Sump Pump Basins

I'm a relatively new home owner. I love the home I purchased except for one thing: the sump pump basin. I know that the basin is there to prevent water from seeping into basement but there has to be a better way. I don't want to worry about the basin overflowing or the sump pump breaking down anymore.
Previouly in Maine we had about 5 years of a drought so the ground water levels were pretty low. But in the last year we've received record levels of rain and snow. So the sump pump was working quite a bit in Spring, Summer, Fall, and now Winter. Also we just had the wettest January on record.
The house was built in 1955 and the basin looks like it is original and was poured with the foundation. It has the ducts that lead into it also. I know there are some ways to aleviate the amount of water you get in the sump pump basin by grading and making dry wells. But I want to actually fill the basin. Will this cause more problems? Is it as simple as filling with concrete or are there several steps that need to be taken?
The foundation is in great shape and can't find any cracks. Would filling in the basin cause cracks to form as water trys to seep in? I've heard there are companies who will seal your basement and gaurauntee it stays dry. Also I have neighbors who have dry basements and their foundations are in worse shape than mine.
If anyone can post links or advice it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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On 12 Feb 2006 12:26:52 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

If the sump pump is working properly, it is keeping the water level from reaching the bottom of the basement floor. This is what the (sump) system is designed to do.

And you've done this?

You mean pull the pump and fill the basin with concrete or somesuch? Not recommended.

If you have, say, standard poured-concrete floor, be advised that there is no seal at the cove where the floor meets the walls. Without a pump system, when the water level rises hi enough, water will enter the basement.
You can test this by unplugging the sump pump and waiting until you get tons of rain (be prepared to re-plug the pump but be advised that you can draw "Many Amperes" if you do so standing in water).
What is it about the sump system that'd make you want to "fill it in"? Other details welcome: kind of foundation, etc.
Cheers, Puddin'
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I understand what a sump pump is designed to do but I was wondering if there is a method to seal the basement. And I know it's probably a dumb idea to fill it in and it probably wouldn't work. But this summer we lost power for two hours and the basin was filling up. So I had to bail it out with a bucket for a solid two hours with the water rising almost as fast as I could bail. Not fun. And I know I need to get a battery backup for it. But at that time I had no idea.
When we get just a little bit of rain now the pump goes for 2 days straight since the ground water level is so high. And plus I have this hose sticking out of my basement spewing water down my driveway every 15 minutes.
I was wondering if there is a way to seal a basement so that no water gets in. I mean we're in the modern age and there has to be something a person can do to get rid of the basin and seal the basement.
I'm a novice when it comes to home repairs so I'm not sure what kind of foundation I have. I believe they poured the slab then the walls.
Is there any way to seal the cove where the wall meets the floor? Thanks for the reply.
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Sorry theres no way to seal the water out.
ideally the sump basin is above the level of some point of your yard.
so you dig a ditch from house to wherever, dig into the sump basin and run a drain line or overflow drain line.
If the pump fails for any reason then the excess water will have a place to go!
If thats not a option, then you will need a battery backup sump pump, with a seperate discharge line for power, pump, or drain line failures.
there are also backup ones using city water for draining.....
gravity is the best way!
I have plans to install a basement drain system soon, and already checked! Mine will drain to the end of the yard just fine!
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On 12 Feb 2006 16:01:44 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

We can send a man to the moon, but we can't even have a dry basement. So true.
Apollo 11 was water tight and even air tight, but think how much money they spent to do that**. And check out "Apollo 7" to see all the things that can go wrong.
**Actually the water pressure inward at the bottom of a basement is probably higher than the air pressure trying to get out of a space ship. I'm not sure. Does anyone know?
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Sump pumps were invented for this exact reason. They make mining possible, along with underpasses, New Orleans, the Netherlands, and a whole lot more.
As others have pointed out, what is needed is more, in the form of a backup pump, not less pumps.
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You really shouldn't consider any material alteration to the foundation, etc until you understand how it was built and what will damage it. There is likely a book at the library.
In a nutshell, when they pour a foundation, they dig the shape and erect concrete forms. The footings are poured first. After they cure, the walls are poured. After they cure, the floor is poured. None of these major components bond to one another. It is not practical to seal the coves.
Even if you didn't mind frequent standing water in your basement, it would likely rot the foundation of your home.
So the recommend is that you, like many of us, learn to live with your sump system. Perhaps a battery backup if you have frequent power failures. Definitely monitor pump age/funtioning, replace as needed.
Good Luck, Puddin'
On 12 Feb 2006 16:01:44 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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I laughed when I first read your post, but I guess your serious afterall so here goes.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

My sump pump empties the pit every 3 minutes. I have a rubber cap for the drain pipe I strap on sometimes to shut off the water flow. But its not stoping the water, just keeps it from entering the pit. Ground water levels begin to immediately rise after my foundation pipes all fill up. When I remote the cap, the water rushes into the pit keeping the level near the top for about as long as I had the cap on.

When you say straight, you do mean there are pauses right? If not you need a deeper/ bigger pit. And that hose should be at least 6ft away from the house.

Yes, there are ways to seal the basement. Then you end up with water all around your basement walls. If you lifted a gallon of milk you know how heavy water is. This will press against your basement walls and floor.
The sump system is indeed more for *pressure* removal, than it is for wetness removal. wet basement is one thing, cracked walls and floor due to water pressure is another. Water is a powerful think on this planet, respect it.

Bad idea. Get yourself a backup sump, and probably a water powered one.
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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Just make a wooden hatch cover. Notch the edge of a couple of 2x4" timbers so they fit permanently into the top edge of the sump hole (presumably square or rectangular) and cover the rest with any available timber. If anyone is likely to tread on the cover you need to make it appropriately strong. For removal, one or two fingerholes or rope handles will suffice.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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On 12 Feb 2006 12:26:52 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I guess you should do those things, and then see below.

You have 2 choices. You may take the sump pump out first, or you may leave it in and pour the concrete around it.
But first do those things that alleviate the amount of water.. After the sump has been dry for 20 years, that is a good time to fill it with concrete. Possibly after 40 years, depending on the water table cycle and the non-cyclical high water tables that occur in your area.
BTW, you do know that "alleviate" means to make less, right? Not to make zero or to make disappear. So you know there will still be water. What is your plan for it?
Even if there were a plan to make the water totally disappear, you should implement that plan and see if it works, if it always works, before you think about getting rid of the system in place now that *does8 work. .

I think they do this by putting in a sump and a sump pump. When there is no water on your floor, that's "dry".
You're lucky you have a sump pump in a house that old. Lots of them didn't. Either very good building regs or a builder who knew what he was doing.

Perhaps you can make a cover out of 3/4 plywood, or 2 layers of it, that will cover most of the pit. It has to be C-shaped to leave room for the mechanism. My sump came with a plastic cover designed to fit properly. It seems strong,but I'm not going to step on it.
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You can certainly make a dry basement. It would probably double the cost of your house; cheaper to move to a dryer neighborhood.
If you simply water proofed your basement you would either cause the walls to cave in from the water pressure, or actually cause the basement to come out of the ground (a house boat?).
Sure, you could build the walls strong enough to resist the water pressure, and anchor it well enough to resist the buoyancy, but it will be pretty silly.
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----

That's what they do in Chicago, iiuc. I'm referring to the downtown office buildings.
Last I heard directly about this was 1970, but iirc Chicago is from the French words meaning smelly garlic, and where down town is now was built on a swamp. Office buildings have basements that go down 3 and 4 stories (more? now that the buildings are taller?) They sort of float on the water and the weight of the building holds them in place. I know that there's got to be more to it than that, but that's the way it was told to me, iirc.
10 or 20 years ago in a separate incident, something went wrong and the downtown subway tunnels and the basements of a few buildings flooded. I don't mean 2 inches of water on the floor. I got the impression they were full of water to the ceiling.
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They are building the foundation of the new trump tower now. Your kidding right? No way a building can float, if they could they are called HOUSEBOATS.
Trump tower has pilings going down to bedrock, which is required any substantial building.
What is unusual with trump tower is that these pilings are all going to be tied together by a single concrete layer, which was recently poured.
Said tower will have sump pumps being this is all below natural ground water level.

These were old coal supply tunnels. There used to be an entire underground railroad to supply coal to the downtown structures, and their coal furnaces.
Said tunnel ran UNDER the Chicago river, and when a piling was punched into the wrong place...
And even boats, designed to float have bilge pumps.
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wrote:

I'm not kidding. It's conceivable that I was misinformed, but iirc I heard this on a tv documentary.

Maybe it doesn't work with the taller buildings they build these days. I mean, if they would have to go down 15 stories to make up the weight, and the bedrock was at 10 stories, then there would be no point in going lower. But if it is a 6 story building that needs three or four basements, and bedrocks is still at 10 stories, and they didn't have adequate pile drivers then, that's what they would do.
I don' t think I have the energy to hunt the web now. Well, I looked at one website and only learned about the flood 15 years ago.

Thanks for the info. I watched the news, but if you don't hear the first story, none of the followups ever explain things. They just talked about the damage and the unflooding process.

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I saw something about that Chicago flood a while back, I think on Modern Marvels Engineeering Disasters. Worst thing was that, as I recall, the authorities were notified of the problem in plenty of time to correct it, but did nothing. Then of course they passed the blame around and made excuses afterwards. Larry
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the FIRST move is keep the water from around the house! Downspout drains should go as far from home as possible, keep gutters clean so rain doesnt overflow them and get into basement, resloop yard so rain naturally travels away from home.
then drain the sump by gravity if at all possible.
take good care of your sump system, since wet basement homes are difficult to sell, and worse get less $
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