Sump Pit Level

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Andal, May 16, 2020.

  1. Andal

    Andal New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2020
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Hi everyone,

    Long-time lurker, first-time poster! Thank you to everyone who posts on this forum.

    I recently moved into a house with a basement and external drain tile and sump pump system. My only experience with sump pumps was when I was a kid with my parents, who had an internal french drain system. For months after I moved in, my sump pump barely ran at all. Then it started running every minute. Big change, no? I thought a pipe might have burst somewhere around here, but the water department has tested it and it's groundwater. Apparently I live near a bunch of aquifers and a ton of construction near my place probably raised the groundwater level.

    I currently have a Zoeller M53 and a PHCC Pro 2400 backup pump with two batteries (16 hour run time quoted), so I'm about as covered as I'll get there (I have reasons for not getting a water driven system - it wouldn't work with my basement setup). However, while I was filling my backup pump batteries, I noticed the water rises to the mid-level of the drain tile pipes and then very, very slowly rises from there. I'm thinking about converting my m53 to an n53 and buying a piggyback switch to set the water level to about mid pipe, which means the pump might run hourly based on my guesstimate. At that level, it would be about 8 inches beneath my slab. I let it sit for an entire day and had no infiltration/dampness anywhere I could see or feel in my basement. Thoughts?

    TLDR: My primary sump pump runs every minute, it's groundwater confirmed, thinking about setting switch level to mid-drain tile pipe.
     
  2. gagecalman

    gagecalman Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2016
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    I've had excellent results using a HydroCheck HC6000 "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 where it works best for your situation and to reduce short cycling.
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. Martin Boring

    Martin Boring Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2020
    Location:
    Malcolm Ne.
    I have internal drain tile in my basement and my sump pumps runs year around and normally a lot in the spring. Cheap pumps wouldn't last a year and battery operated pumps just wouldn't cut it when the other one failed. I move up the food chain so to speak to the Zoeller pumps but in the spring they cycled too much and normally the switch only would last two years if I was lucky. I always had another complete one with pipe and check valve ready to go in. Six years ago I moved up the food chain again and bought a AMT model 523D-98 and haven't had to work on it since. Yes it cost a fair amount more but not haven't to work on sump pumps ever time you turn around is worth something.
     
  5. Andal

    Andal New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2020
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    gagecalman, thanks for the recommendation! The switches I've been looking at have not been adjustable. Adjustable would be ideal.

    Martin, I have the same problem with the Zoeller... It cycles way too often. Too little switch travel.

    I guess I'm wondering if I can just set the switch level above where the water normally stops coming in during dry weather? Once the water is 1/3 to 1/2 up the drain tile pipes, it stops coming in, leaving a good air gap in the pipes. This is a foot below the slab (I measured finally, as opposed to my 8 inch guesstimate above). I would run it occasionally to limit stagnant water.

    I should have clarified that my "house" is part of a long 10-unit complex with a shared drain tile system around the complex. We all have sump pumps, but the two end units, including mine, get 99% of the water that enters the tile while other units almost never pump. I don't want my foundation to fall apart, but having this pump run every minute is frustrating. I feel like the other units should be doing their share too -__-. When I run the pump, it empties the pit and water comes in at the same rate as usual. No big gush. What does everyone think? Would keeping the water at that level pose a hazard?
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I would set the level to maybe 4 inches below the concrete. Maybe even 2 inches.

    Interesting comment about other units doing their share.:)
     
  7. gagecalman

    gagecalman Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2016
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    I've installed the HydroCheck HC6000 in about 8 systems for friends and family. Been flawless for 10+ years.
    These really work well. I don't know why more people don't use them. I hate the mechanical switches.

    I have my upper switch set so my pipes are 1/2 full. Never had any issues. Prior to this setup my pump ran all the time.

    Can you change the setup on the Zoeller M53 so it's just a manual pump without a switch?

    I've used the Liberty 230 pump in the past. The 233 will also work. Just don't use the float.
     
  8. Andal

    Andal New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2020
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Reach4, if I put it that close to the concrete I bet it would never run! Which I'm really, REALLY (man that pump annoys me so...) fine with as long my foundation will survive. That's really been my major concern.

    Gagecalman, a local plumber told me I can zip tie the float up so it would run constantly and then put a piggyback switch on it. Then when my m53 dies I'll get something with an adjustable switch or without a switch and only use the piggyback. I didn't have the time to install the backup pump and paid someone to do it, and after they messed with my pit the Zoeller switch got stuck in the ON position so it wouldn't stop running... Another fun day. Really not a fan of mechanical switches now.

    So bottom line, sounds like my foundation will **likely** be fine with the water this low, and maybe I get to keep my sanity for a bit. Also, I need an adjustable switch or something equivalent.
     
  9. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    Springtime thaw and water levels naturally increase and it can be a bit unnerving watching the sump pump pit fill with water. To see what would happen with a power failure and how much the water can rise, unplug the pump and babysit it. Let it fill and you may notice that once the water reaches the top of the pipe inlet that it may just stop. Is the drainage on the exterior of the wall only. Being in radon gas country, isn't the sump pit sealed and vented to the outdoors?

    Why you get more water than other units is obviously you have 1 more exterior wall. If rain gutters dump the water at the corners of the structure and if the next building to yours the rain gutters from that building adds water between the two. The grade of the yard also factors in.
     
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    That HydroCheck HC6000 sounds like the ultimate in adjustability. A float switch is adjustable by lengthening the tether and raising or lowering the attachment point. But a float can get hung up.

    Electronic stuff is not always more reliable in general-- and I am not referring to pump switches.

    Whatever I went with, I would also go with an alarm, such as the BWD-HWA. That is battery operated (9V), so figure out a schedule to swap the battery.
     
  11. Martin Boring

    Martin Boring Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2020
    Location:
    Malcolm Ne.
    By going with the AMT pump I could length my cycle time a bunch. The float and switch on that pump has worked flawless for six years. This spring has been pretty dry around here so I haven't been pumping a lot of water but in a normal spring it gush's in the sump pit. If I would have known how much water I was going to have to pump I would have installed a larger sump pit when I did the tile to increase the cycle time. When we bought the farm almost 30 years ago we could see water in the basement but no idea we would pump water year around out of the pit. The basement stays dry but we pump a lot of water in a year. The farm was bought from a estate so we got some surprises. We bought the farm and farmstead as is where is.
     
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I set my pump to come on when the drain tile is 100% full. There is a lot of storage potential in the drain tile so it takes a long time for the water to reach that level and then a long enough time to pump it down. I use a tethered float and carefully positioned it so it cannot get hung up on anything. Electronic probes would be nice but my pump came with a tethered float.
     
Similar Threads: Sump Level
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Sump pump float level for weeping tile Oct 16, 2016
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice sump pit level above inlet/drains? Jun 18, 2015
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Sump pump switches constantly failing Sep 15, 2020
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Sump Pump Humming - Not Moving Water- PERPLEXED! Sep 12, 2020
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Correct float setting for this backup sump pump? Sep 8, 2020

Share This Page