Why is one sump pump feeder pipe out of two plugged?
Is it because of stupidity**, or could there be a good reason?
A friend has lived in her house 2 years. It's about 50 or 60 years
old. It has a sump pump in the basement. The basement floor is about
5 or 6 feet below grade. (Did they use sumppumps 50 years ago?, or
was it added?)
There is some sort of clear plastic stuffed into one of the 5" feeder
pipes, the one that heads towards the side of the house. (The other
pipe that heads toward the back is unplugged.)
She's only had the house for 2 years and for some of that time, water
has seeped in the basement when it rains. She recently watched close
enough to learn that it is from the side of the house which feeds the
plugged feeder pipe.
My only reasonable guess is: Is it possible that the plastic pipe
collapsed partly and dirt was entering the sump along with the water?
It seems to me the plastic should be removed and she should see how it
goes, rather than spend 2000 to 3000 dollars for a French drain, which
is the only other plan.
What say you all?
**There is no end to stupidity. My next door neighbor had his sump
pump output rerouted to his basement sink, even though he knew the
sink backed up and poured onto the floor when the stream reached flood
stage, about once every two years. So where would the sump pump
water go if the sink was already full of water??!!
You have all kinds of possibilities. Someone may have stuffed plastic
into the hole thinking they could slow down the water flow when a
previous sumppump failed, then forgot to take it out, along with many,
many, other unknown reasons.
Remove the plastic and see what happens. Then decided what your
On Mon, 28 Dec 2009 04:23:26 -0800 (PST), "Hustlin' Hank"
I wrote last night to a second friend, who rents from the first one,
and he wrote back: " The plastic is soft, but it is heavier than a
grocery bag. Over the years it has become brittle and is torn. What is
important is that behind it the opening appears to have been
deliberately plugged. I tried poking with a small screw diver and met
a lot of resistance. That is the reason that I never attempted to
open it originally without [the landlady's] permission."
Would you poke it with something bigger than a small screwdriver? My
answer to Mark explains what I think might be a stupid reason it is
plugged. I can't really think of a good reason. Even if there is a
bigger than intended hole in the feeder pipe and some dirt and stones
are getting in, and entering the sump, that could be sucked out with a
wed-dry vac, which the woman had 10 feet away. And it might stop and
then the sump would be back to normal.
You're being sarcastic, right. I deserve it. I did think about that
and thought she would have to put some sort of added screeen in front
of the pump intake and vaccum out the sand and grit daily for the
first 2 weeks or month if necessary.
re: "What is important is that behind it the opening appears to have
been deliberately plugged. "
Maybe there's a dead animal in there and someone plugged the pipe with
plastic to block the odor, which by now is long gone.
You say it's a rental? Dig it out...
If something goes terribly wrong have your friend tell the landlady he
was vacuuming the basement and lost control of the hose.
On Mon, 28 Dec 2009 13:01:37 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03
LOL. Well, I'm not the renter, and it's actually in the landlady's
part of the house.
I talked to my friend, the tenant who talked to my friend the
landlady, and he says she had a plumber come out, for 65 dollars, sho
said the plastic was orignally the liner of the metal well. Somehow
the only part that showed was a small part,(much much smaller than
needed to line the whole thing) right around this plugged feeder pipe,
which the plumber says was never a feeder pipe. It was always closed.
?? He thinks iiuc there are no plumbing issues to fix.
My own sump has two feeder pipes, one for the front and one for the
side and the back, but maybe hers has only one. In that case, not
much water comes in through the feeder pipe. Almost as much comes in
through the wall, I think.
Above is the problem I'm asking about, regarding the feeder pipe. I'm
wondering if someone saw water coming into the basement, maybe once
overflowing the sump, and plugged the feeder pipe because he thought
that would solve the problem. Indeed once water was coming into the
sump at my house so fast it overflowed the sump, even though the pump
was working as fast as it should and water was pouring very fast out
of the sump drain outside my house. This has only happened once in 26
years. My solution was to add a second pump (that would work in
tandem with the first, and also work by itself during a power failure)
but maybe some fool's idea was to just stop up the feeder pipe?
Sorry Mark, what follows here was just a different example of
stupidity, and it involved the output pipe:
You'll have to investigate. Perhaps someone tied her downspouts into
the sump line. Maybe that line is suppose to drain water away from the
house to a creek but the creek rises higher than her basement floor
and forces water back into the house sump. These are just a couple
scenarios. Before you dump money into the pit ( hehe money pit), find
out what the problem is first.
No way to tell from here but they existed that long ago.
Does the sump work properly and keep up with the load? WHY is it assumed to
be a problem in other words? If everything is working fine, then there's
likely no reason to fuss with it much.
It could have been for anything from a cistern to someone moved the
outlet from the side of the house to the back for whatever positive
expectations they had. Sumps seldom have two exits.
The plastic: Could be to stop smells, varmints from coming in thru the
unused pipe, all kinds of things. But if it's not needed, which sounds
likely though of course I can't see it from here, then I'd plug it up with a
couple pounds of concrete mortar mix, started thin so it'll go deep into it,
then thicker so it'll stay in the open part.
It comes down to this though: How and why is there thought to be a problem?
I assume it's considered a problem of some sort because of the reference to
Possible. Or they just wanted to move the sump exit so put in a new one.
Again, I have to ask why? You haven't stated any problem of any kind exists.
Or, at one time maybe there were two sumps and the basement has since been
sealed so it's no longer needed; though unlikely, I think.
I say don't worry about it unless the existing sump isn't right.
The lack of a stated problem with the existing sump says there's nothing to
do but maybe plug it so varmints, water, etc., can't get in. I really don't
see an issue.
Yes, but the load is slight, coming only from the other feeder pipe
which proably runs along the back of the house.
Sorry. I see that my only reference to the problem is my mention of a
French drain. The basement floor is getting wet, puddles actually in
the center, from water that comes in along the wall which the stopped
up feeder pipe is likely supposed to protect. That wall is longer
than the rear wiell and is bordered by a sidewalk. She's had someone
caulk the space between the sidewalk and the wall, i've learned, but
I'll bet it still all runs into the dirt somewhere else along the
Sorry. These are entrances. 5 inch pipes the top of which are 3 or
4 inches below the floor, going off in two directions, to the rear
wall and the side wall. The sump is in the corner.
That's a good point.
Entrance. If it were working, it would take the water from the earth
outside the side wall, route it into the sump, and pump it away from
Thanks for your detailed reply.
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