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Questions about foundation drains

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Badfish740, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    I have foundation drains around the entire perimeter of my house. It's clear that at some point about 6-8" of concrete was removed from the slab all the way around and then filled in. I also have two sumps, both in the rear corners of the house, each with it's own pump. Are these two sumps likely connected or does each side of the house drain to it's respective pump? I ask because the float valve on one of the pumps has failed. I happened to notice because it's near where I bring my wood into the basement-the water level was near the top, way above the level that would normally trip the switch. I unplugged the combination plug (the switch plugs into the wall and then the pump plugs into the switch) and plugged the pump in directly, it worked just fine, but of course, manually operating it is a pain.

    The pumps are of unknown age (I bought the house five years ago), so I was thinking of replacing them anyway, I just am wondering if, in the meantime, the other pump can take up the slack if I forget to empty the bad sump. The complicating factor for both of them is that when we bought the house, radon was found, so we had the sellers install a radon fan which also involved sealing all openings in the slab, including the sumps. They used sheets of lexan that they siliconed in place so I can see inside them but actual access is difficult. Anyway, are these drains likely connected? If so that will give me some peace of mind until I can replace the pumps.

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  2. northernontario

    northernontario Member

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    impossible to tell... you said one was near the top, what about the other one?
  3. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    Duh-if they were connected they would have to be at the same level ;em Thank you for pointing that out. It would seem to follow then that they are not connected since the bad one filled up to way past the trip point.
  4. northernontario

    northernontario Member

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    I mean, it's possible they're connected at the top as an overflow...
  5. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    I have a sump inside (1 hp) and a foundation pump on the outside (3 hp I think), I set my inside one to fire first and overflow to the exterior pump. I don't believe that it is necessarily true that if they are connected they would be at the same level, could happen I suppose but not likely in my mixed up head!
  6. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I would guess the drains are sloped to the respective sumps. The tile sits on top of the footing, and is covered over with a couple inches of concrete. I'd bet the drains are all connected, but the one sump will have to get pretty full to spill into the other.
  7. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    This was done because the house at one time had a water issue. Standard fix is to remove the slab around the outside walls and put perforated pipe in place and run to the crock or crocks. They are usually connected so one could pick up the slack. Also many times the contractors will drill holes into the cavities of your block walls below the slab so the walls don't fill up with water resulting in water seeping in through the wall. We see this a lot in older homes these days. They are great systems and work well. Not cheap either to have put in.
  8. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    That's exactly what was done here. Only difference is the pipe is shaped more like a gutter trough, with holes on one side. It was the best $7k I ever spent. Never had a bit of a problem since then.
  9. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I had the float switch go bad on an otherwise well operating pump. I got a new float switch wet up on Amazon for about $25.00 and it runs just fine now. Matter of fact, the new switch assy is adjustable as it mounts to the outlet pipe. I was able to mount it so that the switch came on at a higher water level, and not I don't have to hear the pump cycling so often anymore. Will probably extend the life of the bump due to the lesser cycling.
  10. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    You can make a dye test to see if there is a connection.

    If your pumps run a lot, I would keep them both in good working order. Those switches fail often, (voice of experience here), and one bad sump pump can make a real mess of a basement.
    Swagler has it right, and I've noticed most contractors like to reduce everything down to just one pump.
  11. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    Wow, that's strong pumping power for a residence. A half HP pump is considered pretty big for a basement.
  12. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I have a 1hp pump and when the spring under the house start shooting up miniature water fountains through the floor, the pump can't pump out fast enough. Have a floor drain that takes up the slack, but still get about an inch of water due to the floor being set with low spots. Might have to cut a trough around the perimeter some time and also add another sump.

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