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Improper sump pump installation


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The home is 100 years old and had no original sump system. Recently, a portion of the basement floor had been coated with new concrete (presumably dirt floor) Someone?? installed a sump pump in the area.

There is no drain tile entering the crock, the small 3"x 3" openings in the crock were plugged with 1" - 1.5" size river rock, which is beneath the new slab for drainage. Additionally, the drain holes were made below the high float level. I am assuming that this was an upsell to go with the new concrete floor.

I reported that the system was likely to fail and improperly installed though I cannot determine the nessecity of the system to begin with?

Is there anything else that should be stated or recommended to the buyer?

The property also backs up to a large tributary, the Rock River.

Thanks

Randy

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Yes, the pump did in fact pump water. I am quite sure though that this crock opening will fail due to plugging, lack of a drain tile and associated silt barrier. I told the buyer it is better than no sump at all, but barely. I also recommended that it be evaluated by a foundation expert.

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It's impossible to tell anything accurate from a verbal description, but I've seen installations like that work just fine at keeping old basements dry.

Why would it fail due to "plugging"?

Seems like if the crock got some silt in it, couldn't it just be cleaned out?

What more is a "foundation expert" going to be able to tell anyone? What is a foundation expert?

I'm not saying this is a good install, but based on a whole lot of variables, it might be fine.

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You pretty much described most basements I'm in, except for the concrete floor thing. The ones that have had concrete poured to cap the soil, never have any gravel or "river rock" for drainage. Most don't have the fancy pit liner - just buckets or small trash cans.

Nobody freaks about it. It's a century old, stone-lined hole in the ground. They're not planning to finish it with a bar, game room and home theatre.

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You can recommend that they keep the pump pit clear and buy a backup for security. The pumps are cheap. Backing onto a river sounds like there can be high water at times. [:)]

I also inform people that alarms are available. They nod, "Yeah, good idea" and that thought goes to the back burner. [:)]

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This house was on a ridge nowhere near a river. I suggested the builders may have hit a spring when they dug this pit for an oil furnace. This was in July and the pit was full. After my clients upgrade the electric and install a heat pump, they could just fill this hole in and quit trying to pump the earth dry. That's what I would do.

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The "plugging" that I am referring to is in the very small drain holes cut into the cement crock. The (2) openings were crudely cut into the sides of the crock and were approx. 2" X 3". Large river rock had allready plugged the small holes one week after installation. It would seem that over time, much of the gravel base under the new slab would find it's way into the crock creating a hollow beneath the floor, possible erosion under the floor and eventually the slab will fail. Secondly, the drain holes were cut below the "high" float level which will result in continuous pump operation with little opportunity to cycle and cool down when it rains.

I rarely see any "make-shift" sump systems here. We are serious about foundation drainage here in "Lake Country" Wisconsin. Full basements are the norm. Basement repair companies are very busy here as for some reason alot of basements here have moisture issues. More and more homeowners are finishing their basements now a days, it's the most cost effective way to add living space. This particular basement will never be finished, it's a small area just large enough for laundry, etc.

I was just dissapointed to see a new system installed in such a temporary and poorly designed fashion considering the proximity to the large river at back lot line.

Randy

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The "plugging" that I am referring to is in the very small drain holes cut into the cement crock. The (2) openings were crudely cut into the sides of the crock and were approx. 2" X 3".

Those seem like big holes to me.

Large river rock had allready plugged the small holes one week after installation. It would seem that over time, much of the gravel base under the new slab would find it's way into the crock creating a hollow beneath the floor, possible erosion under the floor and eventually the slab will fail.

If the holes are clogged, the gravel won't get in the pit. If the holes are clear, you're predicting some very dramatic erosion. Seems like a stretch.

Secondly, the drain holes were cut below the "high" float level which will result in continuous pump operation with little opportunity to cycle and cool down when it rains.

If the holes are low, it'll take in more water - that should be good for the floor. I think sump pumps are made to run continously for some time. The cold water is all around it and running through it. That should keep it cool, yes? That said, I'm not sure how the height of the holes, relative to the float, will have a significant effect here.

When I see something out of my comfort zone I usually start thinking of sky-is-falling worst-case scenarios. Take a step back. If you're confident what you're seeing is a problem, pursue it or do more research.

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