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Everyone in every town across American where basements are common has heard the advertisements from waterproofing experts touting their expertise regarding basement flooding. It wasn’t until they started advertising sump and battery back-up systems that we began to notice. We’ve always thought basement water proofers did just that, water proof a basement foundation or wall with a crack.
Water Proofers Standing in for Plumbers
We realize that every business is trying to increase their volume and tap into new streams of revenue however sometimes it’s better to just call in the people who have learned the trade. We will give you an example of how a lack of understanding in plumbing systems and mechanical equipment has been a nightmare for one home owner.
A Basement Under Constant Assault by Water
A plumbing contractor reached out to us to help solve a basement flooding problem that was as severe as we had ever seen. The home owner was under the constant threat of flooding regardless of whether or not it was raining. So even though this plumbing contractor was very familiar with residential storm drainage solutions this one was a bit unusual. The home owner had gone through 6 sump pumps and 3 battery back-up in 5 years. After talking to the plumbing contractor and home owner for some time it was determined that the pump was cycling millions of times per year. Yes we know that sounds like an exaggeration but it is not. The sump pumps that were previously installed were cycling 4 times per minute and never less than 2 per minute. If you do some simple math you can easily see where the pump could cycle between 1,000,000 and 2,000,000 annually. The problem with this scenario is that although most good pumps can easily handle this work load there are no sump pump switches that can handle this many cycles. Even the best are rated at 750,000 cycles for the life of the pump. So we called in an expert to design us a system that would fit in a residential home but would have cycling capacities rivaling commercial pump systems. So a duplex system with external alternating switches was designed to spread the work load across two pumps and switches. If either of the switches every went bad a single pump could work and the switch could be changed out from outside the pit. The system worked magnificently. Until………………….
House to be Sold & The Home Owner Gives the New Buyer Some Extra Flood Protection
We have a point here I promise. This is when things get tricky. The existing home owner was downsizing and because of the previous flooding issues wanted to provide some additional flood protection by putting in more drain tile around the interior perimeter of the basement. So the home owner hears a jingle on the radio about how a basement water proofer can do everything from epoxy injection water proofing to drain tile to……you guessed it sump pumps and battery back systems. So an appointment was made and the home owner agreed to let them install drain tile on one side of the basement and they would tie that drain tile into one of the sump pits used to house one of the new sump pumps.
The salesperson for the water proofing company said something ominous regarding the duplex system that speaks volume for what came next. He said “what the heck kind of system is that? I’ve been in the business for quite a while and have never seen anything like it.” OK homeowner, there is a lesson here if a salesperson from a water proofing company comes out to your house and claims he’s never seen the system you have, call the contractor that put it in or the company that assembled the system.
Drain Tile Installed, Pump System Not Working.
So the new drain tile was installed and during the first heavy rain the duplex alarm was ringing like crazy letting everyone know one of the pumps was down. The plumbing contractor was rightfully brought in to see what the problem was and is then informed of the new drain tile and the fact that the aforementioned drain tile is tied into one of the sump pits. So the plumbing contractor opens the pit removes the lid and floats and pump where they find one of the pump shafts bent. At this point the plumbing contractor brings the pump manufacturer in and they find that there is several inches of rock and shale in the bottom of the pit. During the installation of the drain tile the installer never removed the rock and shale from the bottom of the pit that was dropped there during their install.
There is a Moral to this Basement Flooding Story We Promise
The homeowner brought the plumbing contractor that installed the system in to fix the pump. The homeowner stopped payment for the work completed by the water proofing contractor. The water proofing contractor wanted to repair the ruined pump themselves, a pump they admittedly had never seen. The installing plumbing contractor and pump manufacturer refused to continue to warranty the system if a different pump is installed by the water proofing contractor. This is now in litigation but the homeowner will win this battle. So here is the moral, if you are a water proofing contractor and you’ve never seen or are unfamiliar with a piece of plumbing mechanical equipment call the installer or manufacturer to help you out and if you are a home owner and a water proofing contractor tells you they are not familiar with a system you have politely tell them to call the installer or manufacturer or you won’t do business with them. You can’t and won’t know everything but most professional plumbing contractors know where to go or who to call for help with a plumbing related problem. So call us if you need us. BTW us plumbers do drain tile too.