High Water Table Sump Advice Needed

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JEBlue

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Hello,

This is my first post to this forum.

So, I built a new home a couple of years ago. Broke ground in April and had no water when basement was dug. Moved in around October and starting in December, the sump pump was running constantly. It appears to be a high water table during fall/winter months (November-June). I'm not really sure there's much that can be done about this. What I am dealing with is a sump pump that runs approximately every 10 seconds for 6 months of the year. The other part of the year, there's barely a trickle of water into a dry pit. So, my setup: I have a Zoeller pump with the built in switch which does not have a very larger vertical range, thus the pump is cycling very frequently. If I unplug the pump, the water will rise quickly until it gets above the drain tile entering the pit, then basically slows to the point where you can barely notice it climbing. I've never left it like this for more than about 10 min for fear of what might happen. So, finally to my question... If I were to replace my pump with a type that doesn't have a built in switch, would one of the tether (corded) float switches allow me to set the pump up so that it only comes on when the water gets up above the tile in the pit, thus changing the frequency of the cycle time from seconds to several minutes? Is this a viable way to handle this problem? I know of another person in a similar situation who installed a controller which makes it so he can set the time when the pump comes on to be any number of minutes after the float switch is triggered, thus also allowing the cycle time to be manipulated.

Many thanks for any input this forum's members can share.
 

Reach4

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If I were to replace my pump with a type that doesn't have a built in switch, would one of the tether (corded) float switches allow me to set the pump up so that it only comes on when the water gets up above the tile in the pit, thus changing the frequency of the cycle time from seconds to several minutes?
You can increase the time. I don't know if it will make it to several minutes, but it will be much better than 10 seconds.

Instead of replacing the pump, you could potentially bypass the current switch. Simpler still, with no pump surgery, is to power the pump through a new float switch that has a piggyback plug. So the pump would only go on when both switches (new and built-in) are calling for pumping.
PiggyBack.jpg
If you get a switch with a tether, you control the on and off settings by how high you make the tether point, and how long the tether is.

With your setup, it would not be a bad idea to have to have a spare pump still in the box. Definitely you want to have an alarm to alert you if the water rises above the expected level.

You could consider making the sump bigger, and you could consider adding a separate sump with its own pump.

And then there are battery backup pumps to consider. It is up to you to think about what a backup in the basement would mean to you. At least don't store your irreplaceable photos in a box on the basement floor.
 

JEBlue

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You can increase the time. I don't know if it will make it to several minutes, but it will be much better than 10 seconds.

Instead of replacing the pump, you could potentially bypass the current switch. Simpler still, with no pump surgery, is to power the pump through a new float switch that has a piggyback plug. So the pump would only go on when both switches (new and built-in) are calling for pumping.
PiggyBack.jpg
If you get a switch with a tether, you control the on and off settings by how high you make the tether point, and how long the tether is.

With your setup, it would not be a bad idea to have to have a spare pump still in the box. Definitely you want to have an alarm to alert you if the water rises above the expected level.

You could consider making the sump bigger, and you could consider adding a separate sump with its own pump.

And then there are battery backup pumps to consider. It is up to you to think about what a backup in the basement would mean to you. At least don't store your irreplaceable photos in a box on the basement floor.

Thank you Reach4. That was a quick response!! Thank you very much for the info. Adding the tether to the existing pump was not something I had thought about, but now that you mentioned it, it makes sense. I am looking into battery backup systems too. I had not considered another sump pit. That certainly sounds more involved than what this DIYer is willing to do.

Do you hear about situations like mine often? Specifically water tables that change seasonally and are not necessarily related to precipitation. First time I’ve ever had a home with an active sump pump and it’s not particularly fun.

Thanks again. Much appreciated.
 

jadnashua

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The home I grew up in was about a quarter mile from the town's spring fed water supply...we had water in our sump a lot. If the power went out, it could fill the entire basement with about 6" of water! We ended up eventually with a generator to keep things in check (this was a long time before battery operated systems were generally available). Anyways, your pump running as it is will cause it to have a very short life...so, a spare it probably a good idea. For awhile, we ran two pumps in the pit at slightly different levels in case one failed.

The size of your sump pit could help if it were larger. It would accumulate more water without the level going up as much, and force the pump to run longer to reduce the level enough to shut off.

To ensure you don't overwhelm the system, it is important to ensure the fill around the house is sloped properly away, the gutter downspouts direct the water far enough away from the foundation, and if there is any slope to your land, consider a French drain that could collect water and direct it away from the house and downhill. Won't work if it is flat, though.
 

gagecalman

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I've had excellent results using a "Hi-Lo Sump Pump Controller" with a manual pump. No floats to hang up and no mechanical switches to go bad. There are two sensors so you can set the on/off height to reduce short cycling.
I don't know if I can show the brand so I won't.
If I can someone let me know.
I also use a water powered back up sump pump. They work great if you are on city water.
 

JEBlue

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I've had excellent results using a "Hi-Lo Sump Pump Controller" with a manual pump. No floats to hang up and no mechanical switches to go bad. There are two sensors so you can set the on/off height to reduce short cycling.
I don't know if I can show the brand so I won't.
If I can someone let me know.
I also use a water powered back up sump pump. They work great if you are on city water.
 

JEBlue

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Thanks, is there any way to private message on this site? I would really like to know who makes that hi-lo sump controller.

Thanks again everyone!
 

Reach4

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Thanks, is there any way to private message on this site? I would really like to know who makes that hi-lo sump controller.
img_click_inbox3.png
and then click "Start a New Conversation". It would be OK for him to identify the switch in the forum, however. He will have to click above to read the message.

Even easier is to click gagecalman under his icon on the left of his post and click "Start a Conversation"
 

gagecalman

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HydroCheck HC6000 is the controller that I use. I've installed them for myself and friends. Never an issue.

I had the same problem with the pump short cycling. This works great. You can set the on/off levels to where they work best for your situation.

I also use Basepump water powered backup sump pumps. If you are not on a well they work great.

I hope this helps.

Jim
 

JEBlue

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HydroCheck HC6000 is the controller that I use. I've installed them for myself and friends. Never an issue.

I had the same problem with the pump short cycling. This works great. You can set the on/off levels to where they work best for your situation.

I also use Basepump water powered backup sump pumps. If you are not on a well they work great.

I hope this helps.

Jim
 

JEBlue

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Hi Jim,

I decided to buy a new pump and use my old one as backup.

Here’s what I have decided to install:

New Zoeller N53 1/3 non automatic
Hi-Lo HC 6000 sensor
Brady quiet check valve

I’m still waiting on the Hi-Lo sensor to arrive but am all ready for the install otherwise, but I do have a quick question. Tonight I decided to unplug my pump just to get a feel for how quickly the water will rise in my sump pit. I kept it unplugged for about 25 minutes and the water never rose more than a couple inches above the top of the drain tile inlet to the pit. The water level was probably 6-8” below the lid. So, my question... is it possible that the water table is actually right at that level and the water would never actually come above that level or will it reach a point when it builds pressure and quickly floods? Also, is there any problem with setting the upper sensor at around this top level so that my cycle time is approx 25 min? Is there an issue with allowing the water level to reach this height?

Thanks again. Everyone on this site has been extremely helpful!
 

jadnashua

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If the level didn't rise, you're probably right...that's the water table, and you probably could never pump it dry. That water table does fluctuate through the seasons and the amount of rainfall, or snow melt.

It will tend to rise for a short time after a big storm. You do want to ensure local water say from runoff of the gutters, driveway, etc. is not aggravating the problem (i.e., discharged away from the foundation and good slope to help drain it away).
 

JEBlue

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If the level didn't rise, you're probably right...that's the water table, and you probably could never pump it dry. That water table does fluctuate through the seasons and the amount of rainfall, or snow melt.

It will tend to rise for a short time after a big storm. You do want to ensure local water say from runoff of the gutters, driveway, etc. is not aggravating the problem (i.e., discharged away from the foundation and good slope to help drain it away).



So, the million dollar question is what to do about it. If I could never pump it dry should I even bother trying or just let the water sit there at that level? I could set the upper sensor so it never gets more than 4” from the top of the crock and the low sensor a few inches below that. Is this feasible? Not a good idea?
 

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I'm not sure...but, as I said, through the seasons, and cycles, the water table does move up and down. If it never rises above your basement floor, it may not be a problem other than keeping the humidity levels higher than you might want (a dehumidifier may be highly recommended). If it was my house, I'd probably search out a specialist to assess the situation and offer some recommendations. From the house I grew up in, there was always water in the sump, but in some times of the year, the pump would run very frequently and if the power went off, the basement could fill up. The highest I remember was about 6". That's why we ended up with a generator to ensure we could keep the level down below the floor level. Hopefully, the water table is no higher than your cellar floor, but it may very well be just below. Someone familiar with your local area may know. If you have any neighbors with a well, what is their water level?
 

JEBlue

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I'm not sure...but, as I said, through the seasons, and cycles, the water table does move up and down. If it never rises above your basement floor, it may not be a problem other than keeping the humidity levels higher than you might want (a dehumidifier may be highly recommended). If it was my house, I'd probably search out a specialist to assess the situation and offer some recommendations. From the house I grew up in, there was always water in the sump, but in some times of the year, the pump would run very frequently and if the power went off, the basement could fill up. The highest I remember was about 6". That's why we ended up with a generator to ensure we could keep the level down below the floor level. Hopefully, the water table is no higher than your cellar floor, but it may very well be just below. Someone familiar with your local area may know. If you have any neighbors with a well, what is their water level?

I am in an area with city water, so no wells. I know the water tables are very sporadic in the area. Very close to Lake Michigan, so the lake no doubt has an effect. I think your suggestion to seek out a local specialist is a very good suggestion. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to all of my questions.
 

Reach4

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Also, is there any problem with setting the upper sensor at around this top level so that my cycle time is approx 25 min? Is there an issue with allowing the water level to reach this height?
I would try it, and keep an eye on it for a while. You don't want the thing short cycling continually, but that may not happen. Go for it.
 
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