Friday, July 03, 2009

Sump Wars Revisited

With almost a month of rain under our belts, it would seem even thick skinned Mainers have their limits. I certainly have reached mine. It's one thing to have the weather add insult to an already injured bike shop. It is another to have to deal with yet another flooded basement at a time of the year when we are normally whining about the 80 degree heat and the sump hole tosses dust up when the occasional salamander ventures through it.

I was dutifully staying late at work last night trying to act like the responsible business owner I should be when I get a call from my wonderful wife. "How do you get this F*#^king sump pump to work? It's ankle deep down there."

As I listened to her, all I could think about is how I finally knew for certain the notion of sump pumps and their dependable failure when I need them the most will one day, maybe not this time but at some point in my diminishing future - one day I will die from a blown blood vessel when they fail once too often. It appears the "Sump Wars" are not over. The 28 year struggle continues. And I seem to always be on the losing end. Sigh.

I know other folks nestled next to the rivers, lakes and streams are anguishing over much more serious issues like losing everything they own and not just concerned over the kind of junk we all put in unreliable storage areas. Anything of real value, not counting the furnace, the water heater, and the coffin freezer are safely up and out of harm's way. It is just the psychological toll of that yearly wet reminder and the occasional extra inning tossed in that Mother Nature proves she rules and the rest of us drool. She will take her pound of flesh. All at once or a piece at a time. Suffering the slow agony of a death by a thousand floods seems worse than having her smite me down in one fell swoop.

So now I have learned a new lesson. A sump pump that runs continuously for days on end probably ought to have it's own electrical circuit. It certainly is not a good idea to have it plugged into the same circuit as the furnace, the washer, and a variety pack of lights and other fixtures. Loew's here I come. I have an unused 30Amp circuit I can tap into and by the end of this holiday weekend while others cavort and recreate, I will have wired up this unused 30 Amp circuit with 12/2 wire and a GFI plug receptacle. Happy Fourth of July! ................Yeah right.

See Ya........



Linda McGeary said...

We've had more than normal amounts of rain here this year too. But in Bend Or. we don't have basements so we don't have to deal with flooding. I send sympathy your way. I know you'd rather have a new sump pump, but all I can afford to send is sympathy.
Hope you dry out soon.

PipeTobacco said...


I do not know if this works in your area, but where I live it is common to have a water propelled back-up sump pump. This works if you have city water, and the pressure in the system will run a pump to pump out the water during a power failure, or if the electric sump pump fails.

We like ours. Perhaps, if you can use it in your location, it would give you peace of mind.


Demeur said...

PT was reading my mind. An electric sump always seems to work until you really need it. Having pumped thousands of gallons of contaminated water over the years I've become a master at rebuilding them. The seperate curcuit is a good idea. A shop vac and a 55 gallon drum work well in a pinch.

Bill said...

Make that a 20 amp breaker there, Crum. I know the frustration but with 12/2 wire... No need to burn the whole place down.