Back up pump problem

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Old 01-21-20, 01:10 PM
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Back up pump problem

Hello,

photos of my setup below, installed by previous homeowner. Had our first power outage last week. Thank goodness I was up late when the power went off. Went down to see the backup in action. Water was coming in like never before due to the storm. I had tested the backup before...it turned on and pumped water out......

...however, it was only during a real event that I noticed a problem.

The float on the backup seems to be positioned too high. It never came on during the storm, the excess water filled the pit and then continued to fill the two discharge pipes. I watched as it appeared as though the water was no longer rising, but rather backfilling the discharge pipes.

at that point I was getting worried and manually engaged the float on the backup. The backup was able to drop the water level a few inches until I could see a very strong flow coming into the pit from the discharge pipes. The water level then seemed to hold at that level as the pump wasn’t able to drain the pit any faster than it was coming in. Two or three minutes later the power came back on and my primary pump emptied the pit.

so I’ve come to realize that the backup float is too high. I lowered it about half an inch but I’m limited by the existing abs and copper piping and I’m limited as the backup float was installed directly above the primary pump. Who would do that? Shouldn’t there be no obstruction at all below the backup float so as to allow proper height adjustment?

is there any way of correcting all this? Or do I need to dismantle the entire setup and reposition (or rotate) the backup so that the float can be lowered beyond the top of the primary pump? This will mean scrapping the existing abs and copper and starting over?
 
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Old 01-21-20, 01:28 PM
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Wondering if it’s possible or recommended to alter the rod that the float is attached to. Could I get a longer Rod, put a couple of bends in it and position it lower and out of the way from the top of the primary?
 
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Old 01-21-20, 01:58 PM
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Are you certain your discharge pipes are actually for discharging water? Do you know where they lead? Do you have other pipes that bring water into the sump?

It sounds like the pump was setup properly. If there was another, gravity powered escape for the water the pump does not need to operate. It only needs to operate if the water rises high enough to threaten flooding the basement.
 
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Old 01-21-20, 02:01 PM
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Water is coming out of the two discharge pipes as I write. They are about half covered in water at the moment. Iíve unplugged the primary.

I think as before, the discharge pipes are slowing filling as the water in the sump isnít rising. Isn't it bad for the discharge pipes to fill and remain full? My uncle had his discharge pipes freeze and destroy the footings.
 
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Old 01-21-20, 06:25 PM
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Are we confusing drain lines coming into the sump vs pump discharge lines ?

The pipes coming in the bottom of the sump are bringing water into the pit. The water level is not always kept low enough for them to be above the water line. They do sometimes partially fill with water. Those lines should all be low enough to never freeze.

Discharge lines are the pipes coming from the pump themselves and going outside. In extremely cold weather... it is very possible for a discharge line to freeze.

I agree with Dane on the pump setup. The primary pump should handle all the water discharge. The backup pump only runs when the pit rises to a level where it could overflow. That level will be over the normal level.
 
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Old 01-21-20, 07:03 PM
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You could probably get away with having the pump start when any of the fat pipes dumping into the sides of the pit get 2/3 covered. With two pumps, start by trying it with the first starting when the fat pipes are 1/2 covered and the second pump starting if the pipes get to 3/4 covered.

There needs to be an air pocket in the fat underground drain pipes going their full length under the perimeter of the basement. So the pump needs to start soon enough that those pipes should never get completely covered.

It is possible that y our pit is too crowded for proper operation. It does no harm and actually improves the system performance if you have a second pit next to the first pit for the second pump. THe two would be connected with a fat pipe near their bottoms.

If you get flooding of the basement floor because the level in the pit got too high, allow a week after you make a pump adjustment before judging whether your adjustment worked, or was good enough, or was not.
 
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Old 01-21-20, 07:35 PM
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Basement is fully finished so no plans for any in depth changes at this moment,

I ran my test for about 6 hours today, filled 5 or 6 buckets of water and dumped them in the pit. The level only went up a little as most of the water flowed back down into the drain (weeping) lines.

headed to bed now, so I manually started the back up. Water level dropped about half an inch right away. Then it took about 3-4 minutes for the back up to clear the water in the drain lines and the back up stopped.

im still not sure if my backup will come on before the drain lines are full. It’s never turned on it’s own.

ive plugged my primary back in. Will try testing again tomorrow morning first thing by unplugging the primary and see if the backup will come on at some point. Filling the pit with water by hand seems fruitless....will just let it fill on it’s own.

ps. Yes, I was confusing drain (weeping) pipes vs discharge, the discharge pipe leads to the outside and then underground, (that’s a whole other issue.....not sure where it ultimately drains too......connecting to the sewer is illegal here.....the city has tested for illegal hookups and not mentioned anything to me. They’ve been having issues with substantial more waste water than delivered water and are trying to figure out why. We’re on a lakefront and I haven’t been able to find any discharge to the lake either),
 
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Old 01-21-20, 07:42 PM
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is it or is it not a problem if the drain pipes get full of water.? Are you saying that it will eventually lead to the sump overflowing?

after I manually started the back up, the volume coming from the drain pipes was a lot. I wonder even if the back up does start on it’s own......would it be able to handle the flow?
 
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Old 01-22-20, 06:45 AM
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Yes it is a problem if the underground drain pipes (weeping tiles; French drain) gets completely filled with water. This will not cause the sump (pit) to overflow but could result in unexpected water on the floor away from the pit.

It is not a problem when the underground drain pipes get partly filled with water. The water seeping in from the soil under the house over the full length of the drain pipes queues up in the drain pipes until the sump pump comes on to expel the water via the initially vertical outlet pipe hopefully to somewhere away from the house.

If the first pump is too fast, it will almost empty out the pit and stop before all the queued up water in the drain pipes has a chance to dump into the pit (you said 3 minutes?). Then this water will wait until the next pump cycle and as it turns out the cycles will occur more often. If the first pump is too slow, new water may come in from the underground drain pipes too fast during a heavy rain storm to be expelled. You do not have control over this; any one model of pump has only one speed.

If the underground pipes get completely full and stay that way for long periods of time, say, the level in the pit is not high enough to turn on the pump then the far side of the basement floor can get flooded while the pit is not quite up to the brim. Thereafter it may several days of normal sump pump cycling for the soil under the house to desaturate enough for the basement floor flooding to subside.
 
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Old 01-22-20, 07:05 AM
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From reading all the posts it appears that your system is working as intended.

With the power outage the water simply collected in the weep tiles.

Weep tiles surround and are installed at the bottom of the footing so even if they fill completely the water level is still below the basement slab and having that full of water is not going to create any long term issue. In fact the entire area below the pipes is likely saturated all the time!

 
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