Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Exploding sump pumps

Between Friday morning and Saturday evening we received about 4.5 inches of rain. This was on top of the multiple inches of rain we received the previous weekend and during the week. We have had a problem with water in our basement in the past. To fix the problem we had 2 industrial-strength sump pumps installed in the basement along with a French Drain system and we had a swale created in the backyard along with some additional re-grading. It seems to have solved the problem but because of our previous issues we are extremely paranoid when it comes to big storms. We check the basement obsessively, we go outside to see if the pumps are moving water out, we make sure the storm drains in the yard are clear, etc. On Saturday evening, The Wife realized that one pump was just recirculating the water in the sump pit (it was spraying water out of a hole in the pipe rather than pumping it out) so we called our plumber who didn't even bother to call us back, he just showed up (he lives less than a mile away). He had to cut the pipe to get the pump out of the pit and he discovered that while the system had been installed correctly (he didn't install it), the pressure relief hole was partially clogged and that's why the water was spraying rather than being moved out. He enlarged the pressure relief hole and reinstalled everything but because he had cut the pipe he had to use a rubber clamp to hold everything together. All was well, the basement was dry, we were happy. We went along with our dinner preparations and were having a very nice dinner when we heard a really strange noise. We ran into the basement to discover water everywhere and the clamp disconnected from the pipe. The sump pump was still pumping so the water was slamming into the basement wall and spraying all over the basement. The Wife was able to get the thing unplugged and we unsuccessfully tried to put it back together. We spoke to the plummer again to discover that he knew he hadn't made an ideal repair but at 8 PM on a Saturday night he had done the best he could with what he had. He came back on Sunday morning and glued everything together so we should be ready for the next storm.

The plumber also spent 15 minutes (while the glue was drying) in our downstairs bathroom reading Newsweek and taking a dump. It was odd.

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