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Get Powered Up! Certified Energy Manager Jeff Yago answers your alternative energy questions

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Archive for the ‘Sump pump’ Category


Sump Pump Help

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Hi Jeff.

Here is my problem. My house must sit on an old artisian (sp?) well or something. My sump pit is situated in the north east corner of the basement. There is an old (red) clay tile that leads out of my pit to the “outside”.

Even in dry times, there is steady stream of water running into my sump pit from outside. My basement is only 24′ x 36′, but if the sump pump gets unplugged, my basement will fill with 3″ to 4″ of water in less than 24 hours.

My sump pump runs, on average, 2 times per hour for around 5 minutes each time, 24/7. I have not calculated how many gallons it is but I know it is killing my electric bill.

I thought, solar water pump. The less the sump pump runs, the better off my electric bill. Also, I thought it could be collect in a “rain barrel” for summer time watering needs and drain to the ditch or current dry well in the winter months.

Any help/suggestions would be helpful?

Thank You,



Sounds like you need to start building an ark.

Although this does seem like a very unusual amount of water infiltration, based on your estimate of 5 minutes run time every hour of day and night, and my estimate that this is a 1/4 HP sump pump, this still only adds up to $1.62 per month at $0.09 per kwh. Either you are under-estimating the actual run time, or more likely, you have far more energy using appliances and lights than you think. For example, an older model refrigerator/freezer can represent up to one-quarter of a home’s electric bill if we don’t include air conditioning costs.

The problem with using a solar powered pump is it only pumps on a sunny day and only during daylight hours unless you have a battery bank, and you need a pump that can run 24/7 regardless of the weather or time of day. This means you would need a solar array, battery bank, solar charger, and DC pump, and this would most likely cost around $3000 for the size pump we are talking about.

I would check with a foundation water-proof company as it may be possible to install a French drain around your exterior basement walls and re-direct most of this water away from your basement and get rid of a large amount of this water before it can seep into your basement walls and floor.

Good luck,

Jeff Yago



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