Saturday, May 4, 2013

Draining the Sump

When I had my home inspected (prior to purchase) the inspector found that the previous occupants had disconnected the sump pump from the drain and now had it empty into the floor drain.  A rather curious choice since the floor drain basically drains back into the sump.  Presumably the original drain had gotten clogged and either instead of fixing it, or just as a temporary fix until they actually fixed it (and then they died before they got around to it) they decided on this solution.

Part of the contract for the sale was that they take care of this problem prior to me moving in.  I assumed they would clear the old drain and re-hook the sump pump to that.  Instead, they ran PVC pipe around the inside of the basement, cut a hole in the side of the house and had it dump the water out there.  It wasn't a very pretty solution but it's an unfinished basement so I shrugged and forgot about it.

A few times this winter the basement got pretty wet.  There was never standing water, but anything absorbent on the basement floor would be completely saturated.  I meant to figure out what it was, but it would go away and I would forget.  Finally, a few weeks ago, we got a week plus of continuous rain.  I was lucky again in that there was no standing water, but I saw little streams making their way across the basement and I realized I was getting pretty close to a pretty serious problem.  Besides the mold threat.

So a little thought and I realized that the new sump drain was dumping the water about five feet away from my house into the stone surrounding it.  This was a little better than just pumping it into the floor drain but the problem was essentially the same.  It might take a little longer, but the sump was basically getting drained into itself.

I took 25' of gutter extender I had leftover from when I was insulating my house and stuck it on the end of the sump drain. It gave me another 20' or so the water was being pumped away from the house.  The next week we had another multi-day downpour and the basement stayed dry.  So I had found my solution, I just needed something a little better than some gutter extender sitting on top of my lawn.

This Saturday I had the time and the weather and I'd run out of excuses, so I got at it.  The good solution was to attach more PVC pipe and run the line down the drainage ditch at the front of my yard.  I picked the slightly easier and cheaper solution of running 4" black drain pipe down to the ditch.  I still needed to bury it though, and that was going to be the problem.

The first two thirds of sod are removed.  You can see the gutter extender draining onto my driveway in the background.

I started by digging the trench from where the pipe exits my house to the slope at the edge of the ditch.  Digging an 8" ditch was depressingly time consuming.

What pretty pieces of sod.  I'm sure they'll go back just as well as they came out.

I tried to cut out the grass in nice, rectangular pieces.  I was going to have put these back once I buried the pipe so I couldn't just tear them out.  I'm not sure how successful I was, but I created a lot nicer looking pieces of sod at the end than the beginning.   

A line of sod, a line of dirt.  I'm sure this is symbolic of something.

After I'd converted a line of grass into pieces of sod, I went back and dug the trench deeper to allow for the pipe to go  under the sod once it was replaced.

Can you even see where the trench is?  Honestly?  OK, what about if you lie?

I failed to take a picture of the newly-laid pipe itself, but here it is with the sod put back on top.  I don't know how well it will work out.  Worst case scenario I'll have to re-seed that line in the grass once the soil settles.  The line drains to a few feet below the top of the ditch and seems to be working fine.  So hopefully wet-basement problems are a thing of the past for me.

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