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toddjk

01:09PM | 07/19/07
Member Since: 03/27/06
18 lifetime posts
Bvbasement
I recently put an addition on my house (finished a year ago). We built a full basement under the addition, and dug about 3' deeper than the existing basement. The foundation company laid 4" corrugated black pipe around the new foundation, terminating in a sump pit in the corner of the new basement closest to the old basement.

As a side note, the "old" and higher basement got seepage due to hydrostatic pressure during EVERY heavy rain - something the prior homeowner failed to mention. We installed interior drain tile (PVC this time) and a second sump pit - it has cured all of our problems in the upper part of the basement.

Now, on the lower basement, I'm not having problems per se, but I'm amazed at the amount of water that gets pumped out. Last night in Chicago, we had HEAVY rains - probably got 2" in an hour. My lower pump was cycling almost constantly, and when I went near the pit, it sounded like someone had a firehose emptying into it. After the rain subsided, the pump still cycle pretty frequently (I counted about every one to two minutes). This morning, with no rain, the firehose sound was obviously gone, but there was a slow, steady flow of water that I could hear running into the pit. And of course every so often the pump would cycle it out. Now, I have noticed in the past, that even when there is no rain for days, my pump will occaisionally pump water out of the pit, and I can sometime hear a very slight trickle of water into the pit, again even when it is dry outside.

Some other facts -

- Both of my pumps empty into the sewer - my suburb allows that (in fact they prefer it when your house is close to your neighbors, as mine is).

- Both pumps are Zoeller. My upper pump has a battery backup with an AGS battery installed by the company that did my interior drain tile. As of now, my lower basement does not have a battery back up, but I plan on installing one because even though the area is currently unfinished, I do not want water coming out of the pit.

My questions -

1) Should I be concerned about the speed and volume of water that was coming into my pit during last night's storm?

2) Should I be concerned that this morning there was still a steady flow of water into the pit?

3) Should I be concerned that even when it hasn't rained for days, my pump still cycles water out?

or...

4) Should I just shut up and be happy that even during last night's storm, I didn't get a drop of water in the basement?

5) Where could the water be coming from that is being pumped out, even though there has been no rain for days?

6) When I do finish the lower basement, what do you recommend to lessen the noise that the pit makes as water trickles into it? My thought would be just to pack some insulation on top of the pit to deaden the sound.

and finally,

7) Once I get a battery back-up for my lower pump, will the frequent cycling of my main pump reduce it's life - and am I at risk of that pump dying?

Thank you in advance for your help. I know this is a lot - I'm obviously clueless on this stuff - I just know I hate wet basements.

MistressEll

01:42PM | 07/19/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
Although the city of chicago proper allows because they don't have seperate storm system within the older central city - most if not ALL of the burbs do NOT. In fact if you are in NW area you are prohibited (if still cook or S. Lake County). To the STORM via non-direct yes...to the sanitary sewer...NO.

1) the battery back up will be about useless if you get continuous filling and a power outage of any length. Sure hope you have a real MARINE battery and not the cheapo car batteries that are usually pawned off with those ace-in-the hole type backups AND that you have that sump power cord for the back-up properly PRIMED (there is a tube in the power cord).

2) Ground water seems too high for your new addition lower depth - hope you had a geographical engineering study done before you built. Neighboring pools? Any chance your SEWER lines are leaking (your connection to the MAIN)?

Otherwise suspect you have leakage in the main STORM SEWER and/or your street out front is dumping onto your property (lotsa clay around these parts).

3) if you have CITY water - suggest you'd be better served using a WATER PRESSURE (potable water driven) BACKUP sump pump system for this always running lower basement sump, switch the batery back=up system you have to the higher elevation older basement sump that hardly ever runs. This water pressure driven sump will ALWAYS run irrespective of battery power as long as there is positive city water pressure (well worth it).

4) suspect A) your sump pit is not large enough B) your sump pit is not fully lined deep enough C) your sump pump is not STRONG enough and D) your discharge is not LARGE enough. I wonder if E) you might have a faulty check valve (post sump pump but before exit) that isn't opening/closing fully and you have back-flow or F) your likely less than legal connection to the sewer doesn't travel high enough with a proper pitch then drop to sewer and you're syphoning water back into your basement and drain tile system via the sump pit.

If your sump pit and pump are lower than the city sewer system (which is likely only about six feet below the earth IF EVEN THAT...as the Storm sewer tends to run ON TOP of the Sanitary sewer - you're likely syphoning the entire city's storm flow back into your lower drain tile system below your 3- deeper new basement.

Now...if you're south of the NW metro district...or immediately west of the city proper MAYBE O.P allows.

Even Deep Tunnel gets overwhelmed. With the long drought and latest fast/heavy downpours of 2" plus in less than an hour x3 lately the rain has had no chance to soak into the scortched earth - run-off to paths of least resistance and flooding has been common.

If your basement is lower than your sewer connection of your foundation drain tile system (sump pump) to same is NOT wise. A drywell far from your foundation, WIDE and DEEP would be much wiser - allowing for slow disapation to the surface water deep down in the soil at a slower steady rate - (time to perk) far and away from your basement.

You may well need a second sump pit and pump in a second location of your addition - deeper not always wiser especially in our clay-ridden area with oh-so-much of the land these days being paved over/rooved over - no earth left to absorb the rainfall, let alone the run-off from structures/roads sidewalks, etc.

toddjk

02:23PM | 07/19/07
Member Since: 03/27/06
18 lifetime posts
I live in Oak Park. I've passed plumbing inspection - they want you to empty into the sewer.

As for the rest of your post - I've pretty much got a heart attack reading it - some of it is over my head, some of it has me concerned. We put our life savings into this addition - the village signed off on everything, of course, and our architect seemed pretty competent.

My battery back up on my upper pump is an AGS battery (not a car battery) - Permaseal did the work.

Is there any way we can talk real time about this? Could you perhaps send me an email ([email protected]) with your phone #? I'd be happy to pay for your time - you've got me real concerned.

MistressEll

02:52PM | 07/19/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
I almost mentioned Oak Park as an exception since they are right on the west boarder of chicago and use chicago treatment - and are not a part of the NW district.

Unfortunately they are oftentimes remiss in their reviews regarding drainage issues (just like the City of Chicago).

good news is you're on city of chicago water too (via Oak Park) so you have adequate water pressure to run a water driven back-up sump in your deeper ever-cycling sump pit instead of the battery back up one. Money there spent won't go to waste since you can relocate the battery-back-up to your other sump pit on the older basement higher elevation side.

Here's the thing...

your newer excavation is lower, and its drain tile system lower. Therefore gravity and the path of least resistance means sumps on this addition being lower, draintiles lower, etc. will run first - and suck from the ground (drainage, dried out areas will then re-fill with water from soil/land/higher drainage field in front of the house) with water that used to go to the old sump.

Additionally you have increased water shed from the roof of the addition washing down.

Where are your gutters from old house and new addition terminating?

Far enough from the foundation?

french drain system to a drywell at the back of the property, or to the street storm drains?

If you don't re-direct all this water spill from the house itself far and away from the ground around your foundation, it will just keep perking to your drain tile system and into your sump.

which side of 290 you on? north or south of the eisenhower? east or west of the old coal gas plant/epa cleanup site?

toddjk

03:31PM | 07/19/07
Member Since: 03/27/06
18 lifetime posts
>>>good news is you're on city of chicago water too (via Oak Park) so you have adequate water pressure to run a water driven back-up sump in your deeper ever-cycling sump pit instead of the battery back up one. Money there spent won't go to waste since you can relocate the battery-back-up to your other sump pit on the older basement higher elevation side.>Here's the thing...

your newer excavation is lower, and its drain tile system lower. Therefore gravity and the path of least resistance means sumps on this addition being lower, draintiles lower, etc. will run first - and suck from the ground (drainage, dried out areas will then re-fill with water from soil/land/higher drainage field in front of the house) with water that used to go to the old sump.>Additionally you have increased water shed from the roof of the addition washing down.

Where are your gutters from old house and new addition terminating?

Far enough from the foundation?

french drain system to a drywell at the back of the property, or to the street storm drains?

If you don't re-direct all this water spill from the house itself far and away from the ground around your foundation, it will just keep perking to your drain tile system and into your sump>which side of 290 you on? north or south of the eisenhower? east or west of the old coal gas plant/epa cleanup site?

toddjk

03:40PM | 07/19/07
Member Since: 03/27/06
18 lifetime posts
I was trying to paste in some of your comments and respond to them but it didn't work. I don't have time at the moment to re-type them - wife and kids are waiting.

Again, if you found it in your heart to drop me an email with a phone number - I would be eternally grateful. My head is swimming right now, and I could use some help.

To quickly answer one of your questions, I'm on Oak Park Ave, just south of North Ave, so well north of 290 (at least for Oak Park).

MistressEll

04:09PM | 07/21/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
I want you to un-emotionally review the entire thread and think about it, then walk around your house, looking at rain/run-off collection points, etc. and get a handle on the topography and connections.

Then I want you to think about what has already been offered.

If you're still over your head I'll give you a call. (I saw a listing for you, hopefully its still valid).

Relax enjoy the weekend, for a change we have no rain in the forecast for a few days.

toddjk

01:50PM | 07/24/07
Member Since: 03/27/06
18 lifetime posts
OK MistressEll, I’m going to try this again – I have calmed down somewhat J. I want to answer some of your questions, then just pose a couple more of my own…

---good news is you're on city of chicago water too (via Oak Park) so you have adequate water pressure to run a water driven back-up sump in your deeper ever-cycling sump pit instead of the battery back up one. Money there spent won't go to waste since you can relocate the battery-back-up to your other sump pit on the older basement higher elevation side.---

The battery back-up I have now is already on my older (higher) basement sump pit. I currently do not have any back up on my lower pit. That area is unfinished right now, and will remain so for a few years – I went over budget in just about every area of the addition! The older part of the basement had absolutely no water management system whatsoever when I moved in, and either the previous homeowner omitted the fact that the basement got water, or I just had bad luck, because during every steady or heavy rain, I would get seepage at the floor/wall joints and hydrostatic pressure through the floor. I had Permaseal install the interior drain tile and sump pit, with an AGM battery back-up. It has completely fixed the water issues on the upper level. Since the water I was getting there was seepage, I’m not too concerned about a pump not being able to keep up – I would imagine that pit is filling very slowly. It’s now the lower pit I’m worried about.

I’ve done a little research on the water powered pumps – seems like a great solution. I saw on one website for the base pump, that the recommended a 5-gallon test off of a hose spigot. My bucket filled in a little over the 40-second limit – but according to the village of Oak Park, the water that comes into my house is delivered at 43-45psi, never dipping below 43. I have a 1 ½ “ line coming into my house.

Given those numbers, am I still a good candidate? Any particular model you would recommend?

---Here's the thing...

your newer excavation is lower, and its drain tile system lower. Therefore gravity and the path of least resistance means sumps on this addition being lower, draintiles lower, etc. will run first - and suck from the ground (drainage, dried out areas will then re-fill with water from soil/land/higher drainage field in front of the house) with water that used to go to the old sump.

Additionally you have increased water shed from the roof of the addition washing down.---

Yep, I understand. Since there never was an old sump, the new sump is just picking up water that would have otherwise been under or against the old part of the house. There was a drain outside the basement, which was a walkout, but that was dug out along with the catch basin it fed. All of my basement plumbing and floor drain on the upper level now goes to a newly installed ejector pit.

The water coming into the pit during last week’s storms was fast – but the pump kept up. By the morning, the water had slowed to a trickle. The next evening, the pump was cycling about once every 45-50 minutes. Now, after 5 dry days, there is still a drip into the pit, and I hear the pump cycle every so often, but hours apart.

---Where are your gutters from old house and new addition terminating?

Far enough from the foundation?

french drain system to a drywell at the back of the property, or to the street storm drains?

If you don't re-direct all this water spill from the house itself far and away from the ground around your foundation, it will just keep perking to your drain tile system and into your sump.---

There are 3 gutters on the rear of my house – the two on the ends have 10’ extensions and spill next to my deck, which runs the width of the house. The one that runs down the middle of the house on the back spills out under my deck – I put one of those 5 foot flexi-spouts on it – I’m thinking I’ll put another 5’ extension on. I have another two gutters on the side of the house – both of those have extensions that take them to the property line (about 6 feet). The only other gutter is in the front, next to the front steps. I put one of those rain drains on it (the kind that unroll when it fills with water), as that gutter would otherwise dump right at the foundation in the front. It’s a good 35 feet from there to my sump. That gutter used to run into a sewer line – but that line doesn’t go anywhere anymore – the hole is still there, but it’s basically covered by the gutter – I can’t imagine there is much water getting in there, and I’m not sure where anything that got there would go – I do plan on just capping it with some PVC. What I really should have done was run the gutter out to my front yard when I put my new walkway in, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I suspect that run-off at this point of the house was a major contributor to the seepage on the upper part of my basement – there was a significant seepage area right on the side of the house where the water would run off. But again, since the upper drain tile was installed, that problem has disappeared.

---which side of 290 you on? north or south of the eisenhower? East or west of the old coal gas plant/epa cleanup site?---

I’m not real close to 290 or the Barrie Park clean-up.

Again, I do appreciate your time. The phone number you found is likely the right one – even in my less panicked state, I would still welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

MistressEll

08:42AM | 08/28/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
You started a new string regarding this, and I just responded there.

Its been a little busy around these parts lately, as you are well aware!

Sorry it took a while to get back to you - I also provided links and phone number contacts for the system you asked about. Should work well since your city water pressure is above 30 psi consistantly.
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