Flooded Cellar

About once a year, my parents get an inch of water in the cellar. Here is the situation.
Cellar is (no surprise) below ground. We had five inches rain yesterday (surprise). Ending up with one inch in the cellar.
Sump pump aparently died, so Dad went out to buy another one. Got the "another" one plumbed in, and the drain to the street is clogged.
We ended up with the pump running through a flex hose, out to the street.
Questions: What is a good water level alarm, preferably battery power. So that Dad will know that the sump is dead, preferably before the water is an inch deep?
Second: How to keep a line from the cellar to the storm sewer clear. We suspect it is very old cast iron, and tree roots are blocking it. What can we pour into the drain to kill or slow or rot tree roots?
I'm sure there is a lot of wisdom out there in news group land, and I thank you in advance.
--

Christopher A. Young
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The solution to your blocked sump pump line is to run a new one. With a failing cast iron pipe with tree roots, that is the only viable solution.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Alarm: http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS/EN_US/diy_main/pg_diy.jsp?CNTTYPE=PROD_META&CNTKEY=misc%2FsearchResults.jsp&MID76&frmSearchStr=water+alarm&cm_ven=hd_goog&cm_cat=Search&cm_pla&&cm_ite=bid10022573-Water_Alarm
You will likely need to cut and past that address. This is only one of many available. It is just under $10 at Home Depot but others like it should be available almost anywhere. As you requested it is battery operated, but you may want to consider AC power. Keep in mind that it only works if someone remembers to replace the battery; something very easy to forget when it is something like that in the basement.
As for the pipe; don't try to fix it. You may be able to clear it, but that would only be a temp move it would only do the same thing again. Replace it with a water tight plastic pipe. They cause less problems since the old iron ones tended to leak just enough to attract tree roots.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

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The 10$ alarm from the Borg doesnt have an alarm you will hear well. It is quiet. You need the alarm upstairs. Stormin your a locksmith, HVAC Pro, Apliance repair Pro, you mean you never heard of yearly rodding! Alt Hvac rods you regularly.
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YOu could run polyflex, or, if it's a straight shot to wherever it goes, even the next size smaller PVC down the inside of the cast iron, after rooting it out. That would save digging a new trench.
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I am now sixty six years old. When I was a teenager I spent many hours helping with attempts to clear the maple tree roots from the sewer line at mother's ancestral home by rodding and/or pumping in lye dissolved in water. We never did get around to hiring somebody to dig it up and replace it since we found than an annual visit from Roto Rooter would cost about the same as our estimate of the interest which could be earned on the money required for the digging and replacing job. We sold the place in 1997 so it is no longer our problem.
Stormin Mormon wrote:

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Stormin:
SM> Questions: What is a good water level alarm, preferably battery power. So SM> that Dad will know that the sump is dead, preferably before the water is an SM> inch deep? Marlin P. Jones (www.mpja.com) has a "Water Detector Kit", 5292-RB, $9.95. 6-12vDC. (Perhaps use a rechargeable 9v across the leads from an appropriate wall wart to provide a float charge on the battery?) The water height would depend at what level you place the sensor.
Speaker is included. You might want to do a little circuit modification to either move the speaker to upstairs where you can hear it or an electronic relay/switch to activate a bell (nasty striker bell like a cheap doorbell?). Remember the battery has to provide sufficient current to run the bell. ...And you might want to also have a shut-off switch as you don't want all that noise when you are aware of the problem with the sump pump!
SM> Second: How to keep a line from the cellar to the storm sewer clear. We SM> suspect it is very old cast iron, and tree roots are blocking it. What can SM> we pour into the drain to kill or slow or rot tree roots? Probably need to have Roto-Rooter come out to clear the root clog initially. Copper sulfate comes to mind for use after that, but not 100% sure -- it's a common chemical to clean sewer lines but might be just as cheap (and a lot easier than the monthly treatment) to have the sewer company come out yearly.
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
* New England DOS: Ya reckon? (Ayeh/Shrug)
--
RoseReader 2.52 P003186
The Safe BBS Bettendorf, IA 563-359-1971
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