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Thread: Sump Pump runs every 3 to 6 minutes

  1. #1

    Default Sump Pump runs every 3 to 6 minutes

    Hello,
    I recently bought a home that seems to have a drainage problem. The sump pump is brand new. The sump looks to hold about 20 gallons. When the pump goes off, it drains all the water out of the sump. When I go out to the street, to watch the flow from the discharge pipe, 20 gallons is NOT discharging onto the street.
    The water quickly builds back up in the sump, and the pump kicks on soon after.
    I did a little troubleshooting on my own. I used my Shop Vac to manually suck out the water from the sump. I did this for approx an hour straight. This slowed down the drainage into the sump, and the sump pump would kick on every 30-40 minutes, as opposed to every 5ish minutes. This proves that there's a leak somewhere in the discharge pipe, correct?
    So, I dug a hole over the weekend, to where the sump pump pipe meets the discharge pipe, right next to the house. The soil underneath the piping was pretty wet... There is also a tree close to the pipe, and there was a pretty large root that went straight to the pipe, and actually wrapped around the pipe, but I did not see any penetration at this point. Roto Rooter guys came over about a month ago and snaked the pipe out. They did discover some roots in the pipe, pretty close to this tree (I didn't dig out very far, because I don't have a very efficient shovel!).
    Something else I discovered... When I dug down to the pipe, I waited for the pump to kick on... When it shut off, I could hear water rushing back toward the house. Seems like there may be an object blocking the flow? This might explain the lack of water making it out to the street?

    Sorry for the rant... I'm just hoping someone here can give me some sort of direction, as I'm a new home owner, and I have no idea what to do (I don't even know who to call about this... ha!).

    Thanks in advance!

    Joe

  2. #2
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    It sounds like you either don't have a check valve at the pump or the valve is stuck open. So the pump runs, empties the pit, shuts off, the water runs back into the pit backwards, the pump comes on again and repeats itself.

    bob...

  3. #3

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    Actually, I don't think any water is coming back down the pipe...
    There are two pipes that stick out in my sump that collect water from the parameter of the house and dump it into the sump. One of them, on the right side of the sump, is like a running faucet. When I manually sucked the water out w/ a shop vac, after an hour or so, this stream of water went down to just a trickle.

    Thanks for your response, Bob. If anyone has any other suggestions, I'd appreciate it.

  4. #4

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    Where does your pump pump the water? Is it possible that there is a break in the pipe near the outside wall of your building and the water is finding its way right back into the tiles that line the perimiter of your basement walls? Just a thought. A neighbor of mine recently had that situation.

  5. #5

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    Timmy, the pipe pumps the water out to the street. Probably a 50 foot trek. I am going to dig a little more this coming weekend. I'm going to try to dig up to 10 feet out. If there is a break in the pipe, how difficult is it to replace that? Could I saw off the break and replace that portion with new pipe, or would I have to replace the whole thing?
    Is it difficult to replace portions of pvc pipe? I'm clueless, obviously, but I'd feel bad paying someone to do something I might be able to fix myself.

  6. #6
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benn32
    I'd feel bad paying someone to do something I might be able to fix myself.
    That "might" can be rather problematic, but prudence is still prudence.

    You definitely need to find out why your discharge is not going to where you believe it should be going ... and yes, if you can find a better shovel to get you there, it just might be an easy fix. However, only "fix" whatever you are absolutely certain is actually broken, and do not even let a pro guess at that.

  7. #7
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Like Speedbump asked is ther a check valve on discharge pipe somewhere near the pit.

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Once you get the pipe uncovered, check to see what the slope of the pipe is. If you don't have a good check valve in the pipe and it is sloped back to the house, you'll only get a little bit of water pumped on each cycle. Depending on the length of the pipe, that 20-gallons might just overfill the pipe, empty the sump, and then the pump turns off. All of that water that didn't make it to the end discharge, now is just returning to the sump.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9

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    What's a good service to call to remedy whatever the issue is? A plumber? I have no idea... It's killing me!

  10. #10
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Could you give us a picture showing us the check valve maybe?

    We're all dying to see that bugger on there.

  11. #11
    Commercial Plumber markts30's Avatar
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    The broken section can usually be replaced using shielded bands and a piece of replacement pipe.
    If it is a fitting, you can replace that in a similar fashion....

  12. #12
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    If you wish to call some one call a plumber.

  13. #13

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    Where are the check valves usually installed? I'm at work now, but will try to find it when I get home... Is it usually up near the ceiling or down low near the sump?
    Thanks to everyone...

  14. #14
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    It should be in the pipe leaving the pump in plain sight maybe three feet or so above floor level.

    Yes by all means call a Plumber. That is one of the things Plumbers do. I would stay away from those drain snake pumping guys that have the full page ads.

    bob...

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