Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Sump Pump and other Headaches

Its  fairly early yet by many standards and while most mornings I would have been up by at least an hour, this particular morning I have been up since 4 a.m.   You see last night about 9:00 p.m., in the middle of a "Dancing with the Stars" episode, (yes, I know its my one of my maybe, two dozen vices), during a commercial break I decided to go into the basement and water the several plants I winter over down there under a grow light.  I hadn't  watered them for a few days, and all day had been meaning to, and all day forgetting.  It always lifts my spirits to see the lemon verbena in full green grow mode and one or two geraniums blooming, especially in this early spring, we in Michigan know, will break your heart, often as not.

Upon flicking on the light to the "lower" basement rooms that contain the plants, I immediately, discovered we had water in those two rooms, effectively flooding them with at least 9 inches of water.  I immediately shook the sump pump line which is supposed to drain tile water and keep the basement dry.  It obviously had quit running. No luck there.   Kurt, upon my yelling up the stairs came down, not at all happy and in the way of men, complaining about what else could go wrong. After more lifting of the sump pump, and bumping it on the bottom bed it suddenly started and began draining water.  It seemed disaster averted aside from water in the basement and that cleanup which would have to take place again.  Though most of the furniture stored down there was up on some wood blocks, in a couple of cases the water was higher than the blocks.  It had also splashed up on the carpet that the stairs down from the living room are covered in and I was afraid it would wick higher up.  We took numerous pictures for insurance purposes and hoped this was the worst thing that would happen to us. 

After an hour I went back down to check and most of the water had drained out of the two rooms. I got the broom out to start sweeping low spots in the flooring to the sump pump.  When I didn't hear it clicking on, I checked the hole in which it sits and its full again, a foot only from the top of the hole.  We pulled the sump pump, but no amount of jiggling or light bumping would restart it.  We called two plumbers we know and as it was after 10 in the evening, neither answered.  We began bailing water out of the hole and dumping  it outside away from the house.  Ten to 15 trips later we were both exhausted  and the water was still filling up the hole pretty quickly.  I suggested we put the pump back in and try it.  Eureka, it worked.  We watched it for a half hour and then Kurt went to bed and I stayed up until almost midnight.  I watched the NCAA basketball championship game, and my hopes fizzled there too, as Cinderella team Butler was overwhelmed by a strong and tasting victory, UConn team.  Before I went to bed, I checked the sump pump and it was still working. 

At 4 a.m. I woke up and went down and checked and the pump had stopped again and there was about a foot of space to the top of the hole.  No shaking or bumping helped so I knew Kurt would be driving to Home Depot when they opened at 6 a.m.  I went back to bed, but knew sleep would elude me, so kind of tossed and turned until Kurt got up at 5 and I told him the pump had stopped again.  We tried to get it to run but no luck.  At 5:40 a.m., Kurt headed over for the 20 minute drive to HD.  He called from there and I had to measure the piece of pvc that came up from the pump.  He thought he would have to possibly buy a new piece and cut it down.   I began bailing water while he was gone as I didn't want the water to top the hole. 
Someone was watching over us as he got the old piece of pvc to work on the new sump pump.  Hooked up and ready to go I heard the blessed sound of water being evacuated by the pump.  A couple of clamps will have to be replaced but as I told Kurt, "If this is the worst thing to happen"......

Of course we still have the mess of a wet basement and some cardboard storage boxes that will have to be dumped but again, the sun is now out on a chilly April morning and if this the worst that happens.....we be very blessed indeed....

And both plumbers returned last night's calls and for that I am grateful, even if we didn't end up needing them.

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