(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 27

Thread: Sump pump questions

  1. #1

    Default Sump pump questions

    Hi again. I've been doing some research on sump pumps. Right now we have a 1/3hp primary and a battery back up. I know we will need something different and if it is an underground spring, possibly either a larger pit or two pits. I read about a water powered back up that runs on your house water and will run indefinitely, if necessary. What would this be like as opposed to installing a natural gas powered generator? As you can see, I really want to sleep at night with out having to think about the boogy man in the basement failing for any reason. If it goes, we're underwater within just a few hours and I'm not sure the battery powered one would last long with the primary running as often as it does.
    Thanks all. I think this is the first site I've been able to make any sense to this at all.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    3,307

    Default

    A water powered backup is impractical. It would take more than 1000 gallons per hour from the city water system to provide 1/2 HP at reasonable efficiencies. And you would have to get rid of that water too, as well as paying for it and in most cities paying to put it into the sewer.

    There are lots of possibilities for backup:
    1. Your battery system for short time backup
    2. Automatic start generator
    3. Battery powered alarm that wakes you at night or calls your cell phone and/or a neighbor so you can get someone to go in and start your generator
    4. Arrangements with neighbors to start the generator if power goes off and you are not home

    When you have a backup system you should test it once a week to make sure it's working. The Generac system that I am familiar with does an automatic self-test every week.

    I usually apply my engineer mentality to these things. I would:
    1. Put in a duplex pump system, which is a system that alternates pumps to keep them operating.
    2. Generator with alarm system; probably not the Generac because of expense; but an electric start generator. But if you expect to collect the cost from the seller then go with the auto-start auto-transfer system like the Generac, including an automatic transfer switch. (Things are different if you are spending another person's money.)
    3. An alarm system that notifies you and a backup person by phone if the water rises above the maximum control level, indicating a problem that must be dealt with.

  3. #3
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    5,984

    Default

    With an DC pump and battery system you can add as many batterys as you like for extended run time. For the $$$ I would look closly at this set up.

    What if the back up Gen. didn't work? You can go on and on with scenerios.

    You can figure battery run time and add enough to take care of any reasonable outage. Even generators will run out of fuel.

    Bob NHs system sounds good but lots of $$$ I would guess and I don't know about repair costs or maintenance.

    Just my $.49
    Last edited by Cass; 02-02-2006 at 05:35 AM.

  4. #4
    DIY Member pump's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    87

    Default

    Water powered pumps are for low flow applications! If you have that much water coming in as you say you do, we would not recommend this pump for your application.

    On our battery back up systems and on a fully charged battery, the pump can run on average 7.5 hrs continuously, 2 batteries = 15 hrs continuously, that is a lot of run time because normally sump pumps do not run that long continuous.

  5. #5

    Default I'm thinking

    I like the idea of a Generac system powered by natural gas. If we have no alternative but to live with the pump , would a good pumping system, battery back up and Generac let me sleep at night? We had great plans for that basement. I'd sure like to continue with them. Any improvements to the idea would be appreciated. Thanks.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    3,307

    Default

    The battery pump may be redundant if you put in the automatic generator. You would still probably want two pumps. They can be wired as a duplex system (automatic alternating) or with one float switch a little higher than the other. You could get some of the effect of a duplex system by manually switching the pumps every week or so. Or you could have them both operate every time there is a demand to pump out the sump. That might be the best if you have a large sump.

    One benefit of the generator system is that you have backup power for other things; your computer, furnace, refrigerator, lights, and whatever else you consider essential.

    The generator will start itself every week to keep it in condition and reliable. Nothing is perfectly reliable or capable of operating forever without fuel or energy source. If you go away for a long period you should have arrangements to operate systems while you are gone.

  7. #7
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Posts
    4,244
    Blog Entries
    1

    Talking Aquanot Ii

    the aquanot II will pump on its own for approx

    4 to 5 solid pumping ours.........
    ---------------------------------------------
    an automatic gas powered generator with all the bells and whistles will run you about 5-7K thats pretty pricey....
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    thats a long time, when you consider its pumping out a pit of water
    that takes maybe about a minute every time....

    then add how long t takes for hte pit to re-fill again......

    it takes a long time to add that up to 5 hours.......

    and the alarm is loud enough to wake the dead.......


    so you can figure you will be ok for a few days away...

    and usually in most situations either the power has come back on

    or the clavery has arrived to start a generator...


    so its your most pratical choice....

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/services/
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 02-03-2006 at 04:50 AM.

  8. #8

    Default The problem

    is the pit never empties completely at all. The pump has only been able to empty about 1/3 of it and it takes a full 10 minutes to do that. Then within 20 minutes it's filled to the top and pumping again. It's going for 10 minutes every 20-26 minutes on a constant basis round the clock. The system we have right now is a brand new 1/3 hp Zoeller with a brand new Zoeller battery back up. We are so afraid of another flood because of pump failure (we lost a tremendous amount of our things) that we are willing to put in the home generator for piece of mind and the fact that we need the basement to be dry. We're willing to do nearly ANYTHING.
    The pit space seems to be filled by the pump. The pump has to be up higher on blocks because the float (it's a vertical) would be underwater all the time and have run constantly if we didn't. I was considering a pedestal pump so there would be more space in the pit for water and the pump could pump out more. Is that correct thinking? The drainage pipes leading into the pump are at the top of the pit and the water is always right at that pipe level and above. The pump can't seem to get it below them, ever. Then the water comes right back in. I would love to get some kind of a pump system that could empty the pit. I think it would pump less often if that were the case. Even with a home standby generator we would have a battery back up because if the primary pumps fails for any reason we're under water and fast. The pit is about 24 x 30, I think. You guys have been great and this site is the first place I've had any answers at all. I really thank you. This is frightening for me and I know nothing about stuff like this except that we lost most of a lifelong collection and can't afford to lose more. Would a pedestal pump give us more room in the pit? Would that and a battery back up PLUS a standby natural gas generator work? If not, any suggestions? Thank you all so much. All the information I've gotten here has helped make this situation alot more bearable. We have felt quite alone in this.

  9. #9
    Previous member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Riverview, Fl.
    Posts
    4,540

    Default

    With a water problem like that I would consider a move. Or plug the sump pit and let the house float to it's highest level and the water problem is gone. Kinda like draining a swimming pool with high ground water. It becomes a ship.

    Getting back to reality, have you considered well pointing around the house and getting rid of the water this way?

    bob...

  10. #10

    Default We just moved here.

    This is our new home!! It's only 5 years old. We just moved in last Oct. and the seller never told us about this. They told us the basement never had a water problem and was completely dry. We can't afford to sell it and move again. We'd never be able to sell the house this way and never get our money back. The loss would be just too great for us to absorb at this stage of our lives (we're both seniors and can't do this type of work ourselves). We're stuck in what we thought was our dream home and we have to stay. We will have to deal with the lies the seller told us later. As it is we need to fix the problem as best we can and live with it, I'm afraid. And, yes, it makes us sick. Very sick!
    What is "well pointing"? we'll consider ANYTHING to make the problem go away or make it better.
    It seems like a steady water source from somewhere. When the pump failed we got about 4 inches of water across the entire basement (it's big) by the time we discovered it (about 24-36 hours). If I have to learn to live with a pump I just want something that I know won't fail us again. If we could take care of it from the outside with drains or ANYTHING...well that would be great, too. Would well pointing do something like that? I am unfamiliar with it.
    Any suggestions are really appreciated and we will take all into consideration.
    Thank you, again.

  11. #11
    Previous member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Riverview, Fl.
    Posts
    4,540

    Default

    Well pointing is done a lot when contractors are digging and the water level is high and keeps caving in the trench. By installing well points around the area to be trenched the water can be pumped from the ground through the well points and the trench is now dry.

    This could be done around your home. All the well points are piped together and are attached to a pump. This will allow your sump pump to become the backup not the main unit. With the battery backup you now have three ways of keeping your basement dry.

    These points can all be attached to a pit if the ground levels allow and then can be pumped from the pit when needed by a submersible pump.

    The whole idea behind the well points is to keep your basement totally dry. The water would not be allowed to get to the basement if the points work properly.

    I can't give you an approximate cost, but you might look in the yellow pages under dewatering or well pointing.

    bob...

  12. #12

    Default Thank you.

    THAT is very interesting! We would certainly like to try and keep the water from even getting near the basement. I'm willing to do the WHOLE thing if necessary.
    We bought the house because of the basement and the belief that it was dry. We can't afford to sell and move and it's made us both sick at heart! Believe me!! I'll deal with the sellers later. They will have to answer to a total lie about this house, but in the meantime we have to make it our home for the rest of our lives.
    I will look into well pointing AND everything else we have to do to make the basement dry. Any pointers so I don't get fooled again?

  13. #13
    Previous member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Riverview, Fl.
    Posts
    4,540

    Default

    I think you will find most well pointing companies do commercial work for utilities, so the hardest part may be getting them to do a little job like this would be.

    Don't wait too long to deal with the unscrupulous Realtor. I think you have one year from date of purchase to go after her. This way you have the realty board and the law on your side. It's very possible they will have to reimburse you for your expenses.

    Good luck,

    bob...

  14. #14

    Default Thank you, Bob.

    We do have a friend that is an attny looking into it. We have to establish our "loss" first and that means an estimate on a fix and a fix. I want to start to work on the problem, THEN I'll take care of the seller, who was ALSO the realtor involved and, I believe, is held to a higher accountability on the disclosure she didn't bother to do. I do think that lying to us will have some ramifications, but we need to fix the problem so we can live here as we intended. I'll look into the well pointing. Thank you. As a matter of fact, thank you all for the suggestions. They will all be taken into consideration when we can finally get this going. We're still in shock because of the flood so it's been hard to act on anything, not to mention, it's hard to figure out whom to go to for this type of thing. That's why I've really appreciate this site. YOU all are giving me answers instead of runarounds.

  15. #15
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    3,307

    Default

    One of my customers bought a Generac 7 kW propane powered generator for less than $2500, complete with transfer switch. You can get a backup generator dedicated to the pumps for a lot less.

    At your rate of water infiltration the cost of electricity is not insignificant. Gravity drainage is the best solution if there is a place to drain it.

    But your problem is much more than figuring out which pump to buy, or which power backup system to install.

    You need to find someone you can trust to figure out your options and explain them to you. There will be different costs, and you are the only ones who can judge what is important to you in terms of peace of mind and reliability.

    If I were engineering this situation I would:
    1. Determine if it is practical to drain the water. Talk to possible contractors and listen their ideas and estimates of cost.
    2. Do the same thing with pumping systems. Determine how much water must be pumped? Where will it be discharged?
    3. What is the cost of a pump system that will give you the kind of reliability that you need? Battery or generator, or two small gasoline generators dedicated to the pump system? You need something that you can manage when you are less able than you are now, and that someone else will be willling to buy. You don't want something that takes an engineer to run it. I'm a retired senior also and know what is important.
    4. Compare the costs and features of the systems, make a recommendation to you, and work with you to help you make your decision.
    5. Work with you and suppliers to get the system installed and operating.

    You should get proposals or estimates from vendors and contractors for the several alternatives before you sign any contracts or make big expenditures for equipment.

    You need to pursue the legal aspects with the seller before the case gets stale. The threat of a suit with the possibility of punitive damages and loss of real estate license might encourage the seller to settle. To do that, you need to know the cost so that you get enough money to remedy the problem.

    I agree with you that selling is probably not a reasonable option. The discount for a distress sale would be more than the cost to fix the problem.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •