It’s amazing how many hundreds of gallons you can wet-vac out of a basement and not notice any difference

Cidu Bill on Aug 28th 2011

We have a fairly large basement. The previous owners had installed an automatic sump pump in the southwest corner.

During periods of heavy rain, the basement will take in water at the northeast corner. During events that have the word “Hurricane” in their names, it will take in water on the southeast, northwest and northeast corners.

We have never had a drop of water come through the walls on the northeast corner of the basement. The only time the pump activates is when (twice in the past 12 years) the entire basement is so thoroughly flooded, water can’t help but reach the southwest corner.

Filed in Bill Bickel, Hurricane Irene | 7 responses so far

7 Responses to “It’s amazing how many hundreds of gallons you can wet-vac out of a basement and not notice any difference”

  1. Singapore Bill Aug 28th 2011 at 05:19 am 1

    “We have never had a drop of water come through the walls on the northeast corner of the basement”

    I think you meant southwest.

    I hope all Bickels remain well and dry.

  2. Cidu Bill Aug 28th 2011 at 05:24 am 2

    Yeah, I meant water comes in from everywhere but the southwest corner. It’s too late, and I’ve been ankle-deep in dirty water for too long to worry about typos.

    It’s 5:30 am and after a short break, I’m about to go back downstairs to vacuum up water.

  3. Sili Aug 28th 2011 at 06:51 am 3

    So this is a recurrent problem? And yet you’ve not installed a new pump somewhere more appropriate?

  4. Swordsmith Aug 28th 2011 at 07:11 am 4

    If your floor was level, it wouldn’t matter where the water was coming in, the sump pump (which is down in a sump, right?) would get rid of it all anyway. Better, when the floor was put in, it should all have sloped slightly towards the sump. One solution would be to put a new layer of cement down there, this layer sloping properly to the hole. A lazier solution would be to cut grooves into the existing floor extending downwards from each corner to the shaft. But for a short term solution, use a push broom to shove the water in the direction of the hole. They also make a deal that is shaped a little like a push broom, but has instead of bristles a flat rubber dam, slightly convex, that does a great job of pushing water.

    I know this because I’m down there every time it really pours (once or twice a year) pushing that water to the hole and thinking how I should really put a new layer on the floor to permanently solve this. But who will need a window, on such a sunny day?

  5. David A. Rooney Aug 28th 2011 at 10:16 am 5

    My mother’s house had severe flooding last spring when we had two back-to-back 100-year rain storms and I ended up doing what Bill is doing. At first I carried the shop-vac up and down the bulk-head stairs, taking out about 6 gallons at a time.

    After a few trips I realized what an idiot I was to risk breaking my back (or neck if I tripped) and went to the hardware store, bought an 8′ foot extension for the hose, and then just set the shop-vac on the rear walkway, ran the hose down the stairs and sucked up 16 gallons every 90 seconds. Then I would roll the shop-vac out to the driveway to empty it.

    Still took me the better part of 6 hours to clear the 3 inches of water out of the 800 sf basement.

    Good luck, Bill. And look into one of those companies that can water-proof your foundation.

    And remember to wear earplugs. Those shop-vacs are NOISY.

  6. Cidu Bill Aug 28th 2011 at 11:51 am 6

    Sili, I’d hardly call once in 1999 and once in 2011 a recurring problem. And 1999 wasn’t anywhere near as bad as this.

  7. Dave in Asheville Aug 28th 2011 at 08:00 pm 7

    Just read this sequence. 2 things come to mind:

    1) Ankle deep before it hits the sump? That there’s some serious slope. How on earth could they have put the sump in the highest corner if the slope is that severe?

    2) Bill, were you having to carry the water out? If it was literally ankle-deep, that’s *a lot* of water, and trips. My wet/dry shopvac (Sears) has a water discharge outlet with a hose connection, so with mine you could just vacuum from one corner and discharge into the sump. One like that would be worth looking into if this might happen again.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply