On 21 Mar 2007 18:36:35 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I agreed with everything you said prior to this point.
Absolutely. In the townhouse next to me, someone rerouted the output
to the house drain (and neatly cemented the hole where the output pipe
had been). This means that if the sewer backs up, the sump pump will
pump that water into the drain which goes to the sewer which is
backing up. And that's a real possibility with my house and the three
next to it, which are the lowest in the n'hood, and which do flood
every few years when rain fills the stream which overflows into the
sewers and fills them. And I told the new owner at least 5 years ago
about all this, and he still hasn't done anything.
Oh, you're probably referring to the fact that even if this doesn't
happen, it overloads the sewer and is likely illegal too. That's a
good reason also.
This why I posted. Have you tried this? The volume out of my pump
far exceeds what I believe can flow through a garden hose, even the
wider ones. Even a short length of such narrow hose (compared to the
2 or 1 1/2 inch pipe the pump takes) would restrict flow, I'm sure,
and even more if the hose were longer. My plastic pipe feeds into a
buried 4 inch pipe (and ftr that isn't coupled on but fits loosely in
case, I think, the buried pipe collapses or is clogged.)
Yeah, if I had a backup that would be good -- I plan to put one in --
and it makes sense and be easier to make the first and only pump one
that has battery backup. Get the kind that runs on 110 if is there,
and uses the battery if the 110 fails. Some places 110 is more likely
to fail at the same time there is more flooding, altough that has
never happened to me, yet.)
(Although then of course comes the question whether to use battry
backup that requires maainenance, or that water powered thing whose
name I have forgotten. IIRC they are in total about the same price.
The water powered is harder to install but requires no maintenance,
and no bulky battery once it is in. As long as one pays the water
bill and doesn't get his water disconnected. That' a lot more rare
than even getting gas or phone disconnected, right?)
I had a second pump put in a corner that wasn't draining properly. The guy
cut out a square with a circular saw, dug a pit, and worked a plastic basin
in. A lot of work, but nothing too difficult. The dust was HORRIBLE.
I had him plumb it to the sanitary sewer, which I later found out is
illegal; but it only came on when the first pump was overwhelmed, so it
didn't amount to much.
Since you obviously don't have drain tiles, getting one corner dry may not
do much for the other corners; which is why I had the problem. My house
originally had no sump or tiles, but they put a sump in after it flooded 3
times the first year (I found this out after calling the original owner when
I started having problems.)
I forgot about dust. Wear a good dust maak and probably keep the
vacuum running all the time, to clean the air. If there were a
window, I'd recommend a fan blowing out a window. (I did this when I
sanded my floor, with an old 14 inch fan from the trash. It ran all
day with no problem, and then failed just as I was about to turn it
i"m not in a position to judge, and the OP's basement might never get
that wet, buy this sounds like an advantage over a regular pump and a
backup, as opposed to the single pump I just recommended. My pump has
only been overwhelmed once in 28 years, but it would sure have been
nice to have two pumps at that time. (Or a bigger first pump. I
suppose they sold one but I only looked for the same size I had since
it had worked fine for the first 15 years. Rusted through then but
the new ones have plastic pipe at the water level and I think will
last 2 or 3 times as long.)
Ahh the amount of dust from cutting concrete is WAY WORSE than
sanding, jackhammer better choice.
dust is abrasive, lightweight, goes into cloud might get in furnace
plus if you jackhammer the repaired concrete is way less likely to
thew nice smooth edge of masonary blade equals poor adhesion.:(
ideally the underground drain runs to day light somewhere. gravity
tends to be reliable. even if its a lot of digging you will appreciate
knowing your sump cant fail. plus a 4 inch PVC line can carry way more
water than a backup sump pump
if you must go pump, do TWO, with seperate outlets, completely
perhaps the primary draind into a downspout line?
thake the backup thru the wall and let it spray out of side of home if
the water will run away downhill.
having just one pump or pump sharing lines etc leaves you more open to
Buy pump, plug it in, stick it in the low spot, stick the hose out the door,
you're done. At least that's the way it is in my field stone basement. I
don't know why you would need a "well", in my basement the pump sits by the
stairs, which is the lowest point of the basement, so as the water runs in
though the walls, in runs down to the pump. The pump only comes on when it
senses it's sitting in water, and voila, dry basement. It's a total
Agreed, but my 18th century basement floor is SO not level, and I think
that's the case with most field stone foundation basements. I still can't
believe some idiot poured a concrete floor for mine, sometime in the early
1900s, I'd guess. It would have been MUCH better to have left it dirt, as it
is in the root cellar portion of the basement. The root cellar gets wet, but
the water soaks right into the floor. Problem solved.
OK, maybe there's something I don't get (and an old fieldstone foundation
probably drives a different set of options than my block foundation...), but,
isn't the basement wet when the water is flowing towards the place where the
sump pump is? So, it's not really a complmete dry basement solution.
Installing a sump pump can be done by average handy people. However,
this is very conditional. Depends on your situation, and since sump
pumps are a small part of a larger 'dry basement' solution, you should
have an 'expert' evaluate your situation. Please verify they are
'experts' first. :D
tom @ www.MeetANewFriend.com
<snip initial post>
You guys are awesome. What a wealth of information!
Since so many of you have asked for additional info, I'll respond en mass.
The basement is fieldstone, painted with drylok. This keeps the bulk of
the basement dry (although in spots it needs to be repointed, which is
another "how do I do it" question, which I'll pose once the more pressing
problem has been solved.
The house is 80 or 90 years old. The floor is poured cement over the
original dirt floor. The basement is in two rooms - one finished as
above, and sculpted so that water runs to the sides of the room, and then
into a pipe exiting the house. I think this is called a French drain?
Whatever it's called, it works beautifully.
The water comes into the smaller unfinished room. It comes in through two
places 1) under the door from the garage (which is below the surface of the
floor. From the garage, you go down some cement stairs to the basement
door. Water pools in the stairwell when the water tables are high, and
runs under the door. I'm thinking a better door would fix this problem.
The second place water pours in is through the original house's coal chute,
which doesn't seem to ever have been sealed over. Water comes in through
a small passageway (I hate to say chimney - it looks like a cross between a
pipe and a chimney) which behind the cement wall, and opens into the
basement, at a low spot. I have been assuming that this is where the
original coal furnace lived, originally. From the outside, it's all been
turfed over, but when I was landscaping last year, i uncovered what looks
like a 3x5 by 8foot deep coal chute, filled with coal and dirt, then tarped
over, and turfed over. It's amazing that more water doesn't get in,
I hope that is enough information. It's kind of a weird set up, as you can
Having read all of your thoughtful posts, it looks an awful lot like the job
of installing a well is going to be beyond my abilities. It also looks like
it might be prohibitively expensive, unless the "put a sump pump in the low
spot and run a hose out the door" idea is feasible. Is it?
The solution seems to be to excavate the coal chute (But with what? I tried
to dig it out last year, and the fist-sized lumps of coal make it impossible
to do by hand. The location (in the corner of the house, flush with the
walls) makes it impossible to get a piece of earthmoving equipment in
there). I can't tell what the walls of the chute are made of -- they
could be cement, or they could be dirt. Or metal. Or some combination of
all three. Would excavating it by hand (litterally digging at it with a
trowel) a couple of feet down and pouring cement seal it off do you think?
I'm kind of baffled by the whole situation, which is why it has continued
for the three years since we bought the house. As always, I would love to
hear your thoughts.
Thank you Donna for confirming my original answer. What you ask is
easily doable and better than a wet floor every time!! Just go out
and buy a pump. Many come with an adaptor for a garden hose. A
permanent install would likley use poly pipe and you can get a better
flow with a bigger pipe.
By all means put your energy into eliminating the source of the
problem!! That should always be where you put your energy first.
I'm sorry I don't have a solution for you without seeing the property
but here are some ideas. Just thinkin out loud, OK?
Excavate and seal the old coal shute permanently where it exits the
ground and inside the house both. Water coming in from the driveway
and garage would have to be diverted at the street to keep it from
coming in. Where I live we use a culvert to keep water from flowing
down the driveway. If you are in a town then you may not have that
option. A re-constructed driveway might possible divert the water
Well, in that case, i have no idea how thick the cement is, especially
if the ceiling was low to begin with.
The bottom of the door is below the surface of the floor? Regardless,
you might be able to channel that water away before it gets under the
door, or right after it does.
We had a double overhead garage door that let water into the garage,
at one end of the door, even though it was pretty flat everywhere (no
hill outside to cause it run in. It was just water spreading out) and
in high school I wanted to put a rubber gasket under the door, but at
the same time sort of doubted that would be enough. Or that it would
lift up the door and let water in somewhere else. So I never did
anything, but it didn't cause the problems yours is causing.
Do something about these two places and maybe you wont' need the sump
pump. If you're not going to need the sump pump, don't drill a hole
in the floor to find out how thick the cement is, or water will get in
through the hole.
I think the idea was that the low spot was low enough that the sump
pump could work while on the surface of the floor. I don't know how
deep the water has to be before the sump pump starts to pick it up.
Someoen said two inches. You could find out somewhere.
I have an image that your low spot is only 2 or 3 inches lower than
the rest of the floor and only 3 to 4 feet across. You havent' said,
so that's my image. If that is the case, the sump pump will run for 4
or 5 seconds and remove all the water around it, and then wait until
more gathers. Wouldn't that mean that parts of the rest of the floor
are also wet. Maybe they dry out faster after the rain stops, so that
part of the floor doesn't bother you.
I have the same issue when my basement "floods", which is usually only
a quarter inch or less. I use a wet dry vac and I just use the tube,
no attachment, and it will vacuum leaving less than a tenth of
millimeter, maybe even getting the water out of the pores in the
cement, and then I have to move the vacuum tube somehwere else or wait
until the water slowly gathers at the first place. I can identify a
low space in my floor too, maybe a quarter inch low at most, and
putting the hose there doesn't work any better than anywhere else
except when I'm almost done.
I can't picture this area, but there is bound to be a way to dig it
out, or seal it without digging it out without earth moving equipment.
There are millions? of coal chutes that have been sealed after they
aren't used, maybe just with a piece of wood or metal plate screwed
on** and the edges caulked, but again, I have no real image of the
situation in my head.
**Or some sheet metal formed into a box cover, by folding at the
corners, sort of like wrapping paper is wrapped around a gift box.
Again, I have no image.
ARen't you losing heat through this 12 x 12 inch hole? Again, my
image of a coal chute.
Actually, the low spot is where the coal chute enters, and the water
gathers. Sealing the chute seems to be the first step, *then* if that
doesn't solve the water problem (along with repairing the door or putting a
lip on the outside edge to keep water from running under the door. Gee,
can't wait to trip over that coming into the basement. :)
I can't really describe it -- it was such a bear to make *any* progress
excavating it by hand, that I never was able to make enough headway to be
certain about what i was looking at. What I really need is something like
an really durable Archemedes Screw <insert off-color joke of your choice
here> to get the coal and dirt and rocks out of the hole. A small backhoe
won't do it. Nothing I can seem to rent is small enough and stable enough
to get into that corner and dig that coal out.
Yes, lots. I'm less concerned with that than with the water draining into
the basement room, though. One problem at a time. :)
It's funny you asked for a screw because there is something like that
called an auger and it is indeed shaped like a screw. They are used
to drill holes of any diameter in soil for fence posts and pole
buildings. The large ones can be mounted to a machine (Bobcat). One
and two person models are also available. Ice fishermen use the small
ones to drill through the ice. All can be rented. Better to have a
It may be possible for you to auger a hole as close as you can get or
maybe several holes. Although you would have to finish the dig by
hand it it would at least get the work started anyway. Four to six
feet is the maximum depth for the augers I have seen. Better to have
If you have to excavate the coal chute anyway then it should be
possible for the sump line to exit the house in the same ditch. The
excavation for the sump line can far exceed the size of the sump it
can be a big deal.
If you can extend the ditch to where the sump line can exit the soil
then problem solved. Best practice would have the ditch go dowhill
from where it exits the house but depending on your situation you
might be able to cheat on this.
one reasonable tool - a clamshell posthole digger. It goes straight
down, open the handles, the blades pinch together and you lift out the
load. That is a job for someone used to hard work as it gets you in
the back rapidly.
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