Ground Water Dewatering Systems “Sump Pumps”

sump-pumpA sump pump system is good insurance against catastrophic damage to your home. Not everyone needs a sump pump. Homes built high to the surrounding grade with good draining soil can resist some of the atmospheric rivers Tahoe is known to get.

It is always best to handle ground and surface water intrusion from the exterior first. This is typically achieved with drain tile systems or “French drains” that are installed on the perimeter of the home. The drains typically consist of perforated pipe that is set in a bed of gravel to the depth of the home’s footings.

Unfortunately an exterior drainage system is not always effective or feasible. Drainage systems can get clogged and fail. This is where a good interior drainage and sump pump system can be used as a backup for those rare instances.

Requirements for a Reliable Sump Pump System

  • Use a basin that is large enough to allow for the required surface area to allow adequate inflow. A 5 gallon bucket should only be used for very minor problems or in areas where no other basin can fit.
  • Basins should be in the lowest point in the crawlspace and installed with just the top rim above the soil grade.
  • Pumps should be large enough to pump the necessary gallons per minute required for your project. Hardware store pumps are likely to fail much sooner than a quality pump. Large elevation rises can significantly lower pump output.
  • Pump floats should be installed in a manner that allows for the required action and ensures that the level won’t get adjusted.
  • All areas of the crawlspace must drain to the pump. Interior foundations and expansive crawlspaces will typically require multiple pumps.
  • Discharge line must be large enough to allow the desired pump rate. Long pipe runs and small diameter tubing can greatly effect pump performance.
  • Discharge lines should have a check valve installed on the discharge riser to reduce pump head seal failure.
  • Discharge line needs to be sloped to drain to the exterior.
  • In most areas, pumps are required by code to discharge to a sub grade dry well or leaching pit. Discharge lines should exit the crawlspace below grade or have heat tape provided to prevent freezing.
  • High water alarms are advisable
  • If the pump failure is likely to create catastrophic damage, then a backup pump and backup power is strongly recommended.

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