Best Automatic Utility Pump?


We live in a garden-level condo in a brick rowhouse built in the 1850's (we're in Boston, so everything's old). Our lower level is actually subterranean, with only one window to the outside via a window well sunk into our back patio. The window well has a drain, but it tends to clog easily. We've snaked it, poured chemicals down it, and even called Roto Rooter, but it will clog anyway. Roto Rooter said that in these old homes, the drains don't go anywhere, they just go into the earth, so that in heavy rain when the water table rises, the drain will flood and there's nothing to be done about it.
We are looking to purchase an automatic utility pump to place in the well during heavy rain and during weekends when we are not home. Are there any recommendations for reliable, effective automatic utility pumps?
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There are a few variables involved, like the flow rate you need and amount of head, but in general Zoeller pumps are very dependable. Here is a link to one: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=zoeller+pumps&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cidV9109397452517020&ei=Y-5CTJqNHsGB8gaWn4y1Cg&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved DcQ8wIwAg#
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met13 wrote:

Sure. Your needs are not much different from a "sump pump" (viz).
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wrote:

Forget a outside pump, its Boston and it freezes, one freeze and its trash. If it doesnt flood it doesnt matter , or get a windwow well cover, a window over the well. Now if you want a major plumbing job, an interior pump to the outside drain might work.
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Install pump indoors with line thru wall into window well, and sump pit with pump
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Would it be possible to put a cover over the well such as one of these? http://windowbubble.com/products.htm
That might be simpler and cheaper.
--
Work is the curse of the drinking class.

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Thanks for the suggestions and links. Unfortunately, major plumbing projects are not within our budget right now, so the window bubble and external pump are probably our only affordable options. I don't think the Boston winters will be too much of a problem for the pump, as it does not rain much in the winter and the snow does not funnel into the window well. The flooding is more of a spring/summer problem.
We took the measurements of the window well and will send to the Window Bubble for a quote. If the bubble is going to be too expensive (it's a very large window well - 52 inches by 50 inches), we will look into the Zoeller pumps.
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wrote:

Yea Boston winters, water doesnt expand when frozen in Boston.
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Sorry if I was unclear. Heavy rain/flooding is not a problem here in the winter, so we would not leave the utility pump outside for the winter months. It would be indoors, in a warm room, so freezing would not be a problem. We would not leave the pump outside at all, actually, except for times when we expect heavy rain or as a precaution when we are going away for the weekend in the summer.
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wrote:

Window well covers are fine, but is your setup such that the window well is considered an "escape route" ? If so, covering it might be a safety issue, maybe even some sort of a municipal violation with a fine.
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Yes, the window well is our fire escape route from the lower level of our home. According to some of the websites I've checked, some window bubble models have a latch underneath that opens the bubble if you need to escape from the basement. We've submitted our measurements for a window bubble quote but have not heard back yet. I am expecting the quote to be pretty high, since our window extends about a foot and half above ground (so the bubble would have to be elevated on one side to cover the whole window), it's a large window well (50"x52") and it will need a latch so we can get out if there's a fire. We may have to go back to the utility pump idea, in which case we will follow up on the Zoeller recommendation.
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