Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-01-2012, 05:01 PM   #21
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
We have a small basement area that the previous owner set up as a wine cellar. There is a sump pump down there that takes out ground rain water. I've wondered what I can do if the pump goes out due to a power failure. We have had flooding before when the pump went out, I just called a service then.
Thoughts? Anyone ever done this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
If you are near the top of a hill, I'm surprised that you have water in the basement. Does it occur mostly after a heavy rain? If so, could be downspout location.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
We are near the top of the hill but it does extend at a grade of maybe 10 degrees up another 50 feet as a guess. The original owner installed French drains but I'm not sure how well that was done. At any rate he had the problem with drainage and installed the sump pump. I think that is common in California hilly country.
I'm with Travelover. Instead of designing ever-more-exotic ways to remove the water from the basement (and backups to those backups), perhaps it's time to keep the water from getting into the basement into the first place.

Houses can be built to keep water from coming in through the basement walls. Water can be diverted around foundations to drain downhill. Runoff can even be directed into a large underground gravel pit outside the house to drain away from the house. All of these things can be done without having to demolish the house or excavate the foundation. Figure out where the water is coming from and how it manages to lay against the foundation, and then give it some other direction to flow in.

Water coming into the basement is an indication of a problem to be fixed, not just an interesting pumping challenge.
__________________

__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-01-2012, 05:02 PM   #22
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Lsbcal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: west coast, hi there!
Posts: 5,676
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Backup sump pumps use marine batteries, and a good one should last 5-7 years. A couple of pebbles isn't something to worry about, and if that's all there is it isn't a problem. If you can, you should scoop them out anyway, just to be ultra-safe, and when you hear the pump cycle, check to see if more come in. Dusty stuff isn't a problem, it's hard things like rocks and such that get stuck in the pumping mechanism and cause the motor to burn out. I lost 3 pumps before figuring that out (I'm a bit slow) and had the pit re-dug.
I'll add cleaning to my water test which I do around September, just before the rainy season starts. Our pit appears to be ringed by a ceramic insert so stuff probably just comes up from the bottom, I guess.
__________________

__________________
Lsbcal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 05:45 PM   #23
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,074
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
. Unfortunately Harbor Freight doesn't have a store in our area.
I'm guessing you want to see it in person rather than ordering online?
__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 05:57 PM   #24
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 24,418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
I
Water coming into the basement is an indication of a problem to be fixed, not just an interesting pumping challenge.
In some parts of the country this is true. In the Midwest, however, a sump pump is a prerequisite for any homeowner. Perhaps that means the millions of homes in this area are not well built, but it might also be easier and less expensive to build a house, channel the ground water into a drain and pump its out than build a truly waterproof house.
__________________
MichaelB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 06:29 PM   #25
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Lsbcal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: west coast, hi there!
Posts: 5,676
Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
I'm guessing you want to see it in person rather than ordering online?
Online would be OK if it is returnable and has good reviews. Amazon Prime would be the best for me or even Home Depot which I think allows store returns. I know absolutely zilch about generators and never fired one up.
__________________
Lsbcal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 06:32 PM   #26
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
We are near the top of the hill but it does extend at a grade of maybe 10 degrees up another 50 feet as a guess. The original owner installed French drains but I'm not sure how well that was done. At any rate he had the problem with drainage and installed the sump pump. I think that is common in California hilly country.
If you're on a hill, it sounds unlikely that the water table itself is rising up all over your lot to the level of your basement and causing this flooding. It's more likely that the water flowing down slope is locally puddling/saturating the soil on that side and entering your foundation gravel from the wall or working under your basement slab. Either way, it might be practical to build a "curtain drain" to help to quickly remove much of the water before it seeps in deeply, and these are a lot easier to build than a deep French Drain right next to the foundation. The curtain drain intercepts the water while it is at/near the surface and gets rid of it before it can saturate the soil around your home. The most common way to build these is to dig a trench about 10-12" wide and 12-18" deep (rent a backhoe or a trencher--fun fun!) that crosses the path of the water coming down the hill. The trench slopes slightly downhill and exits to daylight away from the house. Put filter fabric in the trench bottom and up the sides about a foot, put a couple inches of gravel in the trench, put perforated 4" pipe in the trench so that it has a bit of drop, then cover with gravel and wrap the filter fabric over the top. Fill the trench all the way to the surface with coarse sand or, if you must, cover with only a bit of soil for grass. It's smart to put a riser at the high end and a sweeping elbow so you can clean the pipe out with a hose or even a snake if it silts up. Don't cheap-out and use the corrugated slinky pipe--it will silt up much more quickly than the smooth pipe, and it's harder to assure you get an uninterrupted, smooth fall on the pipe (any little dip will catch silt and eventually cause trouble).

I used a slight variation on the above at my house, because our soil has a lot of clay with fine sediment that will eventually totally clog a gravel bed like the one above (or the filter fabric around it). I used very coarse sand instead of the gravel and cut slots in solid pipe using a saw rather than using perforated pipe (the holes in perf pipe are too big and will let the sand in, it won't happen with the thin saw kerfs). I took the sand all the way to the surface (and now grow carrots there). Works great so far. According to some publications by the Army, a sand-filled drain like this keeps the fine particles from migrating in toward the pipe and resists silting up longer than a gravel bed.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 06:43 PM   #27
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
Online would be OK if it is returnable and has good reviews. Amazon Prime would be the best for me or even Home Depot which I think allows store returns. I know absolutely zilch about generators and never fired one up.
Being in CA might cause some difficulty, as any engines have to comply with California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements. The little Harbor Freight generator is approved by CARB.
You can read the reviews at the link I posted earlier. In particular, read the review from the guy who has bought and used a lot of these--he tells you what needs to be tightened up, to throw away the stock spark plug and use the automotive spark plug he recommends, and how to break in these little generators and run them for maximum longevity. Apparently, if they are treated right they can live a long and happy life giving good service. He concludes with "After a year of every day use, we have never had an engine or generator failure. Sure things vibrated loose and things needed tightening, but heck, we paid less than $100 each!! " They are not going to be as smooth and polished as a Honda generator, but >>any<< generator you buy will require you to learn a few things about operation and maintenance.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 07:27 PM   #28
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Lsbcal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: west coast, hi there!
Posts: 5,676
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Being in CA might cause some difficulty, as any engines have to comply with California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements. The little Harbor Freight generator is approved by CARB.
...
I was not using their "find a store near you" like they intended. Now I see there is one right in town. So I'll check out that generator. Thanks for the tip Sam.

Regarding property drainage improvement, the structure has been sound for 30 years (15 while we've been in it). So I'm not in any hurry to complicate things. Minor drainage improvements are all that I've done.
__________________
Lsbcal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 07:42 PM   #29
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
I was not using their "find a store near you" like they intended. Now I see there is one right in town. So I'll check out that generator.
Oh, on the way to the Harbor Freight store, stop by a supermarket and check the back of Popular Science, Family Handyman, Popular Mechanics, etc for a full-page Harbor Freight ad. They are very common. It will have a bunch of coupons, including 20% off any single item. If you buy the generator that'll knock the price down even more. Good luck!
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 08:05 PM   #30
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,874
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Oh, on the way to the Harbor Freight store, stop by a supermarket and check the back of Popular Science, Family Handyman, Popular Mechanics, etc for a full-page Harbor Freight ad. They are very common. It will have a bunch of coupons, including 20% off any single item. If you buy the generator that'll knock the price down even more. Good luck!
20% coupon is not good on generators, but coupons for that generator at $89 are plentiful. I have one and like it.

Here is one http://widgets.harborfreight.com/wsw...9&keycode=1002
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 08:52 PM   #31
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Lsbcal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: west coast, hi there!
Posts: 5,676
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
20% coupon is not good on generators, but coupons for that generator at $89 are plentiful. I have one and like it.

Here is one Coupon Display
That looks like a fantastic deal. Thanks!
__________________
Lsbcal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2012, 01:02 AM   #32
Moderator
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 9,341
If your basement is above street level, you should be able to run a drain line with a positive slope to drain at the street with no pump, and no need to "charge" the line. This does require a lot of digging though.

__________________
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2012, 01:13 AM   #33
Moderator
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 9,341
Or if you're looking for a temporary solution:

How to Drain a Flooded Basement

"A MacGyver solution is to use plain old physics to do it. No use of pumps, instead, you use physics to do it. However. this would only work if you live atop a hill or there’s an incline nearby. Using a wide hose (garden hoses are too slim and therefore, slow), you can siphon out the floodwater. Fill it with water. Have someone to cover one end (with his/her thumb) while you cover the other. Through a basement window, place one end on the standing water, and have one end be carried somewhere downhill somewhere below your basement level. Release your thumbs and watch the siphon do its work."
__________________
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2012, 08:26 AM   #34
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Lsbcal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: west coast, hi there!
Posts: 5,676
Ronstar, nice drawing. The situation for us is similar but the basement is pure concrete as it's just a small wine cellar about 10 ft square. Drilling through this would be tough and then you would hit adobe soil with many BIG rocks in it. This area used to be quarried for rocks and people still manage to haul nice boulders out for landscape purposes. The rocks are attractive with many boulders covered by moss and lichen. I've dug many holes for plantings and it's tough pick and pry bar work.

So to do a passive draining one needs an emergency hose system. The hose has to go up about 5 ft, then take a turn about 15 ft, then go down hill maybe 50 ft to the lower level street that is maybe 2 ft below the basement floor level.

The discussion about MacGyver solution is sort of what I was referring to as charging the line. I have siphoned water from a spa we used to own which wasn't too far in volume to the type basement volume we have. For the spa I just used a 50 ft hose and it took ~1 hour to siphon. I never even thought about charging the hose as it probably had some water in it and the siphon action just happened without special attention.

The hose would be somewhat longer for the basement case, maybe as long as 100 ft. Our hoses are coiled up and attached to water spigots with hose end spayers closed. If unscrewed and not drained they are pretty much fully charged I guess. I could get it started with a water siphon pump that I just found here: Water Siphon Pump

Sound practical? Maybe it would work well in a pinch. I guess I should just try this on a nice day (it's raining cats & dogs now). This solution doesn't take care of the case where one is out of town though.

P.S. Also I found a nice standing water alarm here: Amazon.com: Glentronics, Inc. BWD-HWA Basement Watchdog Water Sensor and Alarm: Home Improvement
Will have to test it to make sure it's loud enough to hear from the basement level.
__________________
Lsbcal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2012, 11:51 AM   #35
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,874
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
Sound practical?
I think that a combination of the siphon starter and the water sensor alarm are a good start. You may want to fashion some kind of a coarse filter for the hose inlet.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2012, 12:26 PM   #36
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 575
Like what others mentioned - you should try to find out what is causing the water from coming in.

In the past, my sump pump will run whenever there is a heavy rain. I extended my downspouts to discharge farther from the house. And now, the sump pump does not run as often.
__________________
KingB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 04:19 AM   #37
Moderator
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 9,341
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
I could get it started with a water siphon pump that I just found here: Water Siphon Pump

Sound practical? Maybe it would work well in a pinch. I guess I should just try this on a nice day (it's raining cats & dogs now). This solution doesn't take care of the case where one is out of town though.
That looks like it would work with a garden hose. Depending on how much water you have, a bigger hose would be better.
__________________
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 07:53 AM   #38
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,410
How about a battery backup to the sump pump where the battery is kept charged by a small solar panel? I know a few neighbors who have DC powered boat lifts that run off of marine batteries that have a small (~1.5' * ~2.5') solar panel that keeps the marine battery charged. I would think this would work well for quite a while and you could recharge the batter using the car if needed.

Besides, wouldn't a solar solution be in vogue in California?
__________________
pb4uski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 09:00 AM   #39
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Lsbcal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: west coast, hi there!
Posts: 5,676
For now I don't think I'll go with a battery backup. So I won't have a solution for when we are out of town. Almost all our vacations are during the dry season.

The solar panel sounds nice but it would not work with our north facing exposure and enclosed situation.
__________________
Lsbcal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 11:26 AM   #40
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Telly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,448
A major problem with the water-powered sump pump, due to its concept...

The ones I saw all worked by the venturi principle, with something like for every X gallons of city water used, Y gallons of sump water were moved out, where X was less, near or greater than the value of Y. Not only does this dump a lot of water out total, but if the output hose gets plugged, or moved too high, or anything that restricts its flow, then all the city water reverses course and goes into the sump pit!

And since the float is still high, keeping it "on" it continues to "pump" forever, flooding the area that it was supposed to be pumped out. Not good.

In a northern climate, a frozen output hose is a real possibility. Often, after a heavy rain the cold front would finally move through and turn to snow, then snow stops and temperature plummets. In the meantime, the sump pit continues to fill with ground water from days before.
__________________

__________________
-- Telly, the D-I-Y guy --
Two fools dancing on the hands of time
Telly is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:36 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.