a backup pump in the pit, you may not have sufficient "swing" clearance for the single float to operate. A double wide-angle float requires less swing space and you can separate the on vs. off level by a foot or more if you pit situation allows. If you go with the double wide-angle float, you may need to secure the float lines to the discharge pipe at 90 degree angles from each other to enable each float to swing independently from each other.
 
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