When we took out two ginormous trees in our front yard, we knew there might be *some* moisture problems in the basement. To say we underestimated how much those trees were drinking would be an understatement. For three years we had water seeping into our basement every time it rained. It was pretty bad the first few times and ruined a lot of the stuff we had stored down there.
While this flood clean up gear was fashionable (however, ineffective and definitely not recommended), we realized we couldn’t wish the water problem away. Man, wouldn’t that we great, though?? We decided to install a french drain along the front wall of our foundation. And by “we” I mean Tyler did all of it because I was newly pregnant with C and wielding a pickaxe while preggo is generally frowned upon.
The french drain helped a little, but it still wasn’t enough, as seen in this next picture. So we put everything up on blocks and decided to forget about it for a while. This is especially easy when your problem is in the basement!
Tyler campaigned for DIYing a sump pump for quite some time. He’s really determined that way. But, as a mom, I had about a million and three worries floating around in my head like noise, dust, killing our HVAC, how long it would take, where the concrete debris would go, renting dangerous equipment… Shall I go on??
And by the way, if you’re not familiar with sump pumps, they’re pretty common in homes with basements (except for ours, apparently). Basically it’s a system of drains along the foundation wall that collects water and carries it down to a sump pit. The water collects in the sump pit until it reaches a certain depth. The depth triggers a pump to start pulling water up and out of the pit and drains it outside your home.
After some marital debate, we decided it would be best to invest the money in having a professional install the sump pump. Not only could it be done in a day or two, but we’d also have guarantees backing us up, so we hired a highly recommended local company. The price tag was a bit of an “ouch”, especially for a pit. But with hopes of finishing our basement in the near future, it was worth the comfort of knowing our basement would finally be dry.
The guys jackhammer-ed a trench along the buried walls of our foundation (some of the walls aren’t underground because we have a walk-out basement). They hauled away the concrete debris bucket by bucket as we watched (gratefully, I might add) from the window. We also had an electrician run a conduit over to the sump pump corner. Plus, there’s a back up battery for when the power goes out during our tornado-y midwestern storms. You can see in the next picture that the whole system is actually pretty nice looking… for a pit.
My favorite thing about this sump pump is that it is extremely quiet. In fact, we haven’t even heard it run yet. There are two reasons for that. First of all, the pit has a sealed lid that silences most of the pump noise. And secondly, the drain pipes run through the foundation wall instead of through the sill plate so that when the pipes vibrate, it doesn’t send vibrations through the walls of the house above. It’s all just really thoughtful and now I’m feeling sentimental about this expensive ol’ pit *sniffle*…
Below, you’ll see where the drain pipes exit our house and vent. We’re planning on tying in our gutter system with these pipes, too! It’s all so exciting, I know!!!
The pipes run under ground maybe 10 feet or so to this external drain. We chose this corner of the house for our sump pump because it was the easiest to drain to as it has direct access to the dry creek bed in our backyard. We also never go over to this side of the house, except to admire our landscape retaining wall.
Here’s the basement trench all patched up!
The drain system has a built in gap along the walls to catch any moisture drips that might form on the concrete foundation! Just another way to keep our future finished basement dry!
Lastly, one of the coolest features (probably telling of how uncool we really are) are the clean out areas. This system has little openings that allow for us to run water from a hose through the pipes to clear clogs that may build up. This should help the system last a lot longer than traditional drain pipes!
While it’s not glamorous upgrade (in fact, I could think of a hundred projects that would have been more fun to put money toward), it’s a worthy investment that will prevent damage to our future basement finishings! And the best news of all is that our basement hasn’t seen one drop of water since! Next step in basement finishing is replacing our super sad single pane windows…. Until then!