OK, I think something is wrong with the way my sump drains and I'm
looking for confirmation and ideas on how to fix it.
So my pump is mounted at the bottom of the well, with the float
triggering before the waterline gets up to the pipes from which the
drain tiles drain into the well. (all seems correct there so far).
My problem is that, as soon as the pump triggers and drains the well,
I see maybe 50% of that amount of water drain immediately back thru
the tiles (NOT back down the ejection pipe). This is not normal, is
My first assumption is that the drainage pipe is broken and maybe most
of the water is leaking back into the foundation. But how would it
make it so quickly from the pipe back into the drain tiles and into
the well? I'm talking maybe a second or so delay between the ejection
starting and the water flowing back in the well thru the drainage
pipes. It doesn't make sense to me, so I must be missing something.
I know everyone's first suggestion would be - check the drainage to
ensure the pipe is intact. I'd LOVE to, trust me. Problem is that
its under my deck, which is too low to be accesable. Peeking under
there, I can see the pipe come out of the house and to into a 5 or 6"
diameter pipe going vertically into the ground about 2 feet from the
house. My assumption is that it goes to a drain tile or some farther
place in the yard from there, but I have no way to confirm this.
So my questions are - what is likely causing the water to rush back in
so quickly thru the tiles, is that unusual / a concern, and how should
I go about fixing it if required?
Any input would be appreciated. This thing is making me super
nervous, though we've yet to have a flood in the year we've lived in
this 28 year-old house.
On 21 Mar 2007 12:32:40 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I've been trying to figure out why only a second or two after I drink
some water, I have to pee. Doesn't it hsve to go into the blood
stream and then the kidneys and bladder first?
Actually I'm not positive what is happening at your house, but I think
the same principle applies. If your sump is filling, there's water in
the dirt. More water falls on top and pushes the water at the bottom
of the dirt out, into the sump.
It's sort of like the speed of electricity, which is the speed of
light. (or the speed of light through copper, whatever that means)
I used to ask myself, are there electrons racing through the wire at
the speed of light? Seemed hard to believe. But what it is is the
impulse. If you apply a voltage at one end of the wire, the voltage
reaches the other end at the speed of light. But none of the
electrons move more than a teeny bit. But while one is moving, they
Or imagine a bunch of marbles, in a channel so they don't move out of
a straight line. Say the channel is a mile long, and it's full of
marbles, and they are all touching the ones next to them. If you push
the marble at one end, the marble at the other end, a mile away, moves
immediately, or almost so. EVen though each marble isn't moving very
fast or very far.
At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
If it gets too bad, I guess your sump pump won't work at all, even
though it will seem to be working.
This may nevef happen to you,but my pipe isn't leaking and it happened
to me. I lived here for 22 years, and one time it rained so much that
the sump overflowed, even the pump was going full blast. Even though
part way into it I was there watching, there was almost nothing I
could do. I didn't have a way to pump any more water. I couldn't
stop it with my hands. I just noted that it had almost stopped
raining, and it couldn't keep going too long after that.
(I could have plugged in the wet-dry vac and start vacuuming, but I
get lethargic in this kind of crisis. And the water had stopped
advancing, so I figured that everything that would get wet, had gotten
Can you stick a digital camera under there and get a better look at it?
Even better look when the pump is running and see if you can see water
spraying out somewhere on the pipe run. Those sump pumps usually discharge
with quite a bit of force. A big leak might be visable.
On Mar 21, 2:32 pm, email@example.com wrote:
Well, it can be.
The drain tiles around the house hold a fair amount of water, while
the sump itself holds very little. When you pump the sump dry, there
might still be a lot of water in the tiles that finds its way
immediately into the sump.
To verify this, hold the float up to force the pump to run for a while
to see if the flow from the drain tiles diminishes.
You can tweak the floats to take this into account to some degree.
You will have the pump shut down when the sump appears to be quite
full, but the drain tile "reservoir" will in fact be mostly empty.
That's not what's going on. Back up and re-read the original post: he said the
pump kicks on before the water ever rises up that high -- therefore, what's
coming back into the sump is the water he just pumped out.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
On Mar 22, 7:29 am, firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller) wrote:
I quoted it.
It tells me that the floats are set so that the pump comes on before
the sump is full.
I presume his "back thru" means into the sump.
He asserts also that it's NOT coming back down the discharge pipe but
if he's so sure about the 50% number, I wonder. Could it be there's
no check valve in the discharge?
Yep, my assumptions too, although the type of pump and float are not really
relevant to the problem.
You're failing to understand the significance of this fact.
I'm quite confident that the OP's pump cycles a lot, even *without* any
significant inflow -- because he's pumping the same water over and over and
What I mean is this: since the water level in the sump never rises to the
level of the drainage tiles, it is _completely_impossible_ that there is any
significant amount of water stored in the tiles.
And *that* means that when he sees a sudden inrush of water into the sump pit
just after his pump shuts off, the water that's coming in is the same water
that it just pumped out.
His discharge pipe is probably broken, or a fitting came apart, just outside
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
On Wed, 21 Mar 2007 12:32:40 -0700, fwithers07 wrote:
I want to be clear here. Are you saying that the water flows in through
the drain tiles at a certain rate. Then after the pump kicks on, a few
seconds later water is flowing through the drain tiles at a much faster
rate? Which you think is the exhaust water flowing back in???
If so, I would get a pitcher and fill it with water and food coloring. A
heavy dose of coloring. Then dump it into the pit. Then watch what color
comes back in through the tiles.
Then you know for sure.
It is simple really, I cannot imagine anyone stupid enough to intentionally
drain a sump pump back into the foundation weeping pipes so that the water
just runs in a circle. So there most likely is a pipe that drains away from
where it comes out the wall. This will drain to some location away from your
house but the outlet may be plugged. The pipe near the foundation may be
sheared off, split or detatched allowing the water to short circuit back to
Often repairs are not easy and require a lot of changes and tearing down to
just get to the problem. That is the way it always seems to work, so this
may be an opportunity to make any repairs or upgrades to your deck. If there
is a way to bypass the deck you may want to look into the possibility. At
least see which is the least work.
The disaster is the water is just running in circles, with possibly some
going elswhere, and the bulk returning through the foundation drainage. In a
major storm, which happens more often now than before, the pump will not be
able to accommodate the volume of water if most of it simple runs back into
the sump. The result will be a flood, maybe small, possibly major.
I am certain this has not been happening for the past 28 years, something
has happened to the discharge pipe under the deck that needs fixing.
Possibly it started small and now is leaking much more water. Look into it.
The disaster waiting to happen isn't just that -- it's also the fact that the
pump is running far more than it should, and may give out without warning,
leaving him with *no* pump, when even a modest rainfall could leave him with a
flooded basement. Hence my earlier advice to get a backup pump.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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