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backing up the back up sump pump

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  • backing up the back up sump pump

    Quick history: We built a new home here in southwestern Ontairo (higher up elevation, away from all water sources) last year. Duing the winter months we got a constant flow of water into our sump pit (it went off every 10 minutes or so - I measured it and we were getting about 50+ gallons per hour). I installed a battery back-up as we started the process of finishing the basement. It didn't change through the winter, or the snow melting or early rains in the spring, but later in spring (May/June) it went away; it stopped all summer long (sump pump never went off, even during rainstorms) and my stress was gone too.
    Until this winter - once the ground froze up in early December the flow of water came back...same as before. I'd love to know what it is (I'm guessing some sort of groundwater source?) but what I really need it to make sure my basement never floods. We just finished off half of it and I'm not planning on clearning up after a flood...ever...

    So, the question is: what is my best preventative medicine?
    As I said - I already have a decent 1/3 horse submersible pump in place, working fine (every 10 minutes...) and a simple battery backup pump. But when the original pump goes I've got limited time to get a new one in place (the pit fills up in 20 minutes...)

    So here are my thoughts - I welcome input:

    1) have the next submersible pump all ready to go - I saw a RIGID pump with a lifetime warranty - is that something I should be putting in? Is it better to have more horsepower? What is the most reliable/long-lasting pump out there?

    2) If there is room, I could add another pump (probably the pedastal style) in the pit to double up my protection

    3) I looked into before...add a municipal water powered/no electricity pump - but some plumbers discouraged me from doing this originally (wouldn't guarantee it wouldn't cause a flood - said it was discouraged now(?).

    4) Would it be overboard/expensive to cut another pit near the first (I have the room) and set it up with another pump - so if #1 floods the water goes into #2 which is set up with either another submersible pump or the municipal water pump?

    I'm open to all ideas...what is the best way to deal with this constant flow of water into the home?
    [and sorry about the lengthy post...can you tell I'm stressed about it?]

  • #2
    Re: backing up the back up sump pump

    50 gph per hour is ALOT of water. You need duplex pump system with an alarm and battery backup if you want to stay dry. Just because you are higher in elevation doesn't mean you won't have ground water issues. With this much water coming in on a constant rate I would call in an expert.
    Last edited by plumberscrack; 12-29-2007, 07:09 AM.


    • #3
      Re: backing up the back up sump pump

      I agree with crack, a master zoeller or ridgid pump, and then set up approx 8" higher, would be a secondary pump, with a float, and then a little higher then that float, a float for the alarm.

      We have running springs here in palos verdes, constant water running underground through peoples property and under their houses, luckily they are able to drain with gravity, everything is best with gravity, when you need to use a pump, then, as long as you start using mechanical devices, there is always a chance for failure.

      def need a secondary pump and alarm system to be safe, once a year test the secondary system to make sure it is operational.



      • #4
        Re: backing up the back up sump pump

        For 50 GPH, a duplex system like Crack said in a lead/lag setup is the way to go. On top of that you need at least one spare (new in the box), same model as those installed so that it is a quick and easy changeout when one dies.

        Control setup maybe something like this:

        Pump A comes in at the first level. If A keeps up with inflow and pumps the sump down then on the next cycle B pump is the lead and starts first. In either case if the first pump can not keep up on its own then the second (lag) pump kicks in doubling your capacity, then the lead pump drops out when the level gets down in the normal range. Pumps should be sized so they can handle the expected inflow singularly, but not so large that they short cycle which could be hard on the pumps and your controls.

        By having the replacement pump the same make/model will simplify a changout which no doubt will happen at 2AM. If 20 minutes (your estimate) is not enough time to swap out a bad pump then get a battery backup pump too.

        Any chance you can do something with your landscaping outside to redirect this water or is it all from an underground source?
        "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006


        1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error


        • #5
          Re: backing up the back up sump pump

          [quote=adil.hoxha;112440]Quick history: We built a new home here in southwestern Ontairo (higher up elevation, away from all water sources) last year. Duing the winter months we got a constant flow of water into our sump pit (it went off every 10 minutes or so - I measured it and we were getting about 50+ gallons per hour). quote]

          it's 50 gallons per hour. not 50 gallons per minute

          the battery back up is good if you constantly lose power druing a storm. the problem is that the battery will die of lack of proper charge unless you have a good automatic charger built in.

          phoebe it is


          • #6
            Re: backing up the back up sump pump

            Having a sump pump start and stop about every 10 minutes is going to destroy the motor starting switch contacts (internal motor part) and the main float switch. 50 gallons per hour is lots of water. That would be 1200 gallons per day. Think of the mess if the sump pump(s) failed or there was a long power failure. A battery backup sump pump is fine for short term power failures but not for long ones. This is a case where the source of the problem really needs to be found.

            Are there any hills nearby at all? Is your home basement below any other land nearby? Are there any lower spots on your property that could be used for drainage from under the basement floor level?

            You'll hate this, but one way or another even it it requires some digging from the outside to below the basement slab, you really need to find the source and prevent the water from entering the basement.

            I hope you have heat and good dehumidifiers in the basement. Moisture = big problems over time

            For the short term, I recommend making a bigger sump if you can. You do not want your pump(s) starting and stopping and restarting frequently. The larger the sump, the better. ... Bob D brought up a good idea about using 2 or more main pumps and having either an automatic or manual way to share the work load. To keep it simple you could rig up 2 float switches and say once a week change them so pump A becomes pump B regarding the duty cycle of each.
            Last edited by Woussko; 12-29-2007, 01:45 PM.


            • #7
              Re: backing up the back up sump pump

              Thanks for the ideas...

              First - not sure if I can do anything about the landscaping...the hope is on a mild slope (back to front) but it is graded very well away from the house...and the flow doesn't change during rains/ I guess it is underground.
              I'd love to find (and rid) the source of the water...but I wouldn't even know how to go about doing that? Last year when I thought the water would keep up during the summer months I had thought of calling in someone to dig a well somewhere on the property...could pump the water up and out away from the house (and water the gardens endlessly too...) but I'm thinking that might be an expensive and not-necessarily-effective way to go.

              Second - making the pit bigger sound tricky (or a summer job when I don't have a constant in-flow of water...) but any ideas on how much money/trouble putting a second pit in would be? I don't even know who I would call to do this(?). But the idea of having the second pump in an overlow pit sounds good...but I guess you don't really want the pump just sitting there, right?
              How would I (or who would I get) to enlarge my current pit - so there is room for the potential duo of pumps? (I'll have to look more into the alternating switch idea too..could do the manual once a week switch I guess for now.)

              Third - I have a battery backup, with a marine battery that is plugged into a recharger - but I'm concerned about how many pumps that will give me in a power outtage. Guess I should be really looking into a generator of some sort to do the pump. Any suggestions on a generator that is small & simple (inexpensive?) that could run the pump?

              Thanks for you ideas - helping me get a plan...