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Sump Pump Basics

Posted by Henry in MI on May 9th, 2001 11:20 PM
In reply to sump pump by Peter Lothian on May 9th, 2001 09:09 PM [Go to top of thread]

Hi, Charlene. We have lived in houses with sump pumps and houses without them. With is better.

While I could not tell exactly, your area should be fairly dry, unless it is close to a river or something. But remember those winter snow storms and spring rains. They can dump a lot of water. Runoff from rain or snowmelt can collect around your foundation and actually lift a cast concrete basement. The "water table" is where the first layer of soil with a lot of water in it is located. This goes up and down with the rain and smowmelt also. If it goes higher than the bottom of your basement, then it can also tend to push the basement out of the hole that it is in. The cast concrete actually can act like a boat.

The way to prevent this from happening is to have a hole in the concrete floor so any water that gets under the floor can get out. The next problem is that when the water gets higher than the hole it has to go somewhere. If you don't have a sump pump to pump this water up to ground level, your basement will get water on the floor. Since water causes all sorts of thing to grow, like mold and mildew, this is not a good thing. So all a sump pump is, in reality, is a pump that takes any water that finds it's way under your basement floor up to ground level where it can flow away from the house.

The next problem is that this water still has to go somewhere. If you would simply release the water next to the house, some might flow way and some might drain down the outside basement wall, under the basement floor and then have to be pumped out again, possibly for another and another cycle. It sounds like your builder has this covered. Eventually, this pipe, like all outside pipes, might get clogged with tree roots or similar, so don't plant anything big close to where this line goes. Rootlets can find their way into very small holes and then grow from there.

My bed is on the first floor of our house almost exactly over the sump pump. I can hear it when it starts anytime but only hear it run when the house is quiet. Most of the time there is so much noise from kids, the TV, neighbors kids, the TV and other sources that I don't hear it, but it is a comforting sound when I do. There it sounds about like the computer's fan motor when I am sitting at the computer. It's a lot quieter than Don Cherry and says more when it makes noise. LOL

The bottom line is, I would not be without one, unless we were in a climate with little rain. In the southern US, many houses don't have basements and they don't need sump pumps. About anybody else does. They require a little maintenence but most people just wait until they quit working. The one in this house lasted 28 years before we needed a new one. This old timer was built a lot heavier than most today and I put in another one made by the same small company. Other than that, I have had moss grow in the sump and clog some of the pipes. No big deal to fix. Try to get the instruction manual for your. Here, they have to be wired on a separate circuit but I'm not sure of the code there.

Good luck and let us know if you have any more questions.

Henry in MI

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