best sump pump practice


I have a poured concrete full basement (not walkout), about 900 sqft (house is from 50's). This basement has an interior french drain that empties into a sump pit. My house has a slight hill in front and one side (slopes AWAY from house), and a flat back yard and other side. We also have gutters that drain away from house as well. My basement floor is approximately 6.5 feet below ground. During very heavy rains, say 3 inches or more in a single storm the sump starts to take on water (anything less than 3 inches of rain and the sump is bone dry). Even during these very big storms it looks like the french drains aren't taking in any water as the outlet pipe into the sump is always dry. If the rain continues the pump will run for about 5-10 seconds every 5 minutes. Is this too often? Again it's only during what I'd call big and rare (say 3-4 times a year) that the pump runs at all. None of my neighbors have sumps (all similar houses and land) and none get water in the basement. Is my pump simply fighting rising ground water?
This pump simply ejects the water though a 3/4 inch pvc pipe to the front yard about 10 feet from the house (very slightly downslope from the foundation). Should the pipe go further away? Is there a better way than having it shoot all over the yard, looks like a fountain.
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Yes, and the cycle time is too short. Can the float be adjusted so that the pump kicks on at a higher water level?

It's doing its job of keeping water out of your basement. :-)

MUCH too small. Should be 1 1/2 or 2 inches.

Yes. The farther the better.

Using the proper size of pipe should eliminate that problem.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Hi, I unfortunately got a fair amount of experience with sump pumps at my previous house.
It sounds like you're the lucky land holder with the underground water table outlet. As Doug said you're going to want to check the float and see if you can adjust it.
For getting it away from the house, run it as far as you can. Not sure how your land area is, but farther is better. ;-) One thing you can do if you're limited is dig a dry well to have it empty into... Dig a hole, fill it with large stones, cover with a layer of dirt and sod, and have the pipe empty above it. Friends of mine did that and it worked great.
Good luck.. Hope you stay dry!!!
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I'll look into running it say 20 feet (which is about 2/3 of my front yard) away from the house. What is considered "normal running" for a sump pump? I'll definitely see if I can adjust the float switch to run less often. I guess I'm trying to gauge the importance of my getting a backup pump (either battery or water pressure based), and how much worry and effort I want to put into this (and just how much this pump is needed). My house and my neighbors is at the top oh a high point along the road, why would my lot have a higher water table than anyone else's?
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Why stop there? The farther away you can get it, the better.

Depends a lot on how wet your ground is, but 5 to 10 seconds every 5 minutes is waaaaay too much. The problem there isn't really so much the frequency, but the extremely short duration. Much better to have it run longer, less often.

How important is it to you, to keep your basement from flooding? Homeowner's insurance may or may not pay for that... and, in any event, the cost of a battery backup system (e.g. Basement Watchdog) is probably less than your deductible.
Get one.

Maybe your gutters aren't dumping your rainwater far enough away from the foundation... or maybe your neighbor's gutters drain into your yard.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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