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SUmp pump updates - plumbing question...

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by jharkin, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Ok, so we have a 200 year old stone foundation with a poured concrete floor, and a high water table. This equals water every spring. there are drain tiles underfloor and a perimeter dran channel feeding a corner concrete sump pit. The pit used to gravity drain across the street and down a hilll, but the easement to do so got revoked a couple decades ago and in place we have a pump.

    When I bought the place the pump was a 1/3hp pedestal pump, piped into a 1 1/4 PVC discharge, 1/14 check valve, about 4 ft up, 90 elbow and then across the cellar and through the wall. the 1 1/4 PVC runs underground across the lawn (about 40ft) and dumps into the storm drain. Not a great system, in really bad springs like 2010 it gets overwhelmed and I had to setup a second pump. And its very noisy right below the bedrooms.

    So this year I set about really updating it properly.

    #1 - I installed an AC/DC battery backup pump
    #2 - I'm going to replace the old 1/3 pedestal with a Zoeller N53 submersible pump
    #3 - try to improve the discharge plumbing (see question below)


    #3 is the subject of this post. The discharge line to the street is 1.25 so I'm limited to that capacity, though the Zoeller is made for 1.5 and can probably push more flow if I reduce the restrictions a bit. So I have some ideas.

    First, I'm going to plumb the Zoeller first into 1.5, take that vertical though a Zoeller 1.5in silent check valve, then a 1.5 90 elbow, and a length of straight 1.5 and then bush it down to the 1.25 outlet line. I figure that way Ive reduced the restriction of the check valve and elbow a bit, even if I still have the restriction of the rest of the line.


    Next, I had an idea - I could run an emergency second discharge line out through the sill. Put a wye into the main discharge line before the reduction from 1.5 to 1.25, and hook up the emergency line to this wye via a ball valve. Normally it would stay closed, but If I have a real bad water intrusion and both pumps start running simultaneously but still cant keep up I can open the valve to give the water an additional exit path. Also might come in hand if the buried line ever froze (has never happpened so far, its downhill all the way - but who knows?)


    So the question for all the plumbing experts - Any issue with using a wye in the line backwards like this to divert flow?





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  2. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Seems sensible...the head loss from the wye is likely to be small IMO. If you want to be a perfectionist, I would swap out your 90deg for a more gentle radius 90.
  3. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I thought about getting a dwv long sweep elbow.... But I looked it up and the flow rate difference is only a couple pipe diameters equiv...a small %.... Prob not worth going back to the plumbing supply. The 1.5 elbow should be an improvement over the 1.25 elbow that is there now....
  4. Lighting Up

    Lighting Up Feeling the Heat

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    Don't forget your check valve, my guess is it should be after(below) your 90 or you may need two so the water doesn't come back and run down your back up pipe. I only say this because in your picture I don't see one...good luck.
    md
  5. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    My pump instructions wanted the check valve at the pump.
    Lighting Up likes this.
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I have check valves in the existing setup, one for each pump, cheap home center jobs. I ordered a couple of these to upgrade them.

    [​IMG]


    My pipe diagrams call for the check above the water line with a 1/8 hole in the pipe to protect against an air lock in the pump.
    Lighting Up likes this.
  7. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    logical setup. I did it differently.

    I installed 2 pumps in my sump. They have 2 independent discharge lines too. I didnt want them together. One of the failure modes is if the discharge line gets clogges/frozen/ something. As such I opted for totally independent discharge pipes. This way if something happens, I dont have to go and operate a valve.

    I dont have battery backup. someone is usually home at my house and i have a generator, so that solves that problem, 90% of the time. I personally wasnt happy with a battery backup. Between uncertain reduced pump rates, short battery run time, duty cycle, and mainly dealing with a lead acid battery and replacing it every 3 years, i opted to go with a generator backup. Its not idea, and easily argued that using the battery pump was the right option. but regardless it is what i am using.

    I think having 2 pumps is critical. Pumps have a finite life. How do you find out if your pump is dead when you only have one pump? When your basement floods. Thats just silly. I have 2, and test them yearly. One is a little giant pump (gets very good reviews, but was getting old, probably mid-80's or 90's), the other is a harbor freight pump (this is the primary as it has a lower set point). Surprisingly the harborfreight one, 2 years in, pumps great. Larger pump volume, quieter, perfect reliability. And i have a backup in case it dies!
  8. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Or another y and a 45 on the horizontal so you have a cleanout.
  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Don't need to tell you I'm sure, but don't get clever and leave that hole out....you need one for each pump.

    I had three (!!) floods in my finished basement in 7 years b/c of those holes missing. The sump system was 'professionally' installed w/o them. What happens is if the water comes up slowly, the trapped air can bleed out and all is well. IF it comes up fast, the rotor spins in air and nada pumping. First two flodds, wasn't home when it happened....came home to wet carpet and a pump in good working order and happily pumping. The third time I caught it in the act and the penny dropped. Grrr.
  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I'll be sure to keep them. Those holes are another thing the previous owners "solution" was missing. No bleed hole and the check right at the pump outlet. It works so far because the typical pattern is that during the spring thaw the water level in the sump slowly rises to fill the basin half way. Only when we get strong rains does water start to seep down the walls and fill it enough to trip the pump.


    If I was REALLY going to do this right I would dig out the pit altogether and put in a new basin (its a corner pit, concrete walls inside, stone foundation outside and dirt bottom) - But that's a pain because the 50+ year old cast iron Gravity drain pipe (something like 6") is buried in there and I'd have to hack saw it out.
  11. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Soonce its all said and done this is that I will have.

    • 2 pumps, a Zoeller N53 primary and BWD big dog ac/dc backup.
    • Both pumps triggered via BWD electronic dual float switches (backup set 1in higher than main)
    • Both plumbed through separate check valves into a 1.5 Y, then through a 1.5 elbow and to a second reverse 1.5 Y feeding the main 1.25 discharge to the storm drain and an emergency 1.25 discharge right through the sill.
    • The generator to feed all of this in a power outage longer than the BWD can manage (8hr continous)
    • A spare AC pedestal pump pre-plumbed to hot swap with the Zoeller, or use with a hose
    • an extra coil of discharge hose to hook up to the spare pump and discharge out the cellar window if somehow all of the above failed, or to use when working on the plumbing. There is room to fit it in the pit with the other 2 pumps.
    So in *theory* I would have to have 5 float switches, 3 pumps, 3 discharge paths (storrm drain, backup, and the spare hose) and 3 power sources (utility, battery and generator) all fail to completely run out of options. And for that there is the sump overflow rider on the homeowners policy.

    Definitely an "Overkill" system (I probably owe Scotty royalties)
    woodgeek likes this.
  12. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

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    Around here, I dont think you can discharge into the storm drains. You may want to check your local codes.
    Another option if you havent purchased your pump yet.... I'm no expert, but a local plumber friend told me that he has been installing ALOT of backup pumps that are water pressure driven instead of a battery. You will NEVER run out of water pressure. Your battery WILL die eventually. Just a thought.
  13. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Previous owners had the discharge line installed to the storm drain professionally, considering they would have had to tear up the lawn and the storm drain I'm sure they had permits.

    I wouldn't install the water powered pump in my situation. They use a gallon for every 2 pumped, potentially running up a huge bill (our water rates are steep) and overwhelming the discharge line capacity.

    Oh and you can indeed run out of water pressure - our water supply is on a town well system and in a widespread power outage it could get shut off.
  14. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I got the Zoeller in and all the plumbing redone.

    I ended up installing a Zoeller N53 1/3hp non-automatic pump, connected to a basement watchdog delux electronic float switch. The shape of the pit wouldnt allow the float to fit right and the BWd controller will let me adjust the run time and tests the pump monthly.

    I also put in the ball valve connected to a backup discharge running out to the side lawn. Now if I ever had a freeze up or line blockage all I have to do is open a valve.

    Other thoughts....
    The Zoeller is a BEAST. Its only 1/3hp and on paper is rated for less GPH than the pedestal pumps but it empties the pit at least twice as fast as the old pump did. Im actually glad I didn't upsize to 1/2hp.

    The quite check valves are absolutely dead silent. The transparent design is really cool you can see when the are operating. And with the union couplings you could get them apart to clean out in only seconds. Well worth the $20! They are sold by Zoeller and others but made by somebody else.

    Before when the pump would trip we would hear the whine of the motor, the banging of the valves, and los of pipe gurgling. Now we dont even notice it running!!!


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