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Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

  1. #1
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    Homeowner feedback: sump pumps


    I'm house hunting and have been having a hard time with my criteria about sump pumps. Up to now I won't even look at a house if it has a sump pump. To me it's just a major warning flag that the house will likely have water problems. But now I have found an otherwise awesome house...but it does have a sump. Should I absolutely stick to my criteria and stay away? Due to $ and location, its unlikely i'd be able to wait it out and find a similar house to this one.

    I realize that the importance of a sump and amount of water is on a case-by-case basis. I'm just not sure how I'd be able to evaluate which is why I've red-flagged them. Recently someone told me that their house had one which was installed 7y ago when a rare event caused water table to rise considerably. But then the table shifted and they believe it hasn't run much, if at all, since. That got me thinking that maybe I should pursue this house a bit further.

    Spill your 2 cents.

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    Lifer Rosco61's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Don't buy a house with a water problem. I have owned 4 homes and managed to buy dry homes each time. Stay away. Sump pump is a huge red flag

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    Life is good! gadget's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    A good storm will knock out the power and dump a ton of water into the ground.
    If you purchase a house that has a sump pump, I suggest that you invest in a generator also.

    If you can find out what the high ground water mark, for each property, it will help you in your decision process.

    As in how often a sump might be needed etc.
    A leech field test will give you that info but it does require that the inspector dig a hole.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    ask the neighbor if they have problems if their house is at a similar elevation...i put a sump pit in my basement when the foundation was poured just in case...during large storms it pumps but otherwise it's dry...also makes a great place to pump the condensate from the air conditioning units and my boiler to

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by gadget View Post
    A good storm will knock out the power and dump a ton of water into the ground.
    If you purchase a house that has a sump pump, I suggest that you invest in a generator also.

    A leech field test will give you that info but it does require that the inspector dig a hole.
    def get a generator...you can do a perc test yourself if you want...
    http://www.extension.umn.edu/distrib...es/dd0583.html

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    Lifer LuvDog's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Growing up in the midwest, all houses that I remember had sump pumps. We never had a water problem in our basement, but it was nice to know we had the pump just in case.

    I want to put a sump in my current house - we've been in this house for 12 years and never have had any water in the basement, but I figure it's cheap insurance. I just haven't gotten around to it, but will most likely put one in soon because I plan on finishing the basement. It will also be a good place to dump the water from the de-humidifier.

    I wouldn't say a sump pump is a red flag, but other signs of high water should be.

    If you're viewing the house and the pump is running, then I'd be concerned.

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    Lifer BostonSVkid's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    This is in uninformed and ignorant answer. Someone PLEASE explain to me how a sump pump is a red flag? Houses are built EVERY DAY where a sump is necessary to keep ground water at bay. Oh and for the people suggesting generators, there are things call battery pack back ups that will last DAYS if you need them to. If the basement is unfinished and your plan is to finish it then you will need to take the proper steps prior to finishing to make sure moisture is not an issue. That being said, I have 3 friends with finished basements that have sump pumps and they used the right system to make sure moisture wasnt an issue.

    I would be MORE scared of a house that doesnt have a sump in a know wet area. Any house you are looking to buy check the around the yard for wetlands, rivers etc that would note a high water table.

    Whether this means something or not I am a licensed contractor in MA, Certified Home Improvement Contractor, and I work in construction every day of my life. I am not some asshat spouting off about something I know nothing about.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rosco61 View Post
    Don't buy a house with a water problem. I have owned 4 homes and managed to buy dry homes each time. Stay away. Sump pump is a huge red flag

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    Last edited by BostonSVkid; 08-02-13 at 11:33 AM.
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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by BostonSVkid View Post
    Oh and for the people suggesting generators, there are things call battery pack back ups that will last DAYS if you need them to.
    true but high ground water can last days as well as power outages, especially if you get piggy back storms...but i guess you could always turn on your car and get really long jumper cables...either way i would def recommend a battery backup setup cause they are good when the power goes out and you're not home, little piece of mind...as for myself, my basement isn't finished, everything important in my basement is off the floor on shelves in plastic totes, i have no battery backup on my pump, i also have an extra pump that i can swap out to if something happens or i can double up pumps, but i own a generator cause if we have a 100 year storm i'll more than likely be home anyway plus i can use the generator for the rest of the house as well as the pump when the power is out cause i like my beer cold...just have to make sure i have enough gas or know of a gas station that has power and still has gas during an outage

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    Last edited by Point37; 08-02-13 at 11:54 AM.
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    Lifer BSR6's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    I agree it's a red flag but there are exceptions. As already stated there are many homes that were built with sump pumps installed from day 1 as a precautionary measure.

    The best thing you can look for is a drain in the back yard. I have seen them before and always wondered what they were. I found out when my wife and I were having our house built last fall.

    When they poured the foundation for our house, they poured it about three or four feet deeper than they needed to. They then dumped about 3 to 4 feet of stone into the base of the foundation and laid the basement floor on top of that. They also dug a moat around the outside, about 3 feet wide, and filled that with stone. The idea is to allow water setting near the foundation to drain through the stone around the side of the house to a level below the basement floor, then flow under the house through that four foot bed of stone under the basement floor, and out that drain pipe into the woods in the back of our lot. With the way it was all dug out, gravity will take all the water from the front north east corner of the house to the back south west corner (that's where the drain pipe can be seen in the yard) so the whole system is essentially gravity driven.

    In my opinion this is the best solution since your not relying on something that could fail (like a pump). The catch is our house was built on a lot that tilts to one side which helps with the gravity part of it, so it may only be possible where the landscape is just right.

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    Last edited by BSR6; 08-02-13 at 12:01 PM.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by BSR6 View Post
    I agree it's a red flag but there are exceptions. I know of several homes that were built with sump pumps installed from day 1 as a precautionary measure. My sister in law has a house where this was the case. After four years of living there, they have had no reason to use the pump. The house was brand new and never lived in. According to the builder it was installed because "you never know".

    The best thing you can look for is a drain in the back yard. I have seen them before and always wondered what they were. I found out when my wife and I were having our house built last fall.

    When they poured the foundation for our house, they poured it about three or four feet deeper than they needed to. They then dumped about 3 to 4 feet of stone into the base of the foundation and laid the basement floor on top of that. They also dug a moat around the outside, about 3 feet wide, and filled that with stone. The idea is to allow water setting near the foundation to drain through the stone around the side of the house to a level below the basement floor, then flow under the house through that four foot bed of stone under the basement floor, and out that drain pipe into the woods in the back of our lot. With the way it was all dug out, gravity will take all the water from the front north east corner of the house to the back south west corner (that's where the drain pipe can be seen in the yard) so the whole system is essentially gravity driven.

    In my opinion this is the best solution since your not relying on something that could fail (like a pump). The catch is our house was built on a lot that tilts to one side which helps with the gravity part of it, so it may only be possible where the landscape is just right.

    I think some builders are starting to look at water issues as a problem they don't want associated with their houses. I think with this in mind some of them are going to address it one way or another whether it be by simply installing a pump from day one, or building an adequate drainage system.
    i put in something similar to this when i built my house...the stone bed under the basement floor and around the exterior of the foundation...put in that 4" perforated hdpe plastic pipe around the exterior of the foundation just above the footing, left tees with riser pipes to tie in the drain leaders from the roof, wrapped it in filter fabric, buried it in stone...there is a solid 4" pipe leaving the system going to a low spot at the edge of my property which empties into a wetland area...my sump pump pumps over the foundation and into one of the drain leader riser pipes...this works so the pump doesn't have to

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  11. #11
    Equal Opportunity Asshole DroFiveOh's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by BostonSVkid View Post
    I would be MORE scared of a house that doesnt have a sump in a know wet area.
    ^ x100

    The presence of a sump pump doesn't necessarily mean there have been water issues. It's more of a safeguard than anything to prevent damage to a home that may be susceptible to water damage.

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    def get a generator...you can do a perc test yourself if you want...
    http://www.extension.umn.edu/distrib...es/dd0583.html
    not really good info for New England,

    Minnesota has different soils and therefor different regulations and methods, not that the water table knows how to read the regulations, that read gives you just enuf information to be dangerous

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    not really good info for New England,

    Minnesota has different soils and therefor different regulations and methods, not that the water table knows how to read the regulations, that read gives you just enuf information to be dangerous
    true...that was more of an example of what's involved to do one...it's not really rocket science...i can probably walk across the hall to my coworkers cube and find the MA regs for a perc test but i'm lazy

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    Senior Member gamorg02's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    insurance, servpro and a realtor told me a lot of folks put them in after the rain we got in '09 (or was it '10?).

    we have 2 pumps, 2 battery backups, but i live in a pretty wet area.

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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    The house my wife and I are about to close on today has 2 sump pumps, despite the fact that its at a higher elevation (and on a ridge) than the rest of the town. We asked the owners why they installed them and they said that was merely a precautionary measure, and that the only water they got in the basement was a puddle during an extremely extremely heavy rain.

    Obviously I'll find out whether this is true or not pretty soon, but they were extremely up front about everything with the house, so I doubt they'd lie about that. Plus there were no signs of flooding in the basement. I think a lot of homeowners install them "just in case".

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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by Oink View Post
    ^ x100
    The presence of a sump pump doesn't necessarily mean there have been water issues. It's more of a safeguard than anything to prevent damage to a home that may be susceptible to water damage.
    This sums up my problem (i know a few of you have said the same thing). I've been assuming that sump = high likelihood for water issues. Sounds like that's too much of a leap. So I guess what my question is going to morph into is "How do I tell how much/little a water issue a house may have?".

    Yep - I am aware that its good to have backups (spare pump, battery, genny) especially if the pump is required to run regularly.

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    Last edited by keeena; 08-02-13 at 12:31 PM.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by keeena View Post
    "How do I tell how much/little a water issue a house may have?".
    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    ask the neighbor if they have problems if their house is at a similar elevation
    no neighbors?

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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    no neighbors?
    I already noted what you guys have said so far. I meant are there any other signs, tests, etc...beyond whats been mentioned..

    Obviously there's common sense: water marks on the walls and on any stuff that might be in the basement. Rust on boiler (?). Mildew smell? Other stuff?

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    check the pump hole and the pump and look for evidence of use...is it plugged in?...pull a 5 gallon bucket of water off the hot water tank and pour it in the pump pit and see if it even works (could just pull the float up but that's not the best thing for a pump)

    check the walls and floor for cracks and possible water marks

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    Last edited by Point37; 08-02-13 at 12:51 PM.
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    If it helps... we bought our house which did not have one, 2 months later we were ripping drywall and carpet out due to water in the basement / black mold in the drywall + insulation and carpet pad. So sometimes not having one should be just as big of a "red flag"

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    true...that was more of an example of what's involved to do one...it's not really rocket science...i can probably walk across the hall to my coworkers cube and find the MA regs for a perc test but i'm lazy
    MA regs are fucked, they limit perc testing to certain time of year iirc, also make people replace perfect good septic systems cause they don't meet regs

    I have never seen a turd or bacteria that can read regs

    anyhow water table for septic system design purposes and perk rate are not really an indication of all groundwater inundations, only those long enuf to create anerobic bacteria conditions and during the growing season. You could have saturated conditions for a couple of weeks with no permanent evidence in the soil more than log enuf to flood and destroy everything in a basement

    IMHO, if you don't have slope enuf for a daylight foundation drain, put a sump basin and pump in, doesn't matter how good or bad soils or water table are, when it rains in the winter heavy and ground is frozen, but still thawed within couple feet of your foundation from heat loss, all that water that drips off your roof is going to soak down the side of your foundation, rain gutters can help, but they are not a guarantee

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    Don't bother me! R7's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    I wouldn't be worried at all about a sump pump in a basement. If you see water in it now, in the middle of the summer, that would be a concern to me for the wet season.
    It's reasonably easy to tell if there's a lot of moisture in a basement, usually the concrete foundation nearest the floor will show a white chalky like stuff on the wall surface. Moisture pulls the calcium from the concrete, that's the chalky stuff.

    When I built my house, I put a sump pump in and a stone drain system under the floor. I have good pitch to the property, but the house happens to be sitting in a pocket of ledge. Installing a gravity drain would have involved blasting.
    I've had a small amount of water in the basement once and that was in the flooding rains of 2010. The main reason I had the water, I never went out and bought the pump after I built the house. One time only, I have never had to use the pump since then

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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    We move into our new place in two months. It's in Waltham and was built in 2005, so it has a full-height basement that we will finish at some point. The basement is bone dry and the inspection passed with flying colors.

    Right now it has a 110V sump pump and what appears to be a perimeter drain (French drain?) system. For peace of mind, should I add a battery backup to the existing pump? Should I add a standalone 12V pump with charger? Or should I just wait and see what happens during heavy rain?

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    Last edited by number9; 07-07-20 at 09:55 AM.
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Seeing this just made me realize I never responded to you the other day!

    This is the system I just had installed. The whole system plugs into a normal 120v outlet, which powers both the main pump as well as the battery charger. The monitor keeps tabs on the battery and the pump, with notifications for everything (low battery, pump cycles, etc.). If power goes out it switches to the car battery and notifies you. I actually didn't check what battery we got...but that will be a large factor in how long the pump will run if power goes out.

    https://www.sumppumpsdirect.com/Libe...8aAtsWEALw_wcB

    Figured the year I shell the coin for the perimeter drain and sump install, is the year my basement doesn't flood. No cycles this spring. Guess that's a good thing actually.

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  25. #25
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Homeowner feedback: sump pumps

    Bone dry? I'd wait and see.

    I would buy a replacement pump and keep it in a box next to the sump, ready to go in should the one you have die at a bad time.

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