Sump pump on every 2-3 minutes. No water outside?

It keeps kicking on every few minutes. This has been going on for weeks. I know their is a spring thaw. But, there can't be that much water in the ground can there? The water is coming in through one of the cast iron pipes in the pit . There are 2 of the pipes in the pit opposite to each other. The one pipe that the water is coming in from is on the one side of the house where the ground is sort of unlevel. There is no visible water and the ground is not even moist there. That side also is where the gutters drain out to. But the water is coming in pretty fast from the pipe in the pit. I would say about 1 GALLON per 40 seconds. My friend said we need to dig and put some pvc pipe in for drainage. It hasn't rained that much either. I'm scared that if the pump stops working the basement will flood. What can I do? Could there possibly be a broken water main near there? Thanks a lot for any help.
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If gutters are clogged and overflow wets the ground, or the downspouts are not maybe 10ft out it could be rainwater, what about the other sides gutters. Does the sewer main drain on the side that is filling the sump, could be a cracked sewer or one that needs to be rodded. My sump wasnt draining once, the sump kept trying to put water into it and it backed up, I looked in the outside pit and found we had to get the sewer rodded to the street. Water can fill all winter even at -20 if the drain system is below freezing as probably is. But only one side going into the pit might mean a problem, or the other drain is just clogged from age. Is it city sewer, we have a manhole covering a pit, look in that to see whats up and move downspouts farther away.
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chrisc wrote:

Without knowing the layout of the house, land and streets it's impossible to say, but if there is a significant flow of water coming from one of the pipes and none from the other it's certainly suspect and should be investigated by a professional. The savings from stopping the pump running so often ought to cover the cost of the call to investigate.
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Hard to determine much from a few weeks experience. How much rain have you had in the last few weeks? What has the rest of the history been like? Does it run frequently during periods of heavy rain, then stop during hot/dry summer months? If so, I wouldn't get too worried. You mention a spring thaw, but don't indicate how much snow fall you may have had that melted not too long ago. The fact that the soil outside isn't wet, doesn't mean much, as there can still be plenty of water that you will never see.
Regarding the gutters, I hope the water is taken a reasonable distance away from the house, like 6+fft, 10 would be better. And the grading should be checked. Also, go out there in the next heavy rain and make sure all the water is going where it should.
Regarding the possible water leak, the most likely place for a leak would be the pipe serving your home as the water mains are usually located quite a distance from the house. Where is your meter located? If it's at the curb, you could call the water company and have it read again. If it's the size of leak that would cause this, it should be apparent.
With a pump that runs this much, I'd definitely have a backup sump pumo in the pit, set to come on at a slightly higher level and also battery backup or alternate system for the secondary pump.
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A few years ago my brother found water pooling in his front yard and his sump pump was running more frequently. When I saw it I said that it had to be a broken water main. He called the water company and they sent someone out who was able to listen to the ground and found the location of the broken main in the street. It was fixed a day later. Water pipes tend to break in late fall/early winter and in the spring as the ground shifts from temperature change.
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If the pump stops working the basement WILL flood. That's why we HAVE sump pumps. if you're real paranoid about it, you can put in a battery operated backup pump that only kicks on at a higher level than the regular one. Ground water running in is normal. That's why the pumps are there.
s

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S. Barker wrote:

...
For some appropriate definition of "normal"... :)
One could also look into the water supply Venturi systems that don't rely on electric power or battery in a situation such as this where there is so much water that a power outage of any duration might cause a real disaster.
--
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wrote:

Considering that the ground is 1000's of miles wide, yes there can be. The amount of water that you pump out with the sump pump is trivial compared to the water that is out there. Your sump has a diameter of maybe 18 inches, and area of 253 square inches, less than 2 square feet. How big is your yard? Many many times as big. Plus maybe you are draining the next guy's yard, and doing it alone if your sump level is set lower than his.

How far below ground level is your basement floor? How far below that is the water level in the sump. The water only has to be a little higher than the water in the sump gets. For my house that's about 7 feet below the surface of the ground. I can't see through more than a foot, so I certainly can't see that deep.

Don't you already have iron pipe of some sort, going into the sump, doing what it's supposed to do? Where does he want to put pvc pipe? In the same place? Better don't ask him. Check with someone else.

It's possible. If the "water table" is higher than your basement floor, that's what will happen. My pump ran a lot when I moved in, and I raised the float a couple inches and it only runs 1/4 as much as it did. The rest of the time, the water is almost 2 inches higher than it was, but still several inches below the floor.

Maybe a water sub-main. :)
How high in the sump does the water have to get before the pump turns on? Can you hold the float down so the pump doesn't go on, and see how high the water gets? When it starts getting close to the floor, close to overflowing, let go of the float so that the pump turns back on.
But in some cases, if the float is set to run when there is say 14 inches of water, it will run over and over and over, but if you hold the float down the water never gets over say 15 inches,
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Another thing to check that no one has mentioned so far is where is the sump pump discharge going? It should be 15ft+ away from the house.
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On Fri, 18 Apr 2008 05:46:13 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I have a friend who used to live in a house with a pool. A pool! I thought the house would be beautiful. No. I slept in the basement, and the sump pump discharged 6 inches from the house, all the water seeped right back into the sump and the pump started again a minute or two after it stopped. I was able to sleep anyhow, somehow.
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if public water supply give them a call, they will check the water for chlorine. if it has that then they have a leaking line, and will search to fix it.
over the years friends have had troubles like this...........
one turned out to be a leaking sewer line from above his home. he lived at the bottom of a hill and suddenly water water everywhere. wierdly it didnt smell bad, but was positive for chlorine but actually a sewer leak.......
one turned out to be a neighbors water line, it had a small crack, buddies basement got wet
the most interesting was a old friend who had natural gas in is basement, but no leak. the actual leak was about a quarter a mile away, downhill, and got in the sewer lines. till it got to his home that had a cracked line as it entered the home. the gas traveled a long way and could of blown up his home.....
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By digging and installing PVC, meant diverting the water away from the house. If you have a huge area and dig a hole in the middle of it that is where the watere will go. With the trench and pipe the water will be carried away. There should not be that much water there that the pump is kicking on that often! This brings problems to the foundation walls also (mold , moisture, etc)

Another thing to check that no one has mentioned so far is where is the sump pump discharge going? It should be 15ft+ away from the house.
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