12:03PM | 08/21/04
Member Since: 08/20/04
2 lifetime posts
We live in a townhouse that was newly built 3 years ago. A few weeks ago, we had a heavy rainfall and I noticed that the water in the backyard (we just have a patio, no lawn) did not go down the drain (storm drain??). Not only that, but after the sump pump turned off, I noticed that there was water actually coming up from the drain because I saw small bubbles coming out of the drain. It wasn't until the next day that all the water finally disappeared.

Thinking back in retrospect, during the end of the first winter, we had noticed that as the snow melted in the back patio, it took a long time before all of the water went down the drain. At the time, the builder told us that it was because there was frozen ice down there and that other units had the same problem. Come to think of it, we have had other rainfalls and the same thing has happened where the water doesn’t drain very fast and the bubbles appear after the sump pump stops.

What does this mean? Is it a construction issue? Is the sump pump clogged? If so, it would seem strange since the house is not that old. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!!


04:09AM | 08/22/04
Member Since: 12/09/03
175 lifetime posts
Heres whats going on; do remember this water seeks its own level. That sump and the drain are connected, with an underground pipe. The water will rise until the pump kicks in, it pumps down and shuts off. My bet is the sump is not very deep. Check the level of the sump against the drain. Dig the sump down a foot below that, and set the turn on level of the pump so it's just at the invert of the drainpipe. That should clear up the gurgling/standing water issue. Let me know what happens. C.


07:26PM | 09/22/04
Member Since: 08/20/04
2 lifetime posts

Just wanted to provide an update on our sump pump. It's been a while because it's take us a while to get a hold of someone in the association that manages the outside of the townhouse.

They have had a maintenance person come and check the storm sewer. They just found some dirt they dug out. They also rodded (sp?)out the drain pipe that the gutter water flows into, and told us to see what happens. It seemed to be pretty plugged up. Does this sound right?

We are hoping this will clear up the storm sewer issue, but there is still a problem with the sump pump. We noticed that it kicks in every 30 minutes, and it has not rained in the area for days. There is also a wet, slim layer on the lower half of the pipe where the water gets pumped out. Looking back, the sump pump did seem to run a lot when we first moved in. Not sure whether it was every 30 minutes or not. Something is definitely wrong and we are not sure what the next step is. We are fearful that the motor is going to burn out! It seems to sound a bit quieter than before, as if it is "tired and burned out".

Any thoughts or suggestions would be great!



08:09PM | 09/22/04
Member Since: 12/09/03
175 lifetime posts
I take it that a sump pump in the family is a new thing for you! The foundation must be set on an area with a high ground water table. A 30 minute cycle time is o.k. I've seen them go every 5 minutes! If the pipe cleaning helped out with the patio problem, great. If not consider digging the sump deeper.The ground water will seep into the basement long after the rains are gone. Keep the float clean on the sump pump. I check the site constantly. Let me know how you make out. C.


07:13AM | 09/23/04
Sounds like an exterior area drain dumping into an interior sump basin. Area drains are problematic. Primarily because of debri that gets washed into the drain. We can't put a leaf catcher on them, like we do roof drains, because it creates a trip hazard.

Secondly they are often undersized. The Mechanical Engineers and inspectors often have a challenge in applying the roof drain charts to area drains. Landscaping and even rain leaders are sometimes allowed to also feed these drains that lead to overcapacity. You probably only have a 2" line running 30 feet without a vent.

I've not encountered a need to lower a sump basin but this might be a regional characteristic between parts of our country.

You've got to bury the whole basin or the lid sticks up out of the floor.

If you only have an upright you should get a submersible. We sometimes get residue in the sump from the underflood drainage tiles. They sometimes get the waterproofing of the exterior basement walls washing down under the slab.


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