There truly is not much more rewarding than removing water from one’s basement. Things become flooded, things become fixed. It makes me smile.
I just wrote a post that covered the flooding in our new (old) basement. In that post, I mentioned that the primary issue was the water infiltration in the dirt crawl space. While I’m going to have to wait until Spring to rectify the cause of the infiltration, I figured that I can at least remove the water that had found its way in the basement now. And to do that, I would need a sump pump.
I made a visit to the Home Depot yesterday. I had a few items in mind to purchase, but the main items were a sump pump, a discharge hose and a five gallon bucket. I already had an extension cord to plug the pump in with. I did need to purchase a new shovel and pick axe as well. I wouldn’t be able to complete this project without them.
Basically, all I needed to do was to drill about a hundred holes in the five gallon bucket, drill a hole in the exterior wall for the hose to go through, dig a hole in the basement floor about two feet deep, put a ten pound weight in the bucket, sink the bucket in the hole, put the sump pump in the bucket, plug the pump in and watch the water flow into the back yard. I did most of this last night around 10pm. Since I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, I decided that the project could wait until the morning to finish. I only got down about a foot in the hole but was able to remove about half the water down there.
When I woke up this morning, I went downstairs to see if I could get a bit more water out before I started digging again. Problems arose when I plugged the pump in and found no water flowing from the hose. Apparently, my haste and the lack of pitch in the hose outside froze some water that was trapped in a valley. I was forced to disconnect the hose from the pump, bring the hose inside and submerge it into hot water in the bathtub. Within a few minutes, I was able to pour some water and ice chunks from the hose and reconnect it to the pump. This time, I set the hose up outside the correct way – with a pitch.
With most of the water out of the basement, I got back to digging. Luckily, the dirt down there wasn’t full of rocks like we had at the Pine Bush house. It seems like every project I tackled at that house was stymied by a boulder or two. Not the case here. All I found was sort of gravely type dirt. It wasn’t difficult to dig through.
I got the bucket down where I needed. Although the picture below doesn’t show it very well, the lip of the bucket is actually below grade, which is good because I think this is the proper place for it. The pump is down deep and can continue to pump out any water that makes its way into the hole.
This is almost the same picture, but shows the water level a bit clearer. As you can see, most of the water is out of the basement. There are pockets still trapped down there, but I’m hoping they’ll absorb into the dirt and will eventually be removed by the pump.
So, what kind of sump pump did I buy? I got the “P-330D 1/3 HP Submersible Sump Pump with Diaphragm switch.” It put me back about $160. Ridgid is a good brand and many of the other pumps looked like plastic junk, so I bit the bullet and got this. Hopefully it’ll last for years to come.
I would like to eventually lay the plastic down across the entire crawl space floor to complete this project thoroughly, but in order to do that, I’ll need flexible corrugated pipe and about two pallets of bagged gravel. I’d have to place the pipe up against the footing along the entire perimeter of the crawl space and cover it with gravel. I’d leave the openings (the two ends) of the pipe right up against the hole where the sump pump is. Then, when I have a dry flooring, I can lay the plastic over the dirt and gravel. That’s going to have to wait until next Summer when it dries out down there. For now, I’ll have to be content with keeping things as dry as possible with the sump pump.
Sump Pump Discharge Piping
I just finished up my sump pump discharge project. I finally got around to ordering two check valves for PVC pipe from Amazon and they arrive yesterday. I had almost everything I needed, except for a ten foot length of 1 1/2 inch PVC tubing. I got that yesterday while I was picking up supplies for another project. I’ll get to that later.
I have two sump pumps – one for each section of basement. I used to have each pump attached to its own small 1 1/2 inch tube that would exit the house at different points. After thinking about it for a while, I decided that connecting both pumps in the interior and have them exit the house at one point would be better. From there, I would have the exit tube attach to a large 4 inch corrugated pipe. I picked up a 100 foot long one and that I could pretty much run anywhere with little risk of it freezing. Those small pipes – no thanks. They freeze every which way.
Take a look at the pictures I just took.
The way I have it set up is both pumps pump water into their respective pipes. If they are both running at the same time, hopefully the water will find its way out the exit pipe. If only one is running, the check valve attached to the PVC pipe of the other pump will stop the water from traveling through that pipe into the other section of basement.
The flexible pipe comes from the sump pump. From there, I have it attached to the PVC with a rubber adapter. The adapter increases the size from 1 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 inch.
This is a Zoeller check valve attached to the PVC pipe. People seem to say good things about these check valves. They’re supposed to last a long time and they’re allegedly durable. I’m looking forward to a chance to seem them in action. Setting systems like this up is quite fun.
Sump Pump Hookup Before the Rain
I called my father last night to tell him this story. I was just amazed at how the timing worked out. Since you didn’t hear it, I’ll have to tell it again.
As you know, I recently did some work on our sump pump discharge piping. I had to wait for my check valves to arrive from Amazon.com (I could only find the good ones there). Well, just as luck would have it, only a few mere hours after I finished hooking up the system, we had a short warm front move through that brought buckets of rain. So much rain, in fact, that the sump pumps have been kicking on and off all night.
I was reading a homesteading blog last week that emphasized the idea of not being lazy when living in rural areas. The blog said something along the lines of, “You can not be lazy. Ever. You CAN NOT be lazy when living in rural areas – EVER!” I’ve been thinking of that sentence a lot and last night, when I realized we’d be using the sump pumps for a few days, I also realized that I hadn’t yet hooked up the outside tubing. I purchased 100 feet of 4 inch flexible tubing a few weeks ago just for this very project.
The problem was, we now have snow on the ground and if I were to roll out the tubing and lay it on top of the snow, I wouldn’t get the downhill slope I would need to allow all the water to flow through without freezing. I knew I would have to go outside and shovel a trench. For what distance? I wasn’t sure. And I was racing against the clock because the warm weather was set to disappear that very night (last night). If I didn’t move fast, I would lose all opportunity to shovel anything. All the snow and six inch thick slush would quickly freeze and I wouldn’t be shoveling anything.
As I was shoveling last night, the pump kept turning on and off. Since I had already hooked up the corrugated tubing, the water was getting trapped. Good thing the tubing is thick.
When I reached a certain point and when I was certain the slope was enough so the water wouldn’t make it back into the house, I cut the pipe. I was left with a rising pool of water that would only freeze overnight and that would prevent further flow of water.
As I stood there, I knew I was at a crossroads. Oh how dramatic. I could either let the water flow to a point about 30 feet from the house or I could continue digging through very wet, heavy snow all the way to the pond. If I made it to that point, the channel I created would act as a riverbed and the water would have nothing to hinder its flow. I decided to go for it. The homesteading blog authors would be proud because all my shoveling took a good long time in the dark.
When I was finished shoveling, you should have seen that water flow. It was like a torrent, making its way all the way to the back of the property. I’m not sure if any of it made it to the pond, because there’s a dip right before it, but I’m sure the water flowed a good distance. And the ice is a few inches thick this morning, so I know a good amount of it was pumped out overnight.
I’ll tell you, that was quite the chore. But at least it’s done now, that is, until the next time it snows.