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The "Almost" Flood---

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  • The "Almost" Flood---

    My house is in a low area, and at this time of year when all of the snow is melting at an incredible rate, my sump pump goes absolutely nuts. It sits in a cast concrete well 22" square x 36" deep in the corner of my basement, and comes on every 4 minutes for about 3 weeks every spring. Then it might only come on 5 or 6 times the whole rest of the year. I have lived here for 14 years, and every spring there is considerable tension around my house until the "big melt" ends. This past Friday we got a fairly bad ice storm in our area. Power was out in surrounding areas, but not at my place. I figured we had dodged a bullet, and then at 3:00 in the afternnoon "POP" no--hydro!!! Wife got on the phone to our local electricity distibutor and was told that they expected to have electricity back on by 7:00 PM. I went downstairs and checked, and sure enough, it looked like twin versions of Niagara Falls pouring into the sump hole, and no electric power to pump it out----and the water was rising fast. I quickly drove up the hill to my nearest HomeHardware store and asked if they had a water pump with a gasoline engine on it. Ahhh---No, we don't sell nothing like that.--Then I drive down to the Midhurst small engines guy who sells chainsaws, weed whackers, etc.---Same question----nope---No Pumps, but they rent them across the street at a "Rentall" place. I rush to the rentall place----They have one.--The guy wants to talk and talk and talk--Told him "Damn, son--This is an emergency!! Quit yacking and get that damn pump out and start it for me!!!"---The pump is seized up--Won't start--and its the only one they have. I rush home to see if the electricity has come back on---No Luck. Oh, by the way, did I mention that my basement is fully carpeted, drywalled, etc., and that I have $1000 deductible on my house insurance?

    I tell the wife--"Quick--Get on your cell phone (The other phone is out with the hydro) and start calling rentall places and find me a pump with a gas engine on it!!!" First call she finds one, on the other side of Barrie, but they are just about to close for the day.--Hang on guys--we are getting flooded out here and my husband is on the way to pick it up!!! Away I go driving like a maniac now, to get there before the rentall joint closes. They have a pump, hose, etcetera, none of which I have ever ran before, and here I am, a fat old 66 year old geezer---thinking---Holy %$#@ ---this is what gives old farts like me heart attacks.---So---I offer $50 to anybody that will come out to my place and help get all of this stuff hooked up and pumping water. But #1 guy has to be at a birthday party for his mother in law. #2 guy has to pick up his kids from somewhere. Sorry---They can't help. Then somebody remembers the kid out back who cleans up returned rentall stuff, and they ask him if he can come.---HE CAN!!! Load up pumps and hoses and kid and drive like maniac back to my house. Basement is blacker than Hell, (no electric lights, very feeble flashlight). We set engine and pump up in garage, bash a hole thru the drywall right abobe the sump well, and stumble around in the dark to get the sucker hose down the sump well. The water is now 1/4" from running out the top of the sump well into the basement proper. It works---It works---Hallelujah---The water is cascading out in a flood from the discharge hose into the driveway. 7:00 PM comes and still no electricity.--Wife calls again---is told "Electricity will be restored by 9:00. I check and see that I have enough gas in a can to run the engine all night if I have to. Wife takes kid home with $50 and I decide I will stay up all night to babysit the pump. Wife comes back, and I have a sudden horrible thought. --The electric column style sump pump was only 36" tall, and the flood water had come right up over the electric motor. Even if the electricity does come back on, the pump will short out and not run. Its Friday night, and the stores are open until 9:00. I leave wife to babysit pump and I drive back up to hardware store I started at hours ago, and buy their last electric sump pump. Then I rush home----And the power has come back on!!! Praise God---I go downstairs and check the flooded electric sump pump and it still does run, even though it has just been completely immersed in water until 30 minutes ago. I leave the gas engine running for half an hour, just to make certain the electricity is going to stay on, then shut the gas engine off and watch the drowned sump pump go thru a couple of cycles without shorting out. By this time, I'm wore right to a frazzle from all the excitement and running around, so I fall into bed, hoping that I won't wake up Saturday morning with an indoor swimming pool in my basement.--I get up Saturday and all is still well, so back I go to the hardware store, return the column style sump pump I had bought the night before but not used, and buy a Red Lion submersible pump and a high water alarm that shrieks like a Banshee if the water gets within 11" of the top of the sump well. I think the panic is over for this year. I sure hope so!!! Before next years flood time arrives, I will have bought a gen set with a gas engine on it, or a battery powered sump pump back up, or something. My heart won't stand another rodeo like this one!!!----Brian
    Brian Rupnow

  • #2
    Glad you made it through the emergency this time! If you have city water, there are siphon pumps available that use the city water pressure to draw water from the sump. These make great stand-by emergency pumps, as city water pressure rarely goes down. You wouldn't want to use one as a full time pump as it would really run up your water bill.

    John

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    • #3
      Brian,

      I just went through a similar situation this week. We got several inches of rain over a few day period. Our basement flooded about knee deep 3 years ago when we were gone for the winter. The pump that I put in was a pedestal pump made/sold by Coleman. Now this last week I noticed that it was churning the water in the sump pit more than usual and taking too long to pump it out. I finally pulled the pump and the plate on the bottom had come loose. The heads on the screws holding the cover on were gone.

      Now I am sure I have the tools and know how to fix it but the pit was filling up about every 5 minutes. I finally put it back in the pit and went and bought a new submersible pump. All is well now but it is a real nerve wracking experience when the water is pouring in and you can't get it out. By the way, our basement is un-finished so it would not be the problem that yours would be if flooded.

      Also, as I read your thread, I kept wondering why you were looking for a pump and not a generator. Living in a wet area, a generator is a must. It also comes in handy for things like refrigerators and freezers. I use a 4K gen set and hook it directly into the welder outlet, of course shutting the main breaker off first so that I am not back feeding into the lines. When the house is running on the gen set, you can't tell the difference from the power companies power.

      Glad to hear that you dodged a bullet.

      Brian
      OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

      THINK HARDER

      BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

      MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

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      • #4
        my first thought is to get a 12v pump and float switch, then a marine battery and plug in battery tender type charger. when you have that all connected, add a pair of suitable wires that will be long enuf or will exit your house in the proper place to connect to a pair of jumper cables to that you can attach to your car battery.

        double safe. . . no heart attack from that anyway.

        glad you had a "miss".

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        • #5
          I didn't want a gen set, because knowing how little time I had, and not thinking the electric column style sump pump would respond very well when the water was up OVER the unshielded motor, I went for a gasoline powered pump first thing. NEXT year, I would be okay with a gen set, because the new Red Lion unit is submersible.----Funny story----Many years ago when I lived up in Belleville Ontario, I had a lot of friends who were rural farm kids. One guy I worked with, Doug Smith, lived on a small farm with his parents and many brothers and sisters. I got invited to their house about this time of spring for supper. We were all setting at the table when Harvey, Dougs dad said to his wife--Betty, go get us some of them good Bread and butter pickles you make, from the cellar. Betty opened the door to the cellar and took one step---into freezing cold water. Their basement had filled completely to the top with water. They had an old wood burning stove on the main floor and their hydro box was on an outside wall, so nobody knew about the basement. Betty only got her foot wet---the stairs were still there, but underwater!!
          Brian Rupnow

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          • #6
            I'm not on town water---I'm on a well. I didn't even know there were such things as battery powered back up sump pumps. I did a lot of googling this morning, and they do exist, but the reader reviews of them weren't all that complimentry.
            Brian Rupnow

            Comment


            • #7
              Brian,I got one of these little two stoke pumps a couple years ago for just such events.It makes a great back up plan-

              http://www.landmsupply.com/departmen...FQWynQodNE0A_Q

              Also have used these 12vdc pumps pulling power off an idling vehicle.A few dollars of gasoline is cheap insurance they could also easily be run off a marine deepcycle battery kept on a solar or plugin float charger.


              http://www.amazon.com/Volt-Marine-Ut...958597&sr=1-25

              Either way I'm glad to hear you managed to stay ahead of it,wading around in knee deep water in one's own home sucks,powerful sucks.
              I just need one more tool,just one!

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              • #8
                weirdscience---The electric unit wouldn't have enough capacity---its only rated at 200 gallons per hour. The gas engined unit appears to be what I would want. My only concern with any gasoline powered unit is that if you don't get them out and start them at least once every couple of months, then invariably the damned things won't start when you REALLY need them. I say this based on the fights I have every year with my lawnmower, weedwhacker, chainsaw, garden tractor, etcetera.
                Brian Rupnow

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                • #9
                  Then maybe a diesel genset would be the best option.There are several mfgs that make 5-10,000 watt models.Diesel would eliminate the problems of gasoline going rotten over the winter.
                  I just need one more tool,just one!

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                  • #10
                    Move to a house on high ground!
                    James Kilroy

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                    • #11
                      Brian, I have the same problem, but not to that degree. I do have a water powered backup however, which puts my mind to ease. I also have a generator which is only useful if you are at home. Sounds like your best solution would be a whole house natural gas powered genset. They are fairly reasonable these days and not all that difficult to install. Bob.

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                      • #12
                        Adapt a bicycle to a pump.
                        Byron Boucher
                        Burnet, TX

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Boucher View Post
                          Adapt a bicycle to a pump.
                          You've read "The Ugly American" haven't you----
                          Brian Rupnow

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                          • #14
                            I picked up a honda eu2000 for charging the camper batteries while out camping. But have used it for all sorts of projects away from the house with power tools and whatnot. I am very glad to have it around for just in case stuff just like this! If all else fails my parents have a big generator for the business I could run off of too.

                            Its always along with me in my excursion.

                            Andy

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by vpt View Post
                              I picked up a honda eu2000
                              Its always along with me in my excursion.
                              I'm just wondering whether it doesn't vent gasoline fumes? I tried carrying a one gallon gas can in the car trunk years ago but could not handle the smell.

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