Basement Mistake pt 4 – Having Open sump pits or drainage systems.

Open Sump Pump Basin or Pit
Open sump locations and open drainage systems are not uncommon. Many homeowners get “glammour-ed” by the logic of the sales pitch and, in desperation, follow through with installing an open sump pump basin and an open back drainage system.

The good news is that these two out-dated technologies are easily replaceable and easy to update.

Open sump pits – What’s the deal?
Having a sump pump installed is a good plan to deal with excess moisture and liquid water underneath the basement floor. It’s an excellent way to deal with water build up and hydrostatic pressure. A sump pump is designed to be fully under water, and when the water level is high enough it pumps the water out.

Now, when the water level is too low to activate the pump it can rest at the bottom of the sump basin. Many older designs of these basins didn’t come with lids. Homeowners created wood, metal and plastic sheets to cover the hole, but these do not seal the area off from the basement. Even with having a sump pump dealing with the water under the floor, homeowners would still be introducing the moisture from the standing water in the basin into the basement’s air. This can still happen and can lead to mold and moisture issues as well as give a direct path for water to jump the system. Flooding and other unpleasant things can also occur from having an open sump liner. (This doesn’t include the safety reasons – people falling in, toys or objects clogging and breaking pumps, rodents, insects, iron bacteria.etc.)

Open and open back drainage systems
For a long time, open back drainage systems were the cutting edge of technology. Combining the ideas of pipe and stone systems with the conveniences of easy installation on the footer and the simple method of collecting water from the walls. With water dripping or running down the walls from a floor crack, these open back systems would simply collect the water and put it in the drain.

open channel basement drainageEverything was well-and-good in the Basement Waterproofing Industry until people realized that these open systems were in fact allowing moisture and water to jump the system. The moisture that would build up in a system that was level (not allowing for continuous flow in a gravity fed direction) would also evaporate and escape out the back, thus adding humidity and moisture problems back into the basement.

Without knowing any better thousands of homes across America, especially in New England have increased the problems in their basements with these “easy install” fixes.

Many DIYers, and even seasoned Contractors, unknowingly subjected their (and their clients) basements to sump pump pits that were:
1.) Too Deep, causing undermining to the foundation
2.) Open allowing moisture to cause more problems in the basement
3.) Allowing water to have the ability to flood the basement or crawlspace from the sump
4.) Allow soil VOCs and other pollutants to enter the air in the home.

Having an open sump pit or an open back system installed is actually providing you with the opposite of what you’d hope. They allow moisture to collect and expand into the basement or crawl space while providing minimum protection to the home for floods and excess water. Because of these reasons, and several safety reasons, is why this falls under one of the Top 6 Basement Mistakes that could cost you money in repairs and damage.