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Will Oliver
Create a siphon to reduce sump pump running?

I need to install a sump pump for my wet basement. A regular sump pump installation would surely do the job--but I am afraid that I will be paying for electricity to lower the neighborhood's water table. About 100 feet from the house the grade is below the basement floor. This allowed me to siphon the basement dry using a garden hose. Is there a way I can set up a sump pump so it works to start a siphon then shuts off and lets gravity do the rest?

Re: Create a siphon to reduce sump pump running?

Really cool idea Oliver and yes there is a way. Here's my McGuyver idea;

1- Set up a siphon pipe permanently.

2- At the open end where the water comes out, install an electric valve. Spend the money for a good, reliable one. Since the pressure will be so low, you'll need one that doesn't use water pressure to help keep the valve open.

3- Install a float switch (fairly common) in the sump pit. Get a battery back up in case of power outage. The voltage is low, so this should be easy. Set it to open the valve at the high water mark (you adjust this) and the close at the low water mark (you adjust this). The high water mark should be bellow the sump pump starting level. The low water mark needs to be above the bottom of the intake pipe as not to siphon air into the pipe, and below the sump pump setting so when the sump pump kicks on, you don't want it getting air into your siphon. The sump pump will be there to protect you when the siphon system gets over run. Pretty cool huh? I'm really digging this idea.

4- Take a garden hose and start filling the sump pit.

5- Stand back and giggle in excitement when you hear the upper float switch click on.

6A- Run outside to see the water siphoning out.

6B- Dancing with glee is optional.

7- Run back inside the house to turn off the hose.

8- When the lower float switch clicks and turns the valve closed and the water stops draining, shout with excitement.

9- Let us know how it went.

10- Brag to all your friends.

Re: Create a siphon to reduce sump pump running?

This may work. Set the pump up as normal, and have it wired so it only comes on long enough to fill the line, then turns off. The remaining water in the sump should siphon.


Dave in Ohio
Re: Create a siphon to reduce sump pump running?

I don't have the electric shutoff valve at the exit, but I extended my outlet a few feet as it was exhausting the water very close to the same elevation as the sump (the pipe through the wall is below grade and our backyard has a slope going down a hillside about 100 foot away where the outlet was). By extending the line with a hose, once the water started flowing by the pump "primed" the line, when the water level lowered to turn the pump switch off the suction continued the flow. Dependent on how fast the sump was filling, it could continue for a few seconds to several minutes - I would ultimately hear the gurgling as it drew air into the inlet to the point the suction was broken (and the check valve would then close preventing water coming backwards). Figure it has saved the sump plenty of work over the years.

Mister Mark
Re: Create a siphon to reduce sump pump running?

I live in a rather flat area with a high water table. I have gone through dozens of sump pumps over the 40 years I've lived here.During hard rains the pump cycles sometimes every 10 seconds or so. I have storm sewer located at the street about 12 to 14' below grade. I could with major expense just hook my drain tile into it but was worried to tie in because of flooding that occurred during one freak storm that dropped 4" of rain in a few short hours. This was before the sewers were installed. My sump pit is 8' below grade and discharges out into a shallow ditch that goes approx 120' to a storm sewer catch basin. My thought was to run a plastic pipe just below grade following the ditch and end it to the bottom of the sewer line giving me approx. 4 to 6 feet of fall. Thinking that once the pump primed the plastic pipe siphon action would continue draining the sump. Any suggestions would be appreciated about feasibility size of pipe (valves?) or other comments.

Re: Create a siphon to reduce sump pump running?

You do not need to lower the water table of the whole neighbor hood. All you need to do is to lower the water table enough so that your basement is dry. Many years ago i installed a new sump pump in a clients house and set it too low. if ran non stop for the weekend. This was a mistake. if fact if you do lower the water table enough you can cause the land to drop and get problems with houses settling etc.

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