I installed the interior weeping system back in late October after the plumbers said it needed to be finished for them to continue (Ha!). That’s also when I put in the sump pit (aka crock, aka basin) and I researched and ordered the actual sump pump, but it didn’t get hooked up until yesterday when the plumbers connected the drain line. I used a ton of zip ties to get all the cables neat and tidy.

One of our big concerns has been water in the basement. The biggest reason is we’re planning to move into the basement for the next year or two and water would be a pretty big problem, but even if that weren’t the case the basement will be part of our finished space and flooding could be a huge expense. We know multiple people with similar houses that have experienced basement flooding for several reasons, so we’re taking the steps we can to prevent that from happening to us.

Unfortunately, the biggest factor in basement flooding is something we haven’t tackled yet, namely gutters that direct rain water away from the house. Because our second floor has a bump out that we’re planning to remove, we haven’t redone our roof and gutters yet. Because we’re a long way from landscaping, we haven’t taken up the sidewalk along the side of the house and put in a drainage system and a rain garden. Because we haven’t put in new windows on the second floor, we haven’t re-sided the house to prevent water from getting into the brick foundation walls. So, there’s a lot to do. In the mean time we’ll be relying on the sump pump to keep the water out of the basement. The good news is that despite a fairly rainy Spring and the sump pump not being connected until yesterday, the floor has been dry. The bad news is we’ve had a dehumidifier running non-stop for weeks and the basement still has 90% relative humidity.

StormPro System

I read a lot about sump pumps and I weighed a lot of pros and cons, reviews, opinions, brands, and specs, and I settled on an Ion Genesis StormPro sump pump system, all pre-plumbed so it just dropped in. This system uses a smart controller, two separate ⅓ HP pumps, and two separate digital water level sensors to keep everything working smoothly. The controller alternates between the pumps to prevent one from sitting idle for too long, or uses both if one can’t keep up.  The water levels sensors are extremely accurate and reliable, with no moving parts and complete redundancy. There’s a high level alarm and we can connect the controller to our alarm system to notify us remotely if there’s a problem. The only important feature it doesn’t have is battery backup. The reason for that omission is we’re planning to install solar panels on the roof along with a Tesla Powerwall battery backup for the whole house. The sump pump will (eventually) rely on this as well. Our power has been pretty reliable, so we’re not worried about not having the backup in the short term. Of course, since I ordered, the “Genesis” controller has been upgraded to the “Endeavor” controller (pictured above) for the same price, which adds some additional functionality.

Sump Pump Installed

Sump pump controller installed on boiler panel

For the time being, the sump is draining into the sewer and out to the City. Chicago allows this (for some reason) so we’re taking advantage of it, since we don’t have the aforementioned rain garden and drainage system outside. We intend to divert the sump pump to that once it’s in place, both because it’s the right thing to do (it doesn’t make sense to mix storm water with sewage), and because we’ve heard of backups in the sewer system (because of all the storm water) that mean there’s no where for the water to go.

Control Panel

Control Panel

When I turned on the sump pump, the pit was pretty full. The alarm sounded and the display told me there was high water. After testing both pumps, it quickly drained the basin and it’s been running only occasionally since then. The display shows the amperage draw of the pump (helpful if there’s blockage or other motor problem) as well as the water level in the basin down to a fraction of an inch. The controller lets you set the water fill level in half inch increments. We have a large 30″ basin, so I set it for 8″. The plumber informed me that the city inspectors have been requiring the sump pit to be proud of the floor by a couple of inches, something I didn’t know when I installed it level with the top of the slab. Hopefully they don’t have a problem with it. Given where the holes in the sides of the basin were and the slope that I had to put on the drain pipes, I couldn’t have put it any higher than I did anyway.

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One Response to Sump Pump

  1. Jac says:

    Thank you for the article. You sold me on the idea of getting a sump pump with a display. That way I can see exactly what needs to be done. It means I can also easily avoid flooding. I am definitely not as handy as you are so I’ll leave the installation to the professionals. Thanks again!

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