House Shopping 101: Sorry Sump Saga
by Keith Tripp, April 2018
This photo is one of two sumps I have found this year with no in-feed pipe. It’s a reminder that nobody is checking these sump installations (except me!). There is nothing good about the renaissance of sumps in new construction. They exist because they are a money-saver for the builder, and will remain as a nuisance item in the house forever. In the Oakville, Ontario sump system in the photo, there was no in-feed pipe, and the basin is a perforated one. A solid basin is required for foundation drainage applications. The basin is full of mud, my spatula is standing up in it. The water and mud have entered through the perforations in the basin. Just one of the reasons that a perforated basin is the wrong choice for a foundation drainage application. The question is where is the water collected by the foundation drainage system going? Perhaps it is creating a flow of water under the footings or basement slab that could lead to erosion?
This sump in Georgetown, Ontario is nice and clean, but equally useless as the Oakville sump above because there is no in-feed pipe.This is a solid basin, which is a good start, but it is actually two basins joined together. One basin has been cut and used as an extension. At the joint between the basins leakage will occur. The question remains, for the first year at this house, where has the foundation drainage water been flowing to?
Sump systems are coming back because they are a cheap alternative for the builder. If you have choice, check if the house has sump system in the plan. Avoid having a sump if possible, or be prepared to pay money after you take possession to upgrade to a good quality sump system.