Sump pump and water backup

I have been having a lot of issues with flooding in my basement. I have a patio outside with two drains that flow into my sump pit. when rains are really heavy, I am noticing that the sump pump is running continuously and not able to handle the flow of water it seems. This causes the pit to fill up slowly. However, the house was designed such that in the worst case the sump pit fills up, water can flow through a sewer drain next to the sump pit before flooding the basement.

My problem is that as the sump pit starts filling up, water flowing through the drain tile seems to back up on my patio where the drains are. This results in water flooding through my basement walkout door close to the patio.

Of course the best solutions is a pump that can keep up with the water flow. My Zoeller M53 at 10 ft head seems to fail to keep up 2-3 times a year. How can I prevent water backup and let the pit fill up and drain through sewer drain next to sump pit in those cases as opposed to water backing up on my patio?

I am working on changing my battery backup that isn’t doing much good as well in helping the primary Zoeller M53 pump.

The simple thing is create a new outlet for the patio drains into a drywell or just to run off down to the street. Is that possible?

Unfortunately that seems difficult as this patio is kind of a pit next to my walkout basement door. To get to this pit I walk down a few stairs from my backyard. an option suggested to me was to install another sump pump on this patio. This is not easy as it requires drilling through concrete; it also does not look good being outside. Lastly, it seems an expensive option (was given a $2000 quote).

Sounds like a tough spot to be in. Is the water on the patio just from falling rain or are you getting ground and roof run off also? If you don’t have roof gutters you need them there, and you can grade around the patio to keep runoff water out. You could also put a roof over the patio and get rid of the direct rainfall. The easiest, least expensive option seems to be using an additional or bigger pump, if you have somewhere to put it. Maybe you could put a small surface type pump on the patio itself with just a simple cover over it.

Is it getting out of the sump pit pretty well or could there be a blockage there? My pump was jacked up one stormy night and I had the bright idea to go check my ditch. I had to do a bunch of digging to get the pipe flowing again because there was so much dirt piled up at the end of the pipe.

I also had my indoor pipe replaced. It was originally 1/2" (old code?) but they made it 3/4".

Also, can you add a backup pump? You should have one anyway. One that takes over when your main pump is dead or simply overwhemled.

The water on the patio is from falling rain, but worse it is from an upper patio that has a french drain. This upper patio’s french drain seems to be slow and perhaps stops draining after torrential rain (perhaps due to waterlogging all around the place where it exits?). Thus water from the (bigger) upper patio flows down to the smaller pit/patio that leads to the sump.

If I can somehow get the upper patio french drain to drain better, it will surely help. But it is difficult to recreate the waterlogging conditions when a plumber shows up and it looks like the drain is flowing somewhat when they test.

I have researched putting an Everbilt 1/3 hp utility pump on my lower patio with a hose going up to my backyard. I prefer an automatic one that I can just leave out there and it will start stop based on water level it detects. I could cover it up so it has a decent life. I just hope they are reliable when left out.

I had a pump similar to that one that you could add a simple float attachment to. It was similar to a simple toilet float on a lever arm. You could have an overheating problem if it ends up running continuously.

Isn’t their a way to re-route the drain from the upper patio?

“Is it getting out of the sump pit pretty well or could there be a blockage there?”

I fixed those up; I had blockage issues there before.

“I also had my indoor pipe replaced. It was originally 1/2” (old code?) but they made it 3/4". mine is at least 3/4 if not more.

“Also, can you add a backup pump? You should have one anyway. One that takes over when your main pump is dead or simply overwhemled.”. Yes, I am debating on whether I should go for a water-based backup pump (quoted around $1500 with backflow built in), or something like TripleSafe system (Zoeller M53, then a more powerful Zoeller M98 to help out, and then a battery backup pump) which will cost me about $2200.

As for the upper french drain, I could get a quote on having it re-routed. This would probably need my backyard dug up; finding a point lower in grade is a challenge than my upper patio though. The current french drain drains off in a utility easement area behind a neighbors backyard about 100 ft out.

so as you see, there are many options to spend money one, and I am willing. but wanted advice on the the most effective ones that is cost-effective as well.

Do you have any pictures?
What size is the discharge pipe on the zoeller?
What how much elevation gain is there on the zoeler’s discharge?
Where does it discharge too?

I think your solutiona may lie in a more powerful pump and/or a larger sump pit.

From what I can see, I am not allowed to post pictures.

As mentioned before, the Zoeller seems to connected to atleast a 1 and 1/4 pipe. The pit is pretty deep, about 3 feet I would guess, and about 1.5-2 feet wide.

There is about 8-10 ft elevation gain.

I agree with TriPolar - back to basics.

Unless you live in a place with lots of groundwater and a high water table, there are usually 2 things that cause water problems:

  1. The grading around the area. The land should slope away from the structure. In other words, if your patio is at a low point in your yard, that’s not a good thing.

You want top soil - tamped down and compacted (not garden soil or compost, which doesn’t compact) - to slope downward, away from the patio so that the water runs away from the structure and doesn’t sink into the surrounding ground.

  1. Gutters. If the water is a result of concentrated runoff from the roof of the house or a garage, then gutters, along with strategically placed downspouts that redirect the water away, will make a big difference.

For #1, of course, you’re limited if there’s not enough room between houses to re-grade. Obviously, you can’t regrade your neighbor’s lawn. They don’t take kindly to that. But, if you do need to fix the grade and have the room to do so, you can usually find someone to do that work for a fairly reasonable price, if that’s what needs to be done.

There are a number of youtube videos about how to grade around your house; I’m sure the same logic applies to any other area where you want to keep water away.

#2 is a relatively cheap fix. I’m amazed at how many times a simple and functional gutter system can make a big difference, assuming the problem is caused by runoff from the roof of a house and/or garage.

You need to walk around your house and any outbuildings while it’s raining and see if there are spots that have a lot of concentrated runoff from the roof during a rain storm. Maybe that upper patio is channeling a lot of runoff from upper roofs to the lower patio. Gutters may help there.

Depending on the size of your house and the configuration you need, you can get a decent, serviceable gutter system professionally installed for under $1000. I’ve paid as little as $650 for a whole-house simple installation, up to about $1300 for a multi-story Victorian (I went overboard on the gutters here just to be safe). Anyhow, it’s a pretty inexpensive thing to do, unless you want heated gutters or something really fancy.

You’ll should scope out the problem spots yourself and point them out to the installer. The installation itself is something that can usually be done in one day or less, so it’s not an intrusive project.

There are lots of decent sump pumps out there, if that’s the way you go. But I would try the basic solutions first. You may still need a pump at some point, but it’s a lot less stress if you can mitigate the water problem at the source.

Good luck. I know what a pain in the neck it is to deal with water issues.

I’ve battled water in a couple of houses now live high and dry, thankyouverymuch!) Tripolar and Rings impress me as spot on. The biggest bang for the buck is to direct as much water as possible away from your foundation tile - including the drains on your 2 patios. If you got the gutters/downspouts, top patio, and surface area to drain away from the house, then what came through the lower patio drain might not be so overwhelming. Sounds like a tough situation tho, and likely resistant to any easy, single, and inexpensive fix. Good luck.

Not directly - post them to a photo-sharing site, and put up a link here.

Here is my attempt at posting the pictures.

The previous owners have done a decent job of trying to fight the water. There are big, deep gutters all around (5-inch gutters I think), gutter downspout near upper patio is sent underground and exits a few yards away to a slope.

I do not see water coming into upper patio from around it; I do however see that after a torrential rain (more than 2 inches an hour), some water flows over the gutters above the upper patio. Not sure what I can do if the water volume exceeds gutter capacity.

The upper patio french drain if working well should take away any excess water, but it seems to not keep up with volume of water. I personally think french drains are not good in taking away large volumes of water, especially if the gradient is not steep.

I plan on walking all around the next heavy rain to see what else I can do with water flow (if I am not fighting a basement flood with buckets). But a good sump pump and backup will help me be at ease. anyone used or heard about the TripleSafe pump that has 2 pumps and battery backup? Do you all prefer a water-pressure backup over a battery backup?

While reading up on gutters, I found this statement:

“Wider gutters may be required for certain hard surface roofing materials, such as slate and tile, or used on steeply-pitched roofs, to prevent water from shooting over the gutter. Gutters should be positioned tight against roofing materials and the fascia.”

My roof is tile, and perhaps a hard rain “bounces” off the tile over the 5" Gutter? In a downpour it is difficult for me to climb a 20 ft ladder to see what exactly happens up there.

I have become quite an expert on water drainage by now:)

Thanks for the pics. They clear up a lot of confusion. I imagined a very different configuration.

The patio is very pretty, but I imagine it becomes an unintended water catchment system when you get a lot of rain in a small period of time. The drains probably can’t keep up with an intense downpour.

All water flows downhill and that patio sure is downhill. There’s not much you can do about that, but there aren’t many places for the water to go and the drain system probably can’t get rid of the water fast enough if it comes down fast and heavy.

The setup looks well thought out. Now I’m going to go with the other group.

Check to make sure the pipes (and the drains too) aren’t clogged with dirt, leaves, debris, etc. anywhere along the line. Do you get any backwash when the pump stops? If so, there could be a blockage/obstruction along the line.

After that, the only other mitigation I can think of would be a bigger/deeper sump hole to hold the excess water until the pump(s) can remove it.

If the problem is the speed at which the pump removes water, a stronger pump might help a bit, but they can only clear so much water in a given amount of time.

You might want to have a plumber come in and take look.

“Do you get any backwash when the pump stops? If so, there could be a blockage/obstruction along the line.”

Can you explain what you mean by backwash? do you mean water back from the sump pump discharge, or the water backup from the drain tile to patio drain?

I have had many plumbers come in and have many expensive options to choose from. My post here was to make sure I have considered all that I can in my decision.

If a sump pump didn’t pump sump, what would a sump pump pump?