Leaving submersible sump pump submerged 99% of the time ok?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by gogetadbl, May 26, 2009.

  1. gogetadbl

    gogetadbl New Member

    A few years ago we had 2 sump pits put in by a contractor. One sump pit hardly has water in it, while our other sump pit constantly has water in it and stops filling up a few inches from the top.

    The pit that constantly has water in it has yet to overflow, so we have not plugged in our sump pump and we allow water to fill up the pit. The sump pump recently broke and we swapped it out with one from Lowes. Is it ok if we leave the pump submerged except for when there are heavy rains? The pit fills up constantly and the pump is always running which consumes a lot of power if we keep it plugged in all the time. Is this a good idea even?
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Maybe I'm not following your thinking very well.

    Submersible pumps are meant to be underwater. And why would you want to remove it during heavy rains? That's when you need it most because if you think the water level is going to stop a couple inches before overflowing the pit (regardless what the other pit does), you may wake up to a basement floor covered with a few inches or feet of water.

    Sump pits and pumps are meant to be used to prevent foundation and other water caused problems with the building. Specifically cellar wall foundation footers.

    So your choices are to save the electric bill or not and potentially ruin the foundation or at least to not have water all over the basement floor and up inside block cellar walls.... which do you suppose might cost more in the end?
  3. gogetadbl

    gogetadbl New Member

    err... here's what I meant to say:
    When not raining -- leave it the pump completely submerged and off. Will this water damage the pump? I thought submersible can mean that it is can temporarily submerged, rather than permanently submerged. I thought sump pumps generally stay dry towards the top?
    When raining -- pump the water out

    I'm asking because when our pump broke. We left the pit full of water for a few weeks and the pit never overflowed. We just recently got a cast iron pump and Lowes to replace it and it runs every 3-6 min or so. We were thinking about putting it on a brick to raise the water level but the original contractor didn't do that and just let it pump water every 3-6 min.
    Last edited: May 27, 2009
  4. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    SW Florida
    I'm not a pump guy but about every sump pump I've seen is controlled by a float of some sort, do your instructions have anything about adjusting the control or float?
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Land of Cheese
    The pump is intended to keep the water level below the top of the footers. You can put a block in the bottom of the pit if it is sized to maintain the water level below the top of the footer. You can alternatively get an adjustable switch to control the water level better than the factory one might.

    Don't unplug it- as soon as you leave it could pour down rain and you will end up with a flooded basement.

    More often than not this type of problem can be corrected by extending downspouts and properly grading the soil around the home so that surface water flows away from the foundation.

    Also, if the sump pump isn't pumping the water a fair distance away from the foundation, it will be likely to make it's way back to the pit, only to be recirculated again and again.
  6. gogetadbl

    gogetadbl New Member

    I was asking about leaving it submerged is because I was considering moving the float to above the pump. I'd like to know if I can leave the pump submerged and only pump out the top 1 foot of water in the pit.

    I've attached what I'm trying to do. I want to leave the pump submerged all the time and just worry about the overflow. During the dry season, the water line goes above the pump and we can just unplug the pump and we're fine.

    Also the water pumps out into the street, slightly more downhill than the basement.

    Maybe I'm just really confused.

    Attached Files:

  7. WildWildMidwest

    WildWildMidwest New Member

    Racine, WI
    A sump pump running every 3-6 minutes doesn't sound too bad to me. Our Wayne 1/2 HP sump pump used to run every 25-40 seconds for most of the springtime until last year. We were going through 36 month warranty pumps every 12 months. That's when I got out a shovel and spent many hours digging our drainage culvert down 12-14 inches and removing the old clogged drainage tile. That effort lowered our water table enough that the sump pump seldom runs anymore. It saves us a bundle on our electric bill and on sump pump replacement. The yard is less swampy and we sleep better without the pump noise.
  8. gogetadbl

    gogetadbl New Member

    I agree with the noise. I can hear it rumbling all night long. I googled a drainage culvert and the only drainage I can see empties out into the street along with the pump's water ouput :( . I love all these suggestions so keep them coming :)
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    A cast iron pump should run occassionally or it will corrode and freeze the impeller.
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