Sump pump Vs Automatic pump


I have a basement that 2 or 3 times a year get's water in it. The worst has been about 10 inches when we were away overnight. It is a rough basement and what little I have down there is in plastic containers and up hight. But I still don't like getting water in it, and the furnace is down there as well.
Anyway, I bought a Flotec pump at HD the first time this happened and that got the water out
http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materials-Plumbing-Pumps/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xn8Zaroa/R-100178274/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
But I need to babysit it as it is not supposed to run dry for long. So now I'm thing of getting this one:
http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materials-Plumbing-Pumps/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xn8Zaroa/R-100021278/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
This would "check" for water and turn on automatically and off when down to 1/4 inch.
My other choice would be to get a sump pump, but then I get into the whole thing of breaking up the concrete floor and putting in a tub, etc. For the few times this happens it seems like over kill.
Am I missing something or will the automatic pump do the job for me?
-Jim
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jtpr wrote:

http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materials-Plumbing-Pumps/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xn8Zaroa/R-100178274/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materials-Plumbing-Pumps/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xn8Zaroa/R-100021278/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
Ten inches of water in the basement sounds like a lot to me. Then again if I could put a pump right were the water enters, I'd do just that. If water will be running all over the place, I'd go ahead and dig a sump pit, and if necessary a inch or so channel all the way around the basement so if water comes in that way, it also goes to the sump pit.
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Yeah, it got worse. My submersible was just keeping up. I had 8 inches and after 2 hourse, still had 8 inches. I went to bed and during the night we lost power and it rose to 14 inches, putting the furnace out. So the fire department came and pumped me out. Guess I'm looking at a sump pump. My concern is if I do the job myself would I possible open up a further water issue by putting a hole in the floor for the tub. I suppose I'll get some estimates for an install first.
-Jim
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On 3/15/2010 8:37 AM, jtpr wrote:

You probably need a sump pump. But, you really need to find out why and where the water is coming in. In many cases, the amount of water can be lowered significantly by some simple grading outside, extending downspouts, etc. Also, the amount of water pumped per hour is greatly reduced, the higher you have to pump it. Many years ago I put in a sump in an old house. The sleeve was huge and heavy and made of clay tile material. Today, they are small and lightweight, plastic or fiberglass. Breaking a small hole in the floor is not that difficult. You can even rent an electric jack hammer at the rental place and you will be done in a few minutes, literally.
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Agree with Art. You definitely want to intercept the water BEFORE it's on the basement floor. Is this water from a high water table or is it from water that is being allowed to accumulate outside, too close to the foundation? That would be from improper grading, no gutters, blocked gutters, no pipes taking water away for at least 10ft from the downspouts, etc. Also, regardless of what you think is happening, go outside in a heavy downpour and look at where the water is going.
The next step is to intercept water while it;s still BELOW the basement floor level. That's where a sump pump comes in. The only obvious issue is whether the house has a proper drain field laid around the perimeter to direct the water to a sump pump pit. That is critical, otherwise putting a sump pump in one corner isn't going to solve the water that is coming in far across the basement. Since there is no apparent provision for a sump, I'd guess the answer is no. In which case, the only real correct solution would be to install one.
But whatever it takes, I would fix it correctly. Having the basement flood several times a year isn't something I would put up with. Just one wipe out of the furnace, how much would that cost? Also, all that water infiltration is bad for the foundation and will cause deterioration over time.
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By the time you cobble up a solution you will have wasted more time than it takes to do a sump, Rent a Demolition hammer, its quick, buy a plastic sump pit or even a plastic garbage can I used once. The pits you buy are deep for French Drain systems so I would sawsall it in half so its not deep, just deep enough to run the float plus about 1 foot or less, stick in the pit, concrete the edges and hook up the sump. You flood, do it right then you can forget about it.
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If it was my basement I would fix it. In addition to inconvenience, it isn't healthy for you or the under-structure of your house.
Get a plastic sump and sump pump system from the local home improvement store. Get a concrete saw, or someone who can run one and cut a hole in the floor about 1 foot larger than the sump. Dig out the dirt beneath the open hole to allow at least 6-8" of space (or more) around the sump. Fill the hole with gravel (coarse sand will work) until the sump can be set into the hole with the top even with the basement floor and then pour sand or gravel around the sump and pack it in.
I would drill 10-20 1/4-1/2 inch holes in the lower 1/2 of the plastic sump to allow water beneath the floor to get into the sump. Install the sump pump and outlet line (PVC) and you are set. You might have to provide electrical. Leave the sides open for a few days and when you are think the gravel or sand has quite settling, top it off with level with the bottom of the floor and close it off with QuicKrete.
Not counting the saw, the entire cost for this could be less than $250. Then you don't have to worry about water, structural damage, mold and lung disease.
Also, as others have said, find out if you have a grade problem or improperly installed widow well covers and fix that too.
(PS - If you think the water is coming up through the floor the sump itself, with the holes drilled in it might stop or slow the leakage altogether.)
RonB
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Yeah, I agree with everybody, This sucks. The water is seeping in through various points of ledge around the basement. This is a 1920's bungalow that we renovated and put a second floor on. As I said, the most I have ever had down there is a couple of inches, but there doesn't seem to be one "source". It just seep in from around the ledge rocks that protrude into the basement. So, if I put in the sump at the low point, where my utility pump is now, there will still be water down there on occasion, but it shouldn't rise much.
I have some gutters. But it looks like I'll have to put more up this summer. Other then that I can't see much else I can do. There is a small groove in the cement floor that went to a drain pipe that ran under a crawl space. I think this was the "solution" the previous owners used to control this, sort of a flow through system. This would have been OK, except after the renovation, this probably got blocked off or crushed so nows it doesn't drain. I never did see where the other end was as we only used the house one summer before renovating it.
So, I really only need a hole that is as deep as the pump is high? The ceiling is 6 ft up, can the typical sump pump push that high?
-Jim
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jtpr wrote:

First thing to do is trace and fix the origional drain. It may solve the problem.
If the water is coming in through the walls, is it coming in near where rain runoff goes? If so, fix the runnoff problem.

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We owned one of those bungalows years ago. It had a little trough around the edges of the floor that drained water to one low corner that had a floor drain that drained to sewer. I'm guessing you don't have a floor drain but if you do, make sure you understand where the sewer line is before you cut into the floor.
Sump pumps will easily pump that high. However, with the amount of water you seem to be taking in, I would get a bigger one (3/4 to 1hp) and get a submersible. the submersibles generally are stronger and less likely to overheat if they run continually. Quite frankly, I'll never own another pedestal pump. Most of them are way to weak for serious pumping.
RonB
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On Mon, 15 Mar 2010 10:48:07 -0700, RonB wrote:

I'm going to try making a channel for the base of the north wall of our basement - rather than cutting into the existing concrete, instead making a dam of around 3" high about 2" in from the wall (I'm debating whether to angle the floor of the channel too, just to avoid standing water).
We don't get much water in there, but judging by the various attempts previous owners seem to have made to seal that wall, it's always going to leak a little bit - at this time of year with the snow melt we get around 1/2" gallon a day coming through. I don't see why I can't use thick plastic sheeting on the wall to direct the water down into the channel.
I've got a washer I want to put down in that basement, so therefore need a pump anyway*, so it's not too big a deal to do.
* not sure what, yet - I need to test how much the washer actually uses, and calculate from there. I've got a 55gal plastic drum I can use as the tank (there's a handy unfinished corner of the basement floor where I can dig and put the tank in - I guess the original builders had that in mind, but the previous owners never fitted a pump.
cheers
Jules
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I got the pump described in the web site below last year. I got the VSB 250 V or model 8094 which is the 1/3 hp version for $100 Canadian.
I am a hydraulics engineer and knew that I needed a high lift pump with more than double th typical sump pump flow capacity for my house. This pump has much more lift ability than typical sump pumps and much more flow rate. In your case the higher flow capacity would be the interesting factor as it seems that you may have a higher than normal inflow problem. If you use 1 1/4 piping you should get at least 20 gpm and more likely 30 gpm from the 1/3 hp pump. The only possible negative would be if the sump barrel is too small. A small sump has very little storage and the float switch only allows about 6 inches between on and off levels. A pump that has too much capacity for the storage available in a 6 inch rise would cycle too much - maybe only a few seconds between starts and stops. The 1/4 hp pump would provide a lot of capacity as well (also near 20 gpm) and would cycle a bit less and therefore last longer.
I can not vouch for the quality of this pump as I have had it for only one year but so far so good. A visual inspection shows that the design details are good but the materials are less robust than my old pump which cost over $350 and only lasted a year and a half and had very poor design details but looked robust. I can buy a lot of the cheaper pumps for what one expensive one cost me. I put two pumps in so I have a spare if one fails but so far the spare hasn't come on. I installed the spare higher than the main pump simply by hanging it on a rope and it has a separate pipe system so it would double the flow rate if the first pump couldn't keep up. There is an alarm set lower than the second pump which would have sounded and been noted by the monitoring company if it would have ever been started. Note the over-design at the engineer's house.
The installation described by RonB is excellent. I would add only a layer of felt landscaping cloth around the outside of the sump so that dirt is filtered out.
Also, get the largest diameter sump you can find for sale near you - min of 24 inch diameter. That minimizes cycling of the pump and allows you to use the larger 1/3 hp pump which may help with your high inflow rates. You could try the 1/2 hp pump but that may be overkill and if it cycles too much it will burn out and you will get flooded again. A good plan may be to start with one 1/4 hp pump and if there is ever a situation where it can't handle the flow then get another pump, maybe the 1/3 hp, and hang it in the same sump above the first pump. Use separate piping. Most of the plastic sumps have plenty of room for two pumps. Be careful that both float switches can move freely.
A 15 amp circuit has ample capacity for two pumps as long as you hang them so that they don't both start at the same time. Being the engineer I have separate circuits for the pumps but I was building my house new so I could put lots of circuits wherever I wanted them. Old houses may have to compromise on the number of circuits available.
One hp equals 746 watts so a 1/3 hp pump would be 249 watts, divided by 120 volts yields 2.1 amps. Pumps need double and sometimes more than triple the running amps to get started. That's why they burn out if they cycle too quickly - they need to run or cool off between starts. The brochure shows a max draw of 4 amps for the 1/3 hp pump which is a starting draw of double the running current, but I would use a triple draw to have a safety factor. Anyway, using a triple starting current draw of 6.3 amps for the second pump while the first pump was already running is only a total draw of 8.4 amps so a 15 amp circuit would support two pumps as long as they couldn't start at the same time. These are cheap Chinese made pumps so I'd estimate the higher current draws. In theory you could support two simultaneous starts as that would be only 12.6 amps but that is too close with no safety factor. I don't recall if the pumps are rated with or without power factors which would be fine either way for non-simultaneous starts but would cause the breaker to trip for simultaneous starts.
http://www.watergroup.com/pumps/pump-titan-submersibles.htm

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Try rodding out the old drain first. Most any pump site posts pump rise in ft and corresponding gallons output per hour, I bet the smallest 1/3rd hp is fine, the smaller the pump the longer it might last from not short cycling. 6ft is nothing for a pump. www.zoeller.com has good pumps and all the info you need. The idea of drilling holes in the plastic pit is good, also clean and reconcrete all cracks in floor and walls.
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http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materials-Plumbing-Pumps/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xn8Zaroa/R-100178274/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materials-Plumbing-Pumps/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xn8Zaroa/R-100021278/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
Lots of good advice. In my case, we get water about once 5-6 years. My problem is water table. The first time it happened I chopped a hole in the floor with a hammer and chisel while it was under water. Dug a hole, lined it with flagstone and put in a pedestal sump pump. I can't stop the water from leaking in through the foundation wall and floor but what the pump does do is to limit how much standing water actually remains in the basement. Water in the section of the basement where the pump is flows towards the hole and gets pumped out. That section stays reasonably dry and does not have any standing water. As the water rises elsewhere it also tends to flow towards the pump section, albeit not that fast. We are going through a massive rain storm--so far, I'd guess, based on my pot on the back porch, we've had at least 8 inches of rain. Standing water in the basement right now is about .5 to 3/4". Without the pump and its crude Mickey Mouse installation, my basement would flood throughout. I periodically clear most of the water away with a wet/dry Shop Vac (gives me something to do)--this Vac is great--12 Gal and has a pump in it--Sucks up water at 10 GPM and pumps out at 5 GPM--when it fills (shuts itself off) then just run the Vac until it pumps out all the water. When everything gets back to normal, I pull the pump, clean/oil/cover it up and put it way. Put a cover over the hole and hope never to see water in it again. MLD
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http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materials-Plumbing-Pumps/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xn8Zaroa/R-100178274/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materials-Plumbing-Pumps/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xn8Zaroa/R-100021278/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
2 or 3 times each year is not a 'few times'. bad things can happen with getting water that often, especially with the ability to get at least up to 10".
Bite the bullet and do it right. Your house will thank you.
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I guess I thought it wasn't bad because so many other people I know have it constantly happening. Anyway, I'm putting in a sump pump this weekend. I did notice today, once the water got down to a minimum, where a lot is coming in. The basement walls have jutting ledge rocks sticking in all over the place. Along one wall in particular there is a lot of seepage between where the rock meets the floor. It was literally bubbling up in a couple of places.
My question now is, are there any decent products out there I can apply to seal these areas up? I am going to do gutters on that side of the house, but other then that there isn't much else I can do on the exterior.
-Jim
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.
Actually, after thinking about it, my problem may be all that rock. This place is all ledge. I could very well get through the floor and hit ledge right below. I guess there is nothing I can do about it at that point but go back to an automatic pump. I can't be digging up the whole basement in the hopes of getting lucky.
-Jim
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jtpr wrote:

Can you dig a "well" outside the leaky wall and install the pump there?
Can you fix the origional drain?
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If you need another reason why you want to get the water problem slowed down, I got a call from our son last evening:
He built a house in SW Missouri about four years ago. His has a basement a adequate drainage system. Important because the rural lots are just above a pretty substantial bedrock ledge His neighbor's house was completed just ahead of him and is a crawl-space house. A couple of weeks ago his neighbor walked into his bedroom and his foot settled down into the carpeted floor. They found other places where the floor would give with shifting foot load. They climbed into the shallow crawl space to find the entire bottom structure covered with mold and the floor sheeting rotting (five years). The contractor who built this mess is gone. They called another to look at it and he thinks the house might be close to being totaled. In addition to rotting structure, the mold problem has it close to being condemnable.
They are Screwed with a capital "S". Even if they patch up the floors they can't sell it with the mold.
Did a hole and install a pump.
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