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Thread: Sump pump advice

  1. #1

    Question Sump pump advice

    Greetings everyone.

    I just found this forum and it seems to offer a lot of good advice.

    My situation is I have a downdraft furnace going into a concrete slab. There's apparently a crack in the slab and the plenum fills up with water when we get heavy rains. Looking into it shows it's been happening for a while, but we just noticed it the other day when the air wouldn't blow to the first floor ducts.

    It appears that my options are to move the furnace (big $), or to put a sump pump in the plenum to remove water when it comes in. I've looked around a bit and have found what are called "floor sucker" pumps - they sit on the floor and don't require a sump. These sound like they may work, but I'd like some advice before proceeding. From what I've read it also sounds like an electronic level control may be a good option for detecting the water.

    Advice and suggestions are appreciated!

  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    If the water is coming into the plenum via the floor then the correct solution is to put a sump near the plenum for a pump that will lower the water table adjacent to and under the plenum.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the reply. In order to put a sump in I'd have to move the furnace, cut a sump, put the furnace back in. Lots of work. That's why I was thinking about one of those "floor sucker" pumps - they apparently don't require a sump.

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    So doing it right is too much work? Go ahead and do what you want... Then post pictures so we can laugh and make fun of them... Maybe one day when you sell the house you will be forced to do it right then you can experience the joy of paying for what you are trying to avoid without ever getting to enjoy it... Wouldn't that suck?

  5. #5

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    A "floor sucker" pump is intended for when something already happens...meaning you already have undesired water present. IMHO they are not good preventive devices. There are some "automatic" pumps that have built in sensors that turn on regularly to check for the presence of water and shut themselves down when the water level drops sufficiently. Electronic switches are not very reliable vs. mechanical ones. Some of the non-automatic floor "sponge" pumps need to have water already primed in the intake hose. You would have to install an in-line check valve below the pump intake to retain the fluid to maintain the prime.

    Bottom line, I agree with Bob NH that the proper thing to do is to cut a sump pit to keep the water below the plenum level. As Bob indicated, you don't have to move the furnace to do this....just position it near the plenum. That should save you some cost.
    Last edited by carmel corn; 04-03-2008 at 08:42 AM.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    I was thinking of digging a sump adjacent to the bottom of the plenum, with the side of the sump very near the side of the plenum. Water would travel through the ground to sump, thereby causing the water to no longer rise to the level of the bottom of the plenum.

    The objective is to lower the water table under the slab so it is lower than where the water is collecting.

    If there is no access immediately adjacent to the plenum then you have a more complex problem that is hard to answer without pictures and details.

    It might be possible to put a sump in the bottom of the plenum, which might include breaking a hole in the concrete by working through the wall and bottom of the plenum.

    If a "floor sucker" pump does the job for you, it isn't a big job to try it.

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