For some reason, the builder of my house put the sump pit that drains the
weeping tile around the outside of my house in my basement. I have heard of
this before and many of the houses around here have it that way. It doesn't
make any sense to me that you take the water from around the house that you
don['t want getting into your basement, bring it into the basement, then
pump it outside when they could have just sloped the weeping tile towards a
low spot on the property. I've been having all sorts of problems with the
pit overflowing because of power failure and a sticky float switch (one you
can't replace without dismantling the pump) so I put in a battery powered
backup pump. During excessively heavy rains when the electric pump failed,
the backup pump was unable to keep up with the flow and my basement gets
soaked. I now have a second electric pump and am about to install an
Can anyone tell me the logic behind putting the sump pit in the basement
where it's bound to be a problem sooner or later? No one I've asked knew
why. The best answer I could get was "it's in the code".
no, it is not in the code.
It would be much better to run the French drain to daylight, but
it is impossible most of the time. If your house is high enough
or has a low enough spot to send the water that is lower than your
basement floor, that is certainly what should have been done, but
it would be quite unusual in a subdivision setting. Water can be
sent to an exterior sump, but that will be problematic as well.
Relying on a dry well can work, but only in certain soil
conditions and would not be cost efficient , predictable, or
satisfactory gamble for a builder.
Your best solution is to direct as much water away from the
perimeter of your house as possible. The perimeter drain is only
supposed to deal with small amounts of water and high subsurface
water. It sounds like you have flower beds or downspouts or
surface drainage dumping against the house. Pumps need to be
sized to the amount of gallons and height of lift. You will lose
electric to the pump if you lose electric to the house as you know
and may require a backup generator in emergency situations.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
Building codes don't usually allow you to run weeping tile output into the
sanitary drain system, only into the storm drainage. This is to prevent
sanitary sewage from overflowing during a big rainstorm.
As others have answered, it is not permitted by code any more. (Years ago it
was common practice in some communities, as was dumping the sump drainage
into the sanitary sewer. But this has been outlawed for many decades.) My
builder dumped the sump (washer & water softener) into the building drain,
but I'm on a septic system so the county didn't care. (No, it doesn't cause
Now to fix your problem. If it were me, I would buy a test plug, stick it
into the pipe coming in from the exterior and seal the drain into the sump.
If your not failure with what a test plug is, it's is a sort of rubber plug
that once inserted into the pipe, is expanded with a wrench to close the
pipe (normally used for testing DWV systems for final inspection.) Their
inexpensive and offers an instant fix for the problem. Here an example of
what one type looks like: http://www.cob-industries.com/nylon.htm (there are
many flavors of these things, whatever you can get locally at the best
Then (as suggested) use downspout extensions to get the rain water away from
the house. The best product (although ugly) is inexpensive 3" DWV. Cheap and
will last the life of the house. Stay away from the vinyl type that extend
by pulling one section out from another. Stuff is crap and lasts only two
years before twisting itself inside out. The plastic corrugated type is
good, comes in colors (green and brown, maybe others ) if that matters.
There are many ways to go here, the important part is to get as much rain
out away from the house as possible. Six foot is good, ten foot is better.
I would say the first thing is to direct water away from your house as
best you can by fixing landscaping, improving downspouts, etc. If
your sump pump is still getting a work out, then plugging the hole
leading from the outside is a very bad idea, as the water will then
have nowhere to go and will certainly find its way in.
Where I live, building codes require a internal and an external drain
tile, connected every six feet by crossover pipes. This is to provide
a redundant path to the sump pit in the event of a plugged drain
tile. If that is the case in your house, putting a test plug into the
line coming into the sump pit isn't going to have an effect.
Assuming you can't daylight your drain tiles, your sump pump belongs
in your basement. Sure, you could install an external one if you
want, but you are every bit as dependent on it as if it was inside,
and it's a lot easier to keep it operating when it's inside.
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