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  1. #1
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    Default Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    I am currently in a war of words with a Realtor. In a recent inspection I called out an improperly installed sump pump in a crawlspace. The sump was balanced on a brick in a low spot. No sump pit, no drain tiles running to it. I called out for a sump pit with filter cloth and a drainage system to direct the water to it.

    The owner got a handyman to inspect it and call it good. When I objected to it, he said show me documentation that its incorrect and called a contractor friend who backed the handyman. I searched the internet and couldn't find anything to back my position. The local drainage expert wants $250 to look at it.

    Can anyone help me?

    //Rick

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    I run into this issue quite a bit. There's really no codes or standards you can point to that indicate how to properly install a sump pump/ drainage system under the home.


  3. #3
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    If there is a sump pump sitting on a brick and it is needed to pump water out of the crawl space...there are bigger problems than the sump pump being installed incorrectly. Hopefully you wrote up that there is evidence of water entering the crawl space and it needs to be evaluated and repaired by a crawl space moisture specialist. That one sentence should cover the pump and any other water problems in the crawl space.

    Last edited by James Duffin; 10-09-2010 at 01:39 PM. Reason: Spelling

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    I am currently in a war of words with a Realtor.
    The owner got a handyman to inspect it and call it good. When I objected to it, he said show me documentation that its incorrect and called a contractor friend who backed the handyman.
    //Rick
    Whose realtor, the seller's or your client's? Either way, I would discuss the thing with my client. Period. If it's the client's agent and they were truly helping, there would be no debate.

    I would point out that if the pump was in a pit, water would accumulate there first, and be eliminated by the pump. No pit, they are allowing a large area of the crawlspace to act as a giant sump pit. Ask your clients if they want to live with that.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 10-09-2010 at 02:19 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    I don't recall at the moment if Washington State is still using the UPC or has switched over to the IPC for plumbing.

    Either plumbing code having been adopted, your local plumbing inspector's office should be helpful regarding guidance for your subject foundation drainage system appliance installation question. Most such departments oftentimes have "information sheets" already mocked up on such subjects, complete with local ammendments/guidelines.

    As would the manufacturer's instructions for said "sump" pump.

    "Sump" being a pit, crock, collection area, etc. therefore a "sump pump" would be a "pump" installed in a "sump".

    Therefore, as you describe said "pump" is not installed in a "sump". It seems, as you describe it, has been Set (on a brick) upon the FLOOR or grade surface of the crawl space itself. Thus, not as a "sump" pump.

    IOW, the crawlspace itself is the "sump"!!!! Since you have not described the crawlspace, walls, foundation, etc. one can only assume you aren't referring to a skirted post & pier, etc.

    Generally speaking, crawl spaces and basements are not designed to "hold" water, usually the reverse.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 10-09-2010 at 04:03 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Rick, like others have said, I'd let the client be the one to decide at this point if he wants his crawlspace to begin filling up with water before the pump will kick on which sounds like what will happen.

    Maybe you can make a bet with the realtor......if the drainage expert says the setup is OK, you'll pay the $250. If the expert says it is wrong and supports your recommendation, he pays.

    What if the pump falls off its perch on the brick and ends up laying flat on the floor? Why would anybody think a large puddle of water stagnating on the floor inside a crawlspace is acceptable? Would any of the people OK'ing this setup want the same thing in their home?

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Yes we do call out water in the crawlspace however the challenge here is that the sellers agent has two contractors that say everything is OK. The seller is coming in from out of the area and knows nothing about homes, let alone crawlspaces. Dave Woods document is something but Canada standards get a chuckle here (sorry Dave!)

    Nick - at this point I feel like I am beating the dead horse and holding the losing hand. Two contractors who say its OK versus a contractor who gets paid to install drainage system. I know he would say its faulty but he is biased....

    //Rick

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  9. #9
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    Yes we do call out water in the crawlspace however the challenge here is that the sellers agent has two contractors that say everything is OK. The seller is coming in from out of the area and knows nothing about homes, let alone crawlspaces. Dave Woods document is something but Canada standards get a chuckle here (sorry Dave!)

    Nick - at this point I feel like I am beating the dead horse and holding the losing hand. Two contractors who say its OK versus a contractor who gets paid to install drainage system. I know he would say its faulty but he is biased....

    //Rick
    Rick....

    Did either one of the contractors put their opinion in writing or is is only verbal? If it is just verbal...ask the seller agent to get in writing from the contractors that all is OK with water in the crawl space so if/when the buyers have a problem they will know who to call. I bet neither contractor will put it in writing.


  10. #10
    David Bell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    An installation instruction sheet for the pump should spell out what is and is not proper and I think the "experts" would have to defer to it. Gould has instructions online that may be helpful.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Rick, I have to echo John and HG's comments. Their points are spot on. It also seems to me that part of the issue is poor verbiage on your part (not bashing you, don't get mad). As I'm understanding this, the crawlspace itself seems to be the 'pit'. Under these circumstances, I'm not sure I would have concentrated on the pump being 'installed wrong'. I probably would have focused more on the health concerns of the crawl being a pit, water seepage into the crawl, any decay issues from elevated humidity, exterior ground slope and where the sump actually discharges to.
    I'm with James on the 'in writing' point. If the contractor won't put it in writing, I don't care what he claims to say. My report is in writing.
    I got a so called 'roofer' thrown off of a $75K re-roof a couple weeks ago. Did the initial inspection because of concerns, all work was either wrong or poor. Contractor said I was full of it, didn't know what I was talking about. Everyone wanted a meeting. Condo board members, attorney and contractors. 'Roofers' kept saying X. I kept pulling out doc's from the Manufacturer showing he was the one full of it. Condo Board is now looking for a new roofing contract. Real bad messy situation, probably end in court.

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  12. #12
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    Smile Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    Dave Woods document is something but Canada standards get a chuckle here (sorry Dave!)

    //Rick
    All of our igloos have dry basements .


  13. #13
    Rod Cicotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    I am currently in a war of words with a Realtor. In a recent inspection I called out an improperly installed sump pump in a crawlspace. The sump was balanced on a brick in a low spot. No sump pit, no drain tiles running to it. I called out for a sump pit with filter cloth and a drainage system to direct the water to it.

    The owner got a handyman to inspect it and call it good. When I objected to it, he said show me documentation that its incorrect and called a contractor friend who backed the handyman. I searched the internet and couldn't find anything to back my position. The local drainage expert wants $250 to look at it.

    Can anyone help me?

    //Rick
    How is the sumpless pump wired? GFCI protected? wireway to outlet box? Pump anchored to it's 'foundation'? Pump could jump off bricks when it kicks on, Rod.


  14. #14
    Kent Sauber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent Sauber View Post
    Thank you, sir. The first sump pump manual on the list shows sump pit dimensions, min and max depths in 3 languages.

    Rick, you could try a local plumber. Most have experience installing pumps properly.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 10-11-2010 at 10:32 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  16. #16
    Bruce Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Rick
    All is needed here is that a sump pump should be installed according to the manufactured instructions. All water should be diverted to the sump The system should be installed by a qualified Person, that may not be a plumber, I have seen too many that were improperly installed. You can get the installation instructions from any supplier. I also recommend that the sump pump be installed close to the crawl space access so it can be checked for proper operation on a regular bases. You can get ten people to look at something and five will say it is good and five will say that it is bad. If the manufacture says it is wrong then it is wrong.
    Bruce


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Rick it is your lucky day.
    I have a PDF that supports you 100%.
    The PDF of course is to big for this forum but go here and have fun on this cool site that backs you up.

    Drying up and Fixing your Wet Basement Problems - MTIdry.com


  18. #18
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Wow....good site! Just added it to my list of links to share as needed (like the OP needed).


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    What, they're too cheap to get a laundry basket??

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Sump Pump Installation Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Erby Crofutt View Post
    What, they're too cheap to get a laundry basket??
    Not just a basket. There's the carpet that has to be cut for a lid. Some people prefer to scream foul and possibly lose a client, (or the right to play if it's baseball).

    Stop the water before it gets in. I had a wet crawlspace when I bought this place. Water sits on a clay layer. Even with downspout extensions, there was a problem. I've run all my downspouts into a second drain system that carries the water out to the ditch at the road. It was a cheap fix.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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