Looking for some advice on a very unfortunately timed breakdown.

Came home tonight to see some wet spots on the basement concrete near some cracks and looked over to see the sump put filled right to the top, past the lid.

I have two pits, one with a Myers SSM33 (or SRM4?) pump. The other is a battery backup unit, Flotec FP1800DCC-01.

The outlets where they're both plugged in have power. The battery's adapter plug shows a solid red light for "AC Power" and the "Charging" and "Charged" lights are off.

I borrowed a portable pump which is pumping water out into the backyard. After a few hours I managed to drain the backup pit, but it very quickly fills right back up from the inlet pipe until the water line is stable at about 1" above the top of the pipe.

I drained the main pit fairly quickly, and now it's slowly filling back up. Much slower than the backup, but it's also much larger.

Am I buying two new pumps on Monday and babysitting this portable pump every few hours?

Should the pits be filling to a certain level and stopping? The pumps seem to both be toast. I just now checked the battery adapter plug again and the yellow "Charging" light is flashing. No pumps running still.

Up until tonight I knew very little about these two pumps--we bought the house last year and the inspector said they both look fine and not to worry about anything. Now that I drained the main pit the pump looks really old and corroded it seems. There's also an old pop can floating in the bottom of the pit--half corroded out.

Would it be wise to run the drain hose for the portable pump into the roughed-in drain pipe in my basement? It's got an orange cap on it, but I assume that's a bad idea to let sewer gas in. It's just a vertical pipe coming out of the concrete, no P-trap.

Edit: Photos below showing the main pump, which I've now removed, and the setup of each (what I'm calling "main pump" is on the left).

To update, I can get the main pump to start running (or just humming) but not pumping water if I unplug the floater switch and plug the pump right into the outlet. I cannot do the same for the battery-backed "secondary" pump--it just doesn't turn on.

I notice though that each basin has its own inlet, the "secondary" basin is much smaller but doesn't seem to be filling from overflow from the "main" basin. It fills extremely quickly (2 minutes or so) right to just above the inlet pipe and seems to hold stable there.

The "main" basin fills much, much slower, but mostly from sort of under the pipe (the "secondary" has the same issue but less so, it's mostly coming out of the inlet pipe there). The main also seems to stop/slow filling but several inches above the inlet pipe.

I'm now going to clean the main pump and take the float switch off the secondary to try on the main. The secondary pump seems to be toast right now anyway.

Should that red piece on the drain pipe on the left be blocked off? I can't reach up into that pipe--it's like it's capped off inside.

Showing the entire system The main pump

Edit 2: I cleaned the main pump the best I could, but it's pretty corroded. The float is now pretty clean. The inlet for the pump in kind of up inside the housing so there's not much I can do to get in there/inspect, but from what I saw it seemed clear.

After reinstalling the main pump and the float, the float seems to be working! If I pick it up and flip it upside down, the pump turns on. I'll wait and see what happens as the basin fills back up.

I could not switch the floats as I had intended because the secondary's float is actually part of the battery system and hooked into a panel, etc. Not the same piece. Didn't matter, since the original float seems to be fine.

I pushed in the check valve, too, before reinstalling it and about 2 L of water poured out, then it was empty. The hinged door seems to push with minimal effort.

Edit 3: I've replaced the float switch on the "main" basin's pump, and it's now working. That inlet pipe has stopped filling. I'll look for a deal on a new 1/2 HP pump to replace it since it looks like it's about reached its lifespan, but it's working for now.

I've taken everything out of the "secondary" basin (turns out it had a 1/3 HP pump and another battery-backed pump piggy-backed onto it) and replaced with a new 1/3 HP pump, which is working fine. I'm going to look into an emergency backup power system for both basins, rather than the method that used to be there that failed.

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Has the pump (or pumps) been running a lot since you bought the house? Would you have noticed? Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 12:26
  • 3
    I suspect one pump quit a long time ago, and now you have a second failure. Replace both systems. In the future you should inspect both at least annually, perhaps more often if you're in a area where the water table is high. You may also want to examine drainage at surface level to see if water can be redirected before it reaches your sump system.
    – Tyson
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 13:58
  • Adding more details (and photos) in my original post above. @DanielGriscom I don't know what "a lot" is since I've never had a sump before, but I often heard either water trickling into the basin or draining water and just assumed it was working as intended. I never wanted to open the lids to look inside because I was afraid to mess it up--the inspector said it looked great a year ago.
    – Nathan S
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 17:24
  • The red thing on the pipe is a check valve (or backflow valve). It allows water to only move in one direction (out). The basins will likely always have some water in them, but should not overflow. You'll likely be able to see a stain inside the pit, that marks the "normal" water level. The float switch should be set to go on a bit above the "normal", and turn off a bit below the "normal" level.
    – Tester101
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 17:46
  • 1
    If you have a municipal water supply line near the pit(s), a water powered backup system can be quite handy. It doesn't require chargers or batteries to operate, so it's a bit cheaper in the long run (unless you pay a lot for water). It works using the city water pressure, so it should work fine during an extended power outage.
    – Tester101
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 17:52

2 Answers 2


If you plugged the pump you borrowed into the old main's float switch (and you can get them both into the pit - or just get the float switch freed from the old pump and secured to the hose on the temporary one), you wouldn't have to babysit it.

Yes, you're buying two new pumps on Monday (assuming that the battery is good on the backup pump and it has failed also). This time don't put the alarm for it on silence (or make sure that the new one you get does have an alarm), so that you know when the main pump has failed.

If the outlet you're working out of isn't a GFCI, run an extension cord to one while you're messing with it. Later, when your hands and the floor is dry, you can hook it back in.

  • Thanks, not sure what you mean regarding the alarm. We got the house a year ago and haven't touched the thing.
    – Nathan S
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 19:12
  • How do I use the float switch on the pump I borrowed? It's just a little one attached to a garden house. Doesn't matter? Does the float switch have to be anchored somehow? Right now it's just floating in the water and the cord is loose all the way up to the outlet.
    – Nathan S
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 19:14
  • @NathanS - The backup pump I have from the same manufacturer (I think) has a mute button with a red indicator light. - Yes, you have to ziptie the float switch to the garden hose (for some reason I was thinking it was permanently attached to the old pump - it shouldn't be; no reason to have to get them both in the pit)
    – Mazura
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 19:20
  • Gotcha, I'll give that a shot. But in general the float switch should be totally loose? I think the primary pump may be fine then and the float switch there is just shot. I can get it to turn on and drain by smacking the float, but it doesn't do it naturally when it floats in the water.
    – Nathan S
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 19:35
  • 1
    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Nathan S
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 20:57

I have a sump in my house that runs a lot more when it is raining. The pump that was installed when we moved in was a 1/3 horse power. When that pump died a few years ago I replaced it with a 3/4 horse power pump. I should have replaced it like for like. The new larger pump pumps so much water that it empties the pit in a couple seconds. Sometimes the problem with sump pumps is the float sticks. The floats get loaded with crud and junk and just need to be cleaned off. Also the inlet screen gets loaded with the same junk (any dirt/mud etc.) that accumulates in the tank. These pumps should be inspected every few years. Pull the plug or shut off the electricity and inspect the pump. Clean off the inlet screen, check the action of the float and remove any junk. As for the pipe coming out of the concrete, you need to know what it is used for. Where I live it is illegal to run a sump pump into a sewer drain. I bought my pump at home depot.

  • I'm adding more details in my original post RE: the rest, but I don't think it's a problem the way this is plumbed. It was inspected.
    – Nathan S
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 17:23
  • After re-reading the last of your response I misunderstood. The pipe coming out of the concrete is a roughed-in drain for a bathroom. There's one for a shower, one larger one for a toilet, and one for a sink drain. I assume they all just go to the main drain stack? That's where my pumps are draining anyway, when working probably.
    – Nathan S
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 18:32
  • That red item on the left line looks like a valve and should be open all the time except when cleaning or fixing the pump.
    – d.george
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 11:46
  • It's a check valve. It opens only one way, preventing water from flowing back into the pump.
    – Nathan S
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 13:21

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