LESLIE: Renee in Michigan is dealing with some sump pump issues. Tell us what’s going on.
RENEE: Well, we have a sump pump that’s right underneath our kitchen and every time it empties, we can hear it. It’s not that bad but when it shuts off, it goes "boom" and it’s really kind of annoying. We don’t know what to do about it. Now we go in the basement and the noise isn’t that loud down there.
RENEE: But when we’re in the kitchen, it’s magnified.
TOM: Yeah, it all rattles, right? Is the sump pump discharging outside or is it discharging into the waste pipes inside the house?
RENEE: Well, I’m not real good at this. We have a water furnace and so it has been attached so that the water from the sump pump goes out the same way as the water furnace water goes out.
TOM: Hmm. OK.
RENEE: Does that mean anything? (chuckles)
TOM: Hmm. Not really. But I’m thinking it goes right to the outside; it doesn’t go to your plumbing system.
RENEE: No, no.
RENEE: It doesn’t.
TOM: Well, part of the problem here is water hammer. It’s because all the water is being pumped out and then it stops and it sort of back-slushes down the pipe. So one of the solutions would be to put in a check valve, which is sort of like a one-way valve on the drain line of the sump pump. So the water will go one way and then once it gets past the valve, it can’t get back again and that can actually solve part of that problem.
TOM: Pretty simple. Now, the second thing is, when does your sump pump run? Is it all the time or is it just after a heavy rain?
RENEE: Well, see, the problem is we had a lot of water in the basement and so it has been running about every 20 seconds.
TOM: Right. Because you had a lot of rainfall?
TOM: Yeah. Alright. Because – well, my point is that what you want to do is to take steps outside the house to …
LESLIE: To reduce that moisture and that water that’s getting into the house.
LESLIE: And it’s not that difficult, you know. You can just monitor your gutters and your downspouts, make sure that they’re free-flowing and that the gutters aren’t overflowing. Clean them kind of regularly and make sure that where the downspouts deposit the water isn’t right up against the foundation wall. You want it to sort of go away from the foundation three feet, six feet. If you can bury them underground and get it far away, go for it.
You want to look at the grading of the soil around the perimeter of the foundation and make sure that it slopes away from the house. If you can do these things to reduce the moisture, then you’re going to see far less water inside because what’s happening as it’s raining, the water is sitting right there against the foundation from all of those factors and then it comes right up into the basement.
TOM: Renee, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.