Past Project: Basement Drainage

Living room sofa; rain, 43 F, 0623

When we moved in, apparently, there was a drought on. That changed within a few months and soon, the basement began to flood regularly. Naturally, I installed a sump pump, that that only went so far. Depending on who I spoke with, the problem was with the surrounding water table being too high, or with the foundation of the house being too low.

I did extensive work on the drainage around the yard, which somewhat reduced the problem but did not eliminate it. Clearly, more was needed.

Footing drain, being installed

It took a few years, but we finally hired a company to come in and make a footing drain around the entire basement.

Dirty, wet work

This was a major undertaking, requiring jack hammering up the floor around the perimeter of the basement.

One of two sump pits

Digging down around the footing and placing crushed stone and drain pipe around the entire basement, draining into two sumps.

Back filled with crushed stone

The system uses two Zoeller M98 sump pumps. After more than 10 years of dealing with this system, those pumps are the weak point. Not the pumps themselves mind you, they are fine, however the automatic switch mechanism eventually will fail. Zoeller makes a replacement kit for the switch. I found the best thing to do is use a cable tie and tie the float arm in the up (or on) position and use a corded float switch (Zoellar 10-0034) to turn the pump on and off.

Concrete drying over new footing drain

Eventually, the pump on the north east side of the house wore out (it gets a lot of use) and I replaced it with an N98 pump.

I have installed a monitoring system in case of pump failure. It consists of a leak detector 8 inches below the top of each sump, which will alarm before the water starts flow out onto the floor. The pumps are wired to the generator sub panel. That will be the subject of a later post.

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