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Thread: Sump Pump always going off

  1. #1

    Default Sump Pump always going off

    I need some advice. I recently purchased a new home, 1/2 way thru the build, foundation and framing was done. It was my 1st time and had no clue about water tables or wet lands. I live in the Northeast, CT to be exact.

    Last winter our sump went off about every 15 mins. Our builder told us it would do that due to a ponding affect under our foundation, it was a new foundation, our yard wasn't graded at that point and that it would eventually stop. Well it did stop, about 2 months into spring. About a month ago I noticed that the water in the sump bin was raising to where it was last winter and now the pump is going again, about once an hour. The builder came by and raised the pump by stacking bricks under it, 3 stacks high. The water now sits about 1/2in under the drainage pipes leading to the bin. The builder told me I could possible raise the pump another brick but what concerns me about that is the water backing up into the drainage pipe under the floor and only going off as my basement floods.

    My guess is that they built the foundation too close to the watertable or they went too deep with the sump bin and now i'm just pumping out a river.

    I created a dry well last fall - 24 feet away from the house 4ft by 3ft by 4ft deep, filled it with trap rock and i'm sure thats just going to be overwelmed with water and prob just find its way back to my house.

    Does anyone know of anything I can do or ask the builder to do to alleviate the high water table problem?

    Thanks...

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    Not much you can do except try to ensure that the land is graded away from the house, the gutters don't drain next to the foundation, and you sump pump doesn't fail. You can build the walls so the only place water can come in is via the sump, but you probably can't close it off successfully. Think of the basement as a boat...there has to be an outlet or it will try to float. The sump gives it a low pressure place to come in rather than pushing through the next weakest place. Moving the sump pump up probably won't make any difference about the amount of running time it gets. In my unprofessional opinion, I'd rather have it maybe 6" off the bottom of the pit so that when it does run, it runs a bunch out, rather than turning on for much shorter time and far more often. If the grading is good, and the gutters are run away from the foundation, and you have significant water...it is ground water...not much you can do about it. The house I grew up in was about a 1/2 mile from the towns spring fed water supply. During maybe half of the year, if the power went out, we could get up to a foot of water in the basement. You may want to look into a battery backed up pump for that possibility.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    You might try to take a look at the subdivision plan at the town offices. They sometimes specify elevations for foundations and basements where there is a high water table. If the builder built the place in violation of the requirements you may have recourse.

    Sometimes they put drains around the foundation and drain them to a storm sewer, if there is a storm sewer that is low enough. Probably not available if it's a full basement.

    If the floor is higher than some nearby ground, as is the case with some of the "split entrance" or "raised ranch" homes in New England, you might be able to drain it to the top of the ground.

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