Plumbing Question-2 sumps

When I was doing the walk through 15 years ago at my then brand new house I asked the super why two sumps in the basement. He said one was connected to the drain tile and pumped out water around the foundation. Ok, what's the other for? He said notice where the sewer line is that goes out to the street. I said yes it's about 3' off the basement floor. He said that the discharge water from the washing machine has to be drained into this sump and then pumped up to the main line. Ok. Further he says that all the upstairs sinks and showers also drain into this sump. Why is that? He said that the amount of water from the washing machine was infrequent and not enough volume to cause the pump to switch on often enough. He said that water would sit in the sump and smell. The addition of the water from the upstairs sinks and showers would put more water in the sump more often which would be pumped out also more often which would keep the pump empty and cleaner. Ok I said and thought no more about it until the washing machine pump finally went south. I thought 15 years pretty good. I was discussing this with a friend who had just put in a battery backup and I was going to have him help me do the same on both my sumps (I know! I know! Should've been done 15 years ago-in any case this is the year). He thought this arrangement was the silliest thing. He said the water from upstairs should go right into the main line without first going into the sump and that if the cover fitted tightly you wouldn't have to worry about any smell (not that anyone was going to go into the very corner of the basement behind the furnace and freezer and take a whiff). What do the plumbers on the list have to say- is this arrangement the silliest ever? Steve Ignots
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Well Steve, If I had done the installation, I would have put everything that could make it to the sewer line elevation on the main line. I'd let the washing machine run seperately. Gravity is free - it costs money to operate the pump and with a closed reservoir (with the exception of maybe a small vent) there should be little to no odor accumulating. Gravity hasn't failed us yet - but electrical outages, mechanical breakdowns, etc. can be frustrating. At least if this pump went out - the most you would have to avoid doing is the laundry.
You mentioned that the contractor told you by connecting the other lines to the pumped system - it would keep it empty and cleaner. Hmmm - I wonder why it wouldn't be empty with just the washer - and another hmmm - the final cycle on washing machines is the rinse cycle - relatively clean water.
Just my thoughts.
Jim Mc Namara Master Plbr - 28+ years
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