The Sump Pump Project

We’ve known for some time now that we were going to have to re-plumb our sump pump, as it was draining directly into our sewer line, which is a no-no.

Sump pumps, for those of you fortunate enough to be ignorant of them, are submersible pumps set into a low spot in a basement to pump out any water that accumulates, say from a quick and rainy thaw in April, or an especially rainy spell. In our old 1880s Cape, we have a dirt floored basement with a combination of granite, fieldstone and brick foundation walls. In especially wet springs, such as the April of 2005, the sump pump ran 24 hours a day for several days. In other springs, it never clicks on.

Anyway, the need to tackle this project was forced upon us by a letter from the water company telling us in no uncertain terms it was time to take action. We decided we might as well do it right and re-dig the sump well and install a plastic basin. Dan found a new sump pump at a tag sale last summer for $5, saving us about $95, so we wanted to set it up in a way that would maximize the new pump’s life expectancy.

An unpleasant task to begin with, the unpleasantry is magnified 1000 times by the fact the work had to be done in our icky basement. I’m sure there are worse basements, maybe in the Addams Family home, but ours is not a nice place. It is populated by maybe 10 million spiders, all excellent web makers, and resembles that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones delves through the cobwebs, except without Indiana Jones, or treasure. Sigh. In addition to the spider webs, there’s a creepy overturned antique bathtub along one wall — what is under that thing? I’m not looking.

Anyway, down we went into the bowels of the house, and created this glorious vision of modern plumbing. Dan re-dug the hole, added a layer of gravel, a plastic basin, more gravel in the basin and in the hole between the basin and the walls. Then some nice level bricks for the pump to sit upon, a check valve (thanks Nick at the hardware store for that suggestion), and connect the hose. The hose snakes it’s way to the window, now replaced with plywood and insulation, through the plywood and outside. We need a bit more hose, but the majority of the work is done, yee hah! Cross that one off the list!

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