My neighbors’ house, built around 1928, has a “tuck-under” garage. The garage collects the rain that falls on the driveway, which pitches down to the door. The original builder installed a storm collector outside at the lowest point, connected it to a sump in the basement floor, and installed a pump to discharge the water out the front of the house through the rim joist via a 1” black pipe connection. It worked for years. Then the existing pedestal pump gave up the ghost and I replaced it with a submersible pump. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
I used a Fernco coupling to connect the 1½” PVC discharge to the existing 1” black pipe drain line (using a scrap of Dupont Flexwrap® as a gasket to tweak the 1½” x 1¼” Fernco to work with the 1” iron pipe), added a backflow preventer, and packed up my tools. It should have worked, eh?
Then came the heavy rain. The Fernco connector had been wiggled back and forth over time and had become just loose enough to leak a bit, so it was time to fix this thing once and for all.
My priceless local plumbing supply house is a trustworthy source for accurate advice, as well as for parts. Mike, who runs the place, can answer almost any plumbing question, but most days there are one or two older (retired?) plumbers sitting on stools at the parts counter as well. These guys are a treasure trove of knowledge and experience.
Mike couldn’t believe that the original discharge was only 1” for a run of at least 25 feet, since most installations of this age and type used 1¼”. A 1” discharge wouldn’t handle the greater flow from a submersible pump as opposed to a pedestal, and this would cause premature failure of the new pump. Yikes!
I insisted it was in fact 1” and began to think I’d have to replace the whole discharge when one of the old guys (and these are always the people you want to listen to) coughs and says, “Just drill a 1/8” hole in the
PVC discharge down in the sump to relieve the pressure, and you’ll do just fine.”
By replacing the pedestal pump with a more powerful submersible model, I had forgotten the Golden Rule of home performance: “Changes to one part of a system can and most often will affect other parts of the system.” The old guy’s experience bailed me out.
—Ed Voytovich, a 40-year remodeling veteran, has been BPI-certified, a HERS Rater, and a licensed home inspector in N.Y. state; he also has a Ph.D. in English literature. He has served as the executive director of the Building Performance Contractors Association of NYS and as a consulting adviser to Building Efficiency Resources. Now substantially retired, Ed can sometimes be found helping friends and neighbors, and he does what he can for people in need by volunteering his time and service through Northern Comfort a local not-for-profit organization; firstname.lastname@example.org.