Tips to Reduce Basement Flooding and Noisy Sump Pumps
LESLIE: Burt in Missouri is on the line with a sump-pump situation. What’s going on at your money pit?
BURT: Yeah, I’ve got two sump pumps under my house and down here in Southwest Missouri, you’re lucky to get a hole dug deep enough for a 5-gallon bucket because of the rock and clay. These two sump pumps are in a 5-gallon bucket and when they go off, one will go off, then the other one goes off and they’re just wild inside the house; you can hear them. And I was wondering what I could do to help quiet this sound.
TOM: So, do these go off in – when it’s raining heavily outside? Is that when you get the water in the basement?
BURT: Yeah, they’re – it’s actually – they’re in a crawlspace. That’s another thing that makes it kind of difficult to work with. But they’re in a crawlspace and there’s a little bit of a slope towards the house in the backyard that increases the amount of volume of water. But we’ve tried to remedy that outside by building the dirt – you know, I’m trying to do everything right. But so, everything is about as much as we can possibly do. Now, all we’ve got left is just to deal with the noise of the sump pump.
TOM: OK. So just entertain me for a moment. Have you – you have gutters on the house?
BURT: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we’ve got gutters and they’re …
TOM: And are the gutters all extended several feet from the house?
TOM: They are. OK. And this backyard that you’re talking about adjusting the slope, a better option for that is something called a “curtain drain.” Are you familiar with that?
BURT: A curtain train. Uh-uh. Is that kind of like a French drain?
TOM: So, what a curtain drain is is basically – you would basically take and make a trench at the bottom of that hill. And the trench would be about a foot wide and foot deep. You’d put in a couple of inches of stone and then you’d put perforated PVC pipe in that trench. You’d continue to fill stone all the way around it, add some filter cloth and then put more dirt on it so when it’s done, you wouldn’t see it. You can plant grass over it.
But the trench would basically surround the back of the house and then angle out where it could break out to, say, daylight and discharge the water. The concept being that the rain comes down the hill, hits this invisible trench, falls into it, fills up the pipe and then runs around the house and doesn’t have a chance to get near the foundation where it would leak into the house. That’s the kind of technique that would normally be effective in a scenario like that, in terms of reducing the amount of water that’s collecting at the base of the home, and therefore less water around the home, less need for the sump pumps to run. Does that make sense?
BURT: Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project, Burt. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.