DIY Network

All Projects

TV Projects

    What Do You Want To Work On?

      What Activity Do You Want To Do?

        0

        Available Projects

        Get Results

        DIY Network /

        Message Boards

            DIY Message Boards  Hop To Forum Categories  Home Improvement  Hop To Forums  Plumbing    Need Sump Pump advice
        Go
        New
        Find
        Notify
        Tools
        Reply
          
        Need Sump Pump advice Sign In/Join 
        posted
        Hi all,

        We have a 3 year old house with a basement. About a month ago, we had our first instance of water in the basement. We have a sump, but for some reason, the float didn't activate the pump. When I toggled it with my hand, it activated and evacuated the water. Since then, this has happened a couple more times...exactly the same way. I've tried to see if it is getting hung up on something, but as far as I can see, it should be fine. So my first question is, any idea what is going on with the float or how to fix it?

        Second, I want to put in a backup pump, but I'm not sure what to buy. There are lots of pumps available, some are kits that replace primary and provide a backup together. Reviews by owners all seem to be mixed - sanying "failed when I needed it the most" being a common complaint. That said, What do you guys recommend as a total solution? I've never done sump work, but it seems fairly straight forward...I just want to get the right equipment for longevity. Thanks!
         
        Posts: 2 | Registered: Jan 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of joecaption
        posted Hide Post
        Sure the pits deep enough to trip the switch?
        Spending some time and money to prevent the water from getting in before it needs to be pump out is what I would be more inclined to be doing.
        Working gutters.
        No flower beds or mulch pilled up againt the foundation.
        Grade running away from the foundation.
        Some cases call for a french drain.


        joecaption
         
        Posts: 17984 | Location: Hartfield VA | Registered: Jan 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        Sure sounds like either the sump is not deep enough (to allow the float to completely rise and trip the switch) or the float switch itself is sticking.

        Rather than go for a backup system, why not just get a new and reliable primary pump and switch? I'd feel a whole lot better with confidence in my primary system over having a backup. The problem with backup systems is that they are rarely tested and are therefore more likely to fail when needed.

        And, as Joe points out, it is always better to put time and effort into keeping water out as much as possible.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10092 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Is you sump like this type? Or the one in my next post?

        With this type you don't have a lot of options for adjusting the water level for when you want it to kick on. So your sump needs to be fairly deep for it to work well. You also need to make sure that the float moves easily and doesn't get hung up on stuff in the sump or between the pump, pipes and sump walls.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: Sparky617,


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.


         
        Posts: 604 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I've had challenges with the first type making sure that the float had room to move unobstructed. With this type you can generally adjust the level at which it kicks on. In either case the float has to move freely.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.


         
        Posts: 604 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Guys, I appreciate the advice. But I was asking about purchase advice and how to repair the float advice. Questions about my pit depth and mulch are not relevant. I assure you, both are fine. Indiana has a hight water table and a working sump is needed. Please advise on the questions asked. Thanks.
         
        Posts: 2 | Registered: Jan 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of joecaption
        posted Hide Post
        Without knowing or seeing what you have or a picture, hard to tell you how to fix it.


        joecaption
         
        Posts: 17984 | Location: Hartfield VA | Registered: Jan 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Your first question was about the float. As to what to buy, I don't have a sump and don't have an opinion on what to buy. Try reading on line reviews and make up your own mind.

        Please note my general caveats at the bottom of my posts with respect to how much I get paid to do this.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 604 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        quote:
        Originally posted by Rick & Kristi Isham:
        Guys, I appreciate the advice. But I was asking about purchase advice and how to repair the float advice. Questions about my pit depth and mulch are not relevant. I assure you, both are fine. Indiana has a hight water table and a working sump is needed. Please advise on the questions asked. Thanks.


        OK then. Pit depth is relevant as it's the most common cause of sump failure. Since you have now eliminated that as a potential problem, moving on.

        For your style of sump pump, failure of the switch to turn it on will either be a mechanical or electrical problem. Mechanical is more likely - inspect the float to make sure that it is not cracked. The rod that connects the float to the switch goes through one or two guides - make sure that the rod is clean and can slide easily up and down. Finally, make sure that the pivot bar at the top can move freely - clean and use some lube like WD-40. Overall, the most common cause of a mechanical failure is the build-up of dirt and crud common with a wet basement.

        On the electrical side, make sure that the connections out of the switch are clean and tight. If all mechanical areas check out and all electrical connections are good, then it's down to replacing the switch or possibly the motor.

        If your pump has an integrated float switch (where the switch is a floating flipper that pivots on one end) then there is not much to check other than to make sure it pivots freely and is making electrical contact. These switches are available at any home store and are easy to replace.

        At this point, I would strongly recommend just getting a new sump pump unit. As an electrical appliance working in a wet environment, they only have a fixed life span. As I mentioned in my first post, you are better off to have a 100% reliable primary system as opposed to adding a back-up. A metal housed pump like the one in Sparky's picture runs about $150. If you are continually fighting a high water table then that's a small price to pay every few years to ensure a dry basement.

        I've worked on hundreds of basements and if you called me in to work on this I would check all the above - but if I could not find a definite cause to your intermittent problem I would recommend installing a new pump unit.

        As to a back-up pump - it can rarely hurt other than to cost money. I say rarely because if you choose to use the same sump then you may have a room issue where one pump could interfere with the other. Otherwise, the back-up pump is set at a slightly higher water level and can be exactly the same type of pump as the primary. If you are concerned about power outages and want to cover all the bases, then get a battery operated pump, battery and constant charger system. You'll spend more money but that should handle almost any problem that could happen.

        A much less expensive back-up system would be to install a float switch that triggers an alarm. This will work fine if you are usually home, not so much if you travel a lot.

        Finally, another thing to check is whatever kind of debris filter you have. Just a small rock, stick or leaf jammed in the impeller area of the pump can cause it to randomly jam.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jaybee,


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10092 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Either install a water alarm or make sure your back up sump pump has that feature. Helpful for you to be alerted in the instance you do get unwanted flooding.

        An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

        Retroloco-LJ
        http://fhfurr.com
         
        Posts: 13 | Registered: May 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I had 2 sump pumps in my previous house (western suburbs of Chicago). We had frequent power outages, as the electrical was overhead lines and the town had a lot of mature trees. Hence, anytime a summer storm blew through, tree limbs went crashing into the power lines. There were times where we were without power for 2-3 days. A battery-powered back-up wasn't the answer as batteries have a shelf live and somewhat short operating time. I installed water-powered back-ups, which are plumbed into the main water line. I don't remember the brand, but a Google search would solve that. As long as you have adequate municipal water service pressure, the back-up will run. No batteries to maintain or run down. They were reliable and needed no special maintenance.
         
        Posts: 42 | Registered: Aug 12, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Frodo
        posted Hide Post
        http://www.build.com/little-gi...3795721-e-1585933477

        chose the one you need....i cant help you unless i know pit debth,width,length..etc
        ck your ck valve. if it gets stuck the pump "jacks off" on, off,on,off ,on ,off..till it burns up
        ALWAYS..replace ck valve when replacing pump.. ALWAYS

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: Frodo,


        https://www.youtube.com/*****?v=vn7bkncf1_E


         
        Posts: 3843 | Location: I live in southern mississippi | Registered: Jun 01, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
          Powered by Social Strata  
         

            DIY Message Boards  Hop To Forum Categories  Home Improvement  Hop To Forums  Plumbing    Need Sump Pump advice

        © Scripps Networks 2009

        Advertisement

        Posting Guidelines

        • Please be sure posts are category appropriate.
        • No off-topic or off-color postings.
        • Postings may be deleted at the discretion of DIY moderators.
        • No advertising is allowed.
        • Be nice. No name calling, personal attacks or flaming.
        • Certain words will trigger moderation of the post. These words mostly cover political or religious topics, which are OFF the topics covered by DIY.

        Full Guidelines

        For general message board help, click the tab labeled "Tools," and choose "Help" from the dropdown menu.