Is water in my house's sump a problem?

I have a sump in my basement, with a pump in it. The pump works, except for the float, which won’t shut off when the sump has emptied. The eventual plan is to replace it, and keep the old pump as a backup (I’ll try to fix the float, but I’m doubtful that’s possible). I’d rather do this when the sump isn’t full of ice cold water, and I think the sump dries out most summers.

In the meantime, I’m turning the pump on and off by hand once or twice a day. I’m wondering if I really need to keep the water level down, or if it’s OK as long as it isn’t spilling into my basement. The sump is lined with some presumably standard sump lining, about ten gallons or so. It’s fed by two black plastic drain tubes about four or five inches in diameter. The tops of those tubes are about five inches below the basement surface. If the water level is about an inch above the bottom of the black tubes, the sump empties out pretty quickly when I plug in the pump. If the water level is two or three inches higher, the pump can run for ten or fifteen minutes straight before the sump water level drops to the bottom. In both cases, water is still coming out of the tubes, just at different rates.

Would it be OK to not worry about about the water level unless it covers the tubes completely? On the one hand it’s probably hundreds or thousands of gallons of water around my footings, but on the other hand it’s only about a five inch difference in the water table between having no water draining from the tubes and having the tubes covered.

This is one of those ‘depends’ answers.

You’d figure that if the tubes are clear, having high water in the sump isn’t an issue.

Here is problem number one: some sumps will get water in them, and it won’t be delivered by the higher tubes. If you know the only way in is the tubes, and you know the all tubes are clear, then you can probably not sweat it.

You have to be certain that there is no other way the sump can be blocking water, becaue if it is blocking water by being filled, then there is hydrostatic pressure somewhere else, and it might cause a gusher in a wall or floor.

I see clear tubes in my sump, but since the pump allows about 4" of water to site (so as to not lose prime), I can’t tell if there is bottom access for the water, or if it was all delivered by the tubes.

IMHO, I wouldn’t mess with water and would drop the 100-150 clams on a working pump asap.

I’m not sure what you mean here. The sump is lower than the rest of the basement. I suspect the bottom of the sump is open to the ground below it, but I can’t be sure. The house is about 10 years old, and the black tubes run the length of the foundation.

I hesitate to admit this, but I noticed it was running continuously late one night and unplugged it, then forgot about it. I got home one night several days later, and my wife asked “Did you unplug the sump pump? :dubious:” Water had overflowed the sump, and was running down the nearby furnace drain. The rest of the basement had a little wetness along the edge, and in a few small cracks, but no puddles. So I’m not concerned with water damage problems, just with undermining the foundation.

I’d keep running the pump regularly, or better yet replace it. Hydrostatic pressure can do horrible damage to your foundation. Don’t mess around with it. What’s a couple hundred bucks compared to the value of your home?

If it were me, I’d pull the pump out of the sump and fix/replace the float/switch so I could forget about it.
If that is not possible, replace the sump pump.
IOW fix/replace,

Well, my whole basement is graded toward the sump, and the whole floor ‘floats’ - it isn’t even connected to the walls. If I go into an unfinished area and look, I can see stones and a channell that will take wall breaches towards the sump or into the french drain system…which will all grade towards the sump. Not all the water that gets to the sump gets there via black piping. Not in my case at least. There are cobwebs in the black tubing. … And 4" of water in the sump.

I actually add water so that the damn thing gets rid of old stale water.

I never had water in my (finished) basement, but in NJ, the last two years have made even very dry areas struggle with water. The french drain stone system is saving my ass, and I added the pump. (Most homes where I live, even 600,000 dollar to million dollar homes have elaborate basement drainage and a good sump…BUT NO PUMP!!!) When I put in my pump, people looked at me oddly. When I told them to look in their sump, they shit their pants. Depot sold out in 30 mins.

I had to work around a custom bar and cabinet I built. And run pipe BEHIND walls. Good grief, Charlie Brown, get a new pump!

It’s not the money, it’s the thought of trying to replace it while cold water is pouring in from the tubes, refilling the sump. Also the possibility I’ll get the old one out, and not be able to get the new one in right away, and them I’m completely unprotected. At least now I can run it manually and keep the water level down.

Anyway, thanks all for your answers.