SUMP PUMP alternative

someone mentioned to me that in teh newer home people dont use sump pumps but some other type of mechanism to get water out of the basement well, and appearantly it doesnt require electricity
First i wanted to know what type of mechanism this is, and if i can install it myself.
Also if i was to have it installed what does it typically cost for a plumber do it?
im trying to find some sure fire method to prevent floods as i want to finish my basement and make it into the ULTIMATE game room. and i cannot afford to have a single flood!
thanks in advance for your help.
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There are a few options; obviously all require some sort of pumping mechanism.
What I think you are talking about is a water powered sump pump. These are not inexpensive however, and because of that, it's not likely worth your while to install it yourself (Penny wise pound foolish).
I'd say roughly you are looking at between $1000 - $1500; but it depends on many things, like if you already have a sump pit, how far water lines would need to be run to the pump, etc.
As an aside, if you are really going to lay out the jack for a SERIOUS game room, get a good insurance policy, just to keep all your bases covered.
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I won't go into the water powered systems, since others have already mentioned their pricey and complicated issues.
You may want to look into battery backup sump pumps. These use a deep cycle battery and a small pump, which takes over in the event your power goes out or your pump malfunctions or gets clogged. These cost around $200 to $300, require a simple splice and a backflow valve in your existing sump system, and needs almost no maintenance except perhaps checking up on the battery every year or so.
Sears sold them a while back, and may still offer them, and there's always Ebay.
Pagan
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snipped-for-privacy@jayparekh.com wrote:

Gravity. Foundation draines in homes in large developed cities tend to flow into the storm sewer.

use standard electric sump with water powered backup if your city does not provide a storm sewer deep enough.

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Respectfully,


CL Gilbert
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snipped-for-privacy@jayparekh.com wrote:

While there are water jet pumps that use the city water supply to pump out the water, I have not heard of anyone using those as the primary system. They do make good, but expensive back up systems where you have city water. Since the electricity tends to go out during storms that cause flooding, the water powered pump is a good backup but will not help if you have a well that also runs on electricity.
--
Joseph Meehan

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Some houses are destined to flood no matter what you do. You can mitigate the possibility of power failure with a standby generator, but then you have to keep it maintained and ready to go at a seconds notice. If you just have one sump pump and one generator, a simple failure of either one can leave you (literally) up-the-creek.
If your just buying a house, look at the elevations. Do the other hourses around yours flood? Is the whole lot in a lowlying area?
Perhaps its better to buy the house at the top of the hill.
Beachcomber
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In alt.home.repair on 21 Jul 2005 09:22:34 -0700 snipped-for-privacy@jayparekh.com posted:
Posted and mailed. Reply by post. By mail if I don't reply and it's specifically for me.

A failing sump pump is not necessarily your biggest risk.
Although I woudn't flood if I were on a hill, and although my basement flooded (an eighth inch deep) about 3 times when the rain made the stream rise and the stream flooded the sewers and that backed up through the basement sink, in fact, I face no danger it seems from the sump pump not working.
Despite the fact that the stream has risen to two feet from my fence, to a place which is less than 30 feet from my basement and probably 4 feet above my basement floor, and despite the fact that water just pours into the sump though both pipes that surround the base of the foundation, from both directions, and my sump pump often runs a lot, I think that is only to keep the water level in the sump at 18 inches below the basement floor instead of 6 inches below the basement floor. When I raised the float level so that it started to pump at 10 inches below the basement floor instead of 12 inches below, the amount of pumping time dropped by about 80 percent. Now, light rains never cause the pump to go on. If I went up another inch it would drop another 10 or 15 percent, and I think if I went up to 5 inches below the floor it would never run at all. Water would never get higher than that.
The fact that the pump runs a lot does not mean that if you turned off the pump the basement would flood. You have to check. And you have to do so when all the conditions are right for flooding to occur. Start when one condition is right, when it's raining heavily.
If you already own the house, I would go down there during the heaviest storms, and also the longest periods of rain, and when the soil outside the house is the most drenched, and watch what happens when you loosen the collar, and let the float rise all the way up without turning on the pump. See how close to the floor it gets. Of course before you do this, mark the previous collar location with an indelible marker, or a crayon that will last until you put it back. AND KNOW HOW to turn the pump on with your fingers. There is a 1 or 2 inch plastic arm which the collar hits that turns the pump on. Let it cycle a couple times to see how it works. And keep a screwdriver or allen wrench handy to retighten the collar if you have to leave suddenly, the phone rings. And don't just tighten it, but watch a couple cycles to make sure it's still working.
I would still never get rid of the sump pump, and I replaced it when it rusted. And it once rained here 38 days out of 40. Just short of Biblical. I had just moved here and I didn't think to do any testing during that period. Maybe it would have flooded the sump.
My problem, flooding through the basement sink, is not that common afaik, but it would happen because of the stream every 3 or 4 years if I didn't plug the sink with a rubber cork, held down by a piece of wood that is jambed under the shelf I built above the washer-dryer. Even then, once it lifted up the shelf even though there was a lot of stuff on it. I hadn't screwed the shelf to the wall bracket it rested on. Even now, there is the chance the sink will fall off the wall the next time water pressure is pushing up on the cork. Hmmm. I'm not sure if that would matter??????, but I have to put legs under the sink anyhow, for when it falls off the wall from the weight of the water.
But the sink also backed up when a grease log clogged the local sewer for half of my n'hood of 100 townhouses. Caused apparently by people washing greasy dishes in the sink or dishwasher. Apparently no one's fault. Apparently no one's drains drained, but it was the people at the bottom of the hill, yet up sewer from the clog, whose sinks backed up. Because my sink was stopped, I only got a teeny bit when the shelf was lifted up.
But there are more ways to flood, all of which have affected me.
Forgetting that the basement sink has a stopper in it, with a piece of wood jambed against the shelf, and then doing the laundry. I've only done that once.
Ways to avoid flooding, all of which I should have done before they got me, although I was home each time and caught them quickly:
Turn off the water lines to your washing machine whenever you unload the washer, or use steel covered hoses, or maybe even both. I was probably sleeping when this one started, or I had just run the bathroom sink or toilet. (The hoses took up the shock when the water was turned off, by a faucet or a toilet valve. But taking up the slack is what made one burst. This happens all the time to one house or another.) Lucky I heard the water running in the basement.
Don't use vinyl tubing to your humidifier or refrigerator ice maker (or anything else if there are other things). Use copper, and don't fold it when you install it.
Put your water heater in a plastic tray, with the drain routed to sump. If you have no tray, note the water when it first leaks on the floor. More is coming, suddenly. (I didnt' notice because I thought the basement was still wet from the previous leak from one of the other causes.)
Cut holes in the lip of the sump. My plastic lip is at least 3/8 inch high, and though it's pretty, afaict there is no need for any lip above the cement. It keeps water on the floor from draining into the sump. The whole lip need not be cut away. Pour water on the floor and see where it first reaches the lip, and that is where to drill or cut. Holes that are too small won't actually let water through. Maybe use a saw or a knife or a hot knife to cut out a 3 inch piece.
In my location, I can't put a toilet in the basement, because there is no way to plug it, even though the rough-in is there.
I've thought about putting a tray underneathe the sink, with a pipe to the sump, or cutting a channel in the basement floor. But my basement is crowded and they're on opposite sides of the room. If I were building a house, I would consider putting them next to each other with the floor sloped to
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> A failing sump pump is not necessarily your biggest risk.

I have a stream that runs next to my house as well. Turns into a kind of swamp further toward the end of my property.

Well this depends. I can unplug my sump now and the water will raise quickly to the level of the drain tiles and slow down while the tiles are backfilling with water. So you have to wait a considerable time for those tiles to fill up. Then since you have previously lowered the ground water level around yoru house by sumping, you will have to wait till the ground water level raises as well.
So if you unplug the pump and it only raises to 6" from the top of the pit, you still have to wait a few days to know for sure if this level is settled. And yes you also need to know what will happen to it in a rain storm.

I wouldnt expect this to be common. You should install a backflow valve in your main sewer if this is the case. Also I am surprised that you do not have any floor drains. Those would let out the water before it reached the level of the sink.

Interesting. They told me when I put in my washer to use the metal hoses since they dont break as often as the rubber ones which must be widespread. Also sounds like you could use a watter hammer arrester?

I loop the copper hose like a spring.

Sometimes they try to seal the sump pit to keep out Radon.

What do you mean by "plug it?" I have just installed a pipe in my basement floor and will soon install the toilet. Should I be concerned?

Leads me to believe you dont have any floor drains.
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CL Gilbert
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CL Gilbert wrote Well this depends. I can unplug my sump now and the water will raise quickly to the level of the drain tiles and slow down while the tiles are backfilling with water. So you have to wait a considerable time for those tiles to fill up. Then since you have previously lowered the ground water level around yoru house by sumping, you will have to wait till the ground water level raises as well.
So if you unplug the pump and it only raises to 6" from the top of the pit, you still have to wait a few days to know for sure if this level is settled. And yes you also need to know what will happen to it in a rain storm.
CL Gilbert
========= Well said. A gold star for somebody who understands how a sump pump based drainage system is typically designed & operates.
Gideon
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In alt.home.repair on Fri, 22 Jul 2005 09:03:11 -0400 "CL (dnoyeB)

FTR, townhouse, end of group. One perforated corrugated 6 inch black plastic pipe goes around the side and rear of the house, and the other one only the front of the house, 90% of which has the "patio" and stoop in front of it. That only leaves a little to enter though that pipe, but I do see some.

I can believe that. Try not to mow the lawn then. ;) The city map of my parents' neighborhood showed a stream 3 doors from our house, but they just a built a regular house there. His back yard was like a swamp when it rained, and a 10 foot by 8 foot part of our yard was too, in the spring. The self-propelled lawnmower left ruts it the yard. Hilarious.
My house was built where an auto junk yard had been, and they built up some lots with fill. Probably my little lot the most. The stream is about 8 feet wide by 6 inches deep most of the time, but when it rains enough it can go to 30 feet wide by 10 feet deep in 10 hours. I should try white water canoeing.

I didn't think that was much of a factor, but I guess I didn't pay attention.

I'll try all this, but it will have to wait until there is a lot more rain.

Right. Two different things, or three if you count long medium rains and drenching rains of whatever length.

That's one reason I haven't put the legs on yet. I noticed during the last flood, when I was teaching my neighbors how to siphon out the sink, that one sink had legs added. I should ask them why, but they probably won't know.

An anti-backflow valve? I don't think I need that because I don't think the level has ever gotten more than 4 feet above the basement floor, and the main drain is not in a wall and has never shown any leakage.
I do have it in the sink drain, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't work well. I wish I could have tested when new, but since then, I've used my washer a lot and it doesn't have a lint trap. Rather the manual says it cuts the lint up into little pieces. I've used a variety of things to catch the little pieces before they go down the drain, but I'm pretty sure enough has gotten down that the valve won't shut well anymore. I mean, I took out the piece of wood twice when the water outside was high enough and water started gushing up through the drain.
Plastic drain pipe, and all I could find was a flapper valve. Is there a better, less cloggable valve?

Wait a second. No leak has ever gotten more than an eigth of an inch on the floor, and only part of the floor at that. Mostly that damages cardboard boxes and I have to find new ones to put my short scrap lumber in, etc. Only one leak has ever made it out of the laundry room to the "club room" (where the rug soaked up a lot, and where about 6 vinyl tiles came unglued, plus 6 edge pieces along one wall.
When the stream floods and the sink overflows, it is only after it reaches and surpasses the top of the sink that any water gets on the floor.

I had to put two in after I got the metal hoses, because otherwise the pipes banged. Little things from home Depot, worked fine.

Good. BTW, although not much water got on the floor, when the humidifier tube started to spray, it did so right over my file cabinet. And the drawer was open. The one open drawer may have funnelled some water to the closed drawer beneath it. This is the basement file cabinet with tourist and technical information (and springs and chains and bottle brushes in the bottom drawer. Some of that may have gotten rusty, but no big deal). The glossy tourist stuff tended to stick together and some woudln't unstick later. (I should have done it before they dried (no, I remember. I couldn't because then the pages would just fall apart), it was only tourist stuff.) The unglossy stuff dried with no effort from me but still looks a little more raggedy than it used to. :) No big deal, all of this, but I was depressed about it at the time. I seemed more into collecting tourist information than actually touring. That took too much time, and for foreign locations, money.

Not here because the lid for the sump has a 60 square inch section missing that the output pipe and the float mechanism go through. (I did check for radon once and was way below the danger level.)

Only if your sewer drain backs up more than you can tolerate. That's happened to me four or five times in 22 years and would have another 5 to 15 times if I weren't able to plug the basement sink.** The top of the toilet bowl would be barely higher than the bottom of my sink, let alone the top of the sink. (That might not make any difference in frequency, because it is only when the stream rises higher than the manholes that there is flooding. Then it floods the sink and would flood the toilet too. But I can't plug the toilet. Well maybe I could, but then every time I wanted to use the toilet, I'd have to take out the plug, use it, and put the plug back. Easier to go upstairs.
**BTW, the water that comes out is from the *sewage* pipe, and does seem to have solid matter in it. Yet, thank goodness, it has never smelled bad while the floor was wet or afterwards, at least to my enfeebled nose. I really don't think there has been any smell. Of course it is mixed with lots of water from the kitchen and bathroom sinks sinks, plus this only happens when the stream overflows the sewer, and there must be enormous amounts of stream water diluting the sewage. OTOH, I see lots of solid matter. Ot3H, this is not from a septic tank. It's all "fresh". The stream only goes 3 or 4 miles upsteam from me (and after that it's too tiny to be a stream, to be anything), and I'm pretty sure the sewer goes no more. How fast would sewage run in a sewer?? At least 5 miles an hour??? So nothing is more than an hour old (not counting the time it spend inside people.)

I don't. I guess I could manually or jack hammer the floor (would that crack it all the way through?), slope the replacement floor under the sink, and maybe where the toilet goes, so that it goes to a drain (or two) under the sink and naar the toilet and route the pipe to the sump.
BTW, years ago I called the dept of sanitation and asked them to put waterproof manhole covers in a couple of the manholes. Somone had told me about them. He said it wouldn't help but said he would do it if I wanted him to. I'm always optimistic. They did. I don't think it helped. But now I'm not sure if I should have picked the manhole very near me, the ones downstream, or the ones upstreeam. ???
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Thats interesting. So the stream raises, floods the sewer, and the sewer water flows into your house and starts shooting out of the basement sink. And you don't think a backflow/backwater preventer would stop that?
Does it flood because of water trying to leave your house can not leave?
Carl
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In alt.home.repair on Sun, 24 Jul 2005 01:22:49 -0400 "CL (dnoyeB)

No. I put one in and it doesn't. I think it is clogged with lint. Only a little lint in the hinge might be enough to keep it from closing fully. (I use the washer on a regular basis, but it can take 6 months to 18 months before the stream reaches flood level)
I tested the valve probably by blowing into it, with my hands wrapped around it, and it worked well before I installed it. It's above the trap. The water pressure should make it seal tighter. I can only conlcude that it is clogged, no?
It doesn't quite shoot, just streams quickly, like a quart every 10 seconds. (That was the rate before the check valve. Might be slower now.)

Yes and no. Yes, because if all the water overflowing the sink went directly into the sump and was pumped out, there wouldn't even be the eigth inch of water on the floor (and whatever gets sucked up into the cardboard boxes, and once into the big box of soap powder, things like that. (I had to hammer the soap into pieces after that to use it in the washer, but other than that it was fine.)
But no because I don't think that is what you meant.
BTW, I did a little more testing and was reminded that I also have the AC overflow filling the sump, and that starts 4 feet above the floor. NO water was coming in through the corrugated pipes from outside, so the AC was enough to fill the sump 10 inches in only about 10 minutes, although when the AC went off, the dripping stopped. I guess when the water level reaches those corrugated pipes, if they are empty, the AC condensate would have to fill them before it could overflow the sump.
I did some testing, and I've been recalling past testing, wrt this:

In my case, that would be the perforated corrugated plastic pipes?? If not, what are the tiles?

This makes sense, but in my case....
When I did the testing, I found that I could do this several times in a row, switchingn on the pump by hand in between. And it filled just as fast the last time as the first, I think.
Does that mean the perforations in the pipe weren't big enough and the water was backing up outside? Well I don'pt know except that there was no water coming through the walls.

I'd be afraid to let the test run when I was sleeping, but I will try for 8 hours next time there is enough rain.
Like I say, even though there was some rain yesterday, when I tested a couple hours later, no water came out of the pipes. The windows were shut, AC on, and I don't know if it actually rained. I heard thunder, that's all.

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pump. If that were the case for you, it would have been done that way when the house was built.
I know someone who connected his floor drain to the sanitary sewer, but that is thoroughly illegal; and wrong to boot.
Water powered pumps are adequate if your need is not great, but the ones I have used are pretty flimsy and I sure would not want to use them except as a backup in an emergency. I doubt they would hold up long in heavy use.
The unpowered system I like is to be built on a hillside with walkout basement I have never had water in the sump in 12 years, while the houses across the street get pretty serious water.

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In alt.home.repair on Thu, 21 Jul 2005 22:00:55 GMT "toller"

I know someone who connected his sump pump to his basement sink. This in one of the four houses here where the most frequent cause of basement flooding was the stream going over the top of manholes in the sewers, filling the sewer system and backing up through that same basement sink.
I told the new owner to fix this about a year ago. Thanks for reminding me to tell him again.

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toller wrote I know someone who connected his floor drain to the sanitary sewer, but that is thoroughly illegal; and wrong to boot.
============= I love global comments on Usenet.
Sewer-sanitary cross-connections are GENERALLY illegal in America. Also, many communities have many such cross-connections which are legal due to grandfathering of building codes even though the code has been updated to outlaw such connections now.
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Oh, sorry. I should have said they are illegal except in one or two towns too dumb to have proper regulations. Thank God there are people like you to catch these major errors. You are my hero.
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