I know how a sump pump works, but I don't have one so I'm not clear on
how they are plumbed. I'm asking this question for a friend who
recently had a house built with a sump pump. Everything you're getting
here is word of mouth from him, as I have only seen a short video of
his set up from during the storm last night.
His crock has three pipes coming into it. 2 black corrugated pipes and
one PVC pipe. As he describes it, when you look down into the crock,
you would see that the ends of the black corrugated pipes pointed
slightly upward as they enter the crock. In other words he can look
down into the black pipes for short distance. It's not a steep angle,
but they definitely do not point downwards as they enter the crock.
The PVC pipe does point downward into the crock. In other words you'd
have to get your head down into the crock in order to look up into the
PVC pipe. He also said that while standing at the crock and following
(in his imagination) the path of the PVC pipe, based on the little bit
that he can see, it points directly towards the storm sewer drain
cover that is way at the back of his 3/4 acre lot. Obviously he
doesn't know if it turns once it goes out of his house...all he can
tell is that the angle of the few inches he can see points towards
Last night, during the heavy rains, there was a lot of water coming
into the crock from the PVC pipe, but the corrugated pipes were bone
dry. In fact they are so dry that they have cob webs in them. His pump
was able to keep up with the water, but he was pretty nervous about
the amount of water that was coming in through the PVC pipe.
Based on this description, can you tell me anything about the set up
or are there too many other variables involved? In other words, is a
PVC pipe pipe used for a specific purpose in a sump pump system and
corrugated used for something else? Is there a reason the PVC would be
gushing water but the corrugated pipes were bone dry?
I know I might be leaving out a bunch of required information, but
that's all I (and he) knows.
The corrugated is footer drains, which are perforated to collect the water
reaching down the walls to the footers. My pump is set up to pump out
through the PVC, into gutter drains, which run underground to the curb,
then travels down to the nearest storm drain.
Sounds as if maybe, wherever his is supposed to pump to, the waterway has
reached above his outlet. It may be running backwards from the way it is
intended to run.
He needs some tracer dye and drop it into the downspout drains to see if it
is coming from them, also check any drains around the house such as in
outside basement stairs, garage or other areas where water could collect and
a drain is provided. Use the dye in one area at a time to see if that is
where the water is coming from then wait a day or two and try another area.
Unfortunately, I have no source for the dye, but i know that it is used to
check for illegal connections to sanitary sewers.
Sounds like a setup similar to mine.
The PVC pipe is for an exterior footer drain. The black, corrugated
pipe, with its ends emptying into the sump crock, is for an internal
french drain -- though the ends should be pointing down also for proper
The 2 black 4" corrrugated pipe, I think you mean, is for the exterior
footer drain, one pipe going clockwise around the house from there and
the other going countrer clockwise. (I don't know if the space in
between, at the corner of the house where the sump pump is, is
drained or not. I guess not.
White 2" pipe, I think you mean.
That might well be and that would explain why it's got cobwebs. If no
water gets into the basement, the french drain would get no use. But
shouldn't he be able to tell if there's a french drain? The only one
I've seen was put in after the house was built and it's visible. I
don't know if people put them in when a house is being constructed, or
what they would look like.
On Tue, 30 Oct 2012 08:46:30 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03
I don't think it should be that way, but it doesn't hurt much. When
the water table rises outside to be as high as the pipe, it will just
have to rise a little more to empty out into the sump. When and if
the table recedes, soemtime after the rain stops, the water in the
pipe will drain out the corrugated pipe.
When it's not raining, he can run the garden hose into that drain and
have someone in the house, with a walkie talkie or something tell him
if it starts coming out of the white pipe. It seems like a silly idea
to me, but maybe there's a reason. . Where does the outlet of the
sump pump go?
In 29 years here, my sump pump 3/8HP iirc, has always kept up with
what comes in, except once 5 years ago, even though the pump output
was plenty (and I went outside and looked) . I got some water on the
floor. I really should replace the pump with the nexrt size bigger,
which isn't much money, but I'm bogged down with other things.
As to a battery operated supplemental pump in addition, I'm in
Baltimore where it rained plenty Mondy and Monday night and my power
went out at 6AM yesterday. for 29 years I've said that I've never had
a power failure during a rain storm, but, even though it had stopped
raining by then, I sort of feel like I had. (I had 21 power failures
the night before, though they all lasted only one second each)
It would be a lot mroe effort to install a second pump in parallel and
squeeze it all into the pit.
I don't have one.
MY corrugated pipe, like his I'm sure, goes around the foundation of
the house, laid iiuc on gravel. It keeps the water table around the
house from rising above a few inches below the basement floor, so
there isn't much water to push through foundation cracks, if any.
(There is of course some rain water descending from the surface to the
water table, but the pressure on the house from that is small)
When I first moved in, the pump ran for days on end after a rain
storm, and for some of my neighbors it runs all the t ime. That's
because the water table is often above the floor of the sump pit. By
raising the "stop" that turns the pump on just an inch or two, I
caused the pump to run 80% less. I'm the lowest house in the
neighborhood, only 20 feet above normal stream level, so there is
always water in my sump. The previous owner told me to put cholorine
or bleach or something in the sump so it wouldn't smell bad. I've
never done that and it doesn't seem to smell at all. When the pump
was running a lot, it would have all be pumped out within a day.
Yes. The white pipe goes somewhre it wasn't needed.
BTW, none of us have our gutters connected to the sump pump. Ours go
to the obnoxioujs splash blocks and onto the yard. Check if his go
underground and if they do they may come out through a hole in the
curb into the street.
BTW my output is also 2" pvc, which is fine. It's the size of the
output of the pump even the bigger one, and it goes to the the edge of
my townhouse end of group property which is dry most of the time, but
is filled by the stream when it rains enough. Most of my neighbors
output comes out above ground and then into a short piece of black
corrugated NOT-perforated pipe, which comes out through about a 2 inch
hole in the curb into the street,
See my comments below about the possibility of interior and exterior
It doesn't sound like you have a trench around your slab on the inside
of the basement. He does.
I'm not so sure about that.
It's very possible that he has a set-up like the picture here, where
his external drain tiles use a PVC pipe through the foundation into
the crock and the internal tiles use the black corrugated. As long as
the foundation and wall was keeping the rain water on the outside, the
PVC would be gushing but the corrugated would be dry.
Imagine something like this, with the pipe shown being the PVC, but
add 2 incoming corrugated pipes from the drain tiles inside the
He has verified that his gutters empty into his yard via extensions
and splash blocks. Whether or not a lot of that water is ending up
back at the foundation drain tiles and then into the crock, at this
point he doesn't know.
He just remembered that he has the blueprints for his house, so he is
going to pull them out and see if can see how the sump pump was
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