Outdoor patio sump with decorative grate

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by svierregger, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. svierregger

    svierregger New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Location:
    Centreville, VA
    Hi - we made the mistake of installing a French drain (36"x36x"x36" gravel filled pit) under our 600sf slab/mortared flagstone semi-covered patio. The patio is a walk out from the basement, but is actually about 20" below grade (two steps up onto adjacent pool deck). The existing French drain has a 6" decorative brass grate. Over the years silt/runoff has clogged the French drain gravel pit and the drain backs up easily, making a swimming pool of the patio. With the small grate it is impossible to clean out the silt so we are resigned to opening the pit and installing a sump pump. We would like to be able to hose off the patio and not have to worry about overflow anymore, and we don't want to have to worry about flooding every time we get a big storm.

    I have a couple of questions about the sump installation. I would like to use a standard sized pump basin, but I would like to minimize the grate size. That particular area of the patio (the designed low spot), we don't have room for a full size grate. I would like to use the smallest grate I can get away with and still be able to perform pump maintenance. Also, the grate must be decorative metal (bronze, etc) because the patio is a full stone job and the grate needs to "blend" in as much as possible. Any recommendations on fabricating a decorative grate on top of a standard basin?

    My other question has to do with the pump selection. Much of our winter is near/above freezing, but we do get cold snaps. We occasionally have single-digit weather. Will the outdoor usage/cold potential affect my pump selection? Our pool pumps have thermostats that automatically run them below 35 degrees to keep from freezing. I'm not sure if this should apply to outdoor sumps as well. I want the best pump for the job from a performance/reliability standpoint.

    Do my requirements sound reasonable? I haven't seen much in the way of decorative sump grates that provide a narrower opening over a standard basin. And I haven't found much information on outdoor sump pump usage.

    Thanks for any advice you can provide.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    1. you would need a grate large enough to remove the pump, (usually almost the same size as the pump's basin), which limits your options immensely, especially when it comes to the materials they are made of.
    2. You would quickly damage the seals on the pump if you turned it on during a freeze but there was no water in the pit for it to pump out.
     
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    This is a "drain" opening in the "center" of the pool deck area.
     
  5. Gcnyc

    Gcnyc New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Location:
    New York
    Hi..We have the same problem..were in upstate New York. Did you figure out what to do? We are freezing all winter but we suddenly get hit with water when it is still cold. Our patio is basement walk out, but about 8 feet down.
    Thanks!
     
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