With a TON of rain in my area recently (Northern Ohio), my basement flooded (around 2" of water).

The sump pump came with the house, and I never gave it a second thought (I should have).

Now that I've flooded, I want to re-do my sump situation to make sure it doesn't happen again.

The reason for this flood (we think) is that the pump was just pumping water into an already flooded area, so although it was still pumping, it wasn't doing any good (not sure - just speculation from a few people who know better than me). It could have just been that the sump couldn't keep up.


In looking into sump setups, I found the common setup is the 2nd diagram "Standard Setup". But IF the problem was that it was pumping water into saturated ground/area, it doesn't seem like that would help. That being said, is there any reason I couldn't do what I diagrammed in the 3rd image, and run the battery backup out above ground?

I could attach a retractable gutter to it, so it curls up when not needed or expands of being used. Or I could run it into some kind of pex pipe and bury it down the slope away from my house, and have it come above ground 30+' from the house... I don't know. Potential issue w/ freezing? The current drain goes through the foundation at about 3' below grade. My house isn't built no a "hill", but it does have very good angle fading away from the house for ~20 feet.

Any thoughts/expertise very welcome.

This is my current setup

This is the "standard" that I could find.

This is what I'm thinking of doing

  • With the current setup, the pipe just goes out 3' and ends underground? If so, that's a good way to make a sinkhole, and a bad way to discharge a sump.
    – Tester101
    Jul 3, 2015 at 0:52
  • @Tester101, No, it goes out through the foundation AT around 3 feet down from ground level.
    – Dave
    Jul 3, 2015 at 2:25

1 Answer 1


Pumping the water above ground, or below ground doesn't matter. Moving the water far enough away (downhill) from the house is the key.

If your plumbing is underground, it has to go somewhere. The pipe can't just come to an end. You'll want to drain into a dry well, ditch, storm sewer, spillway, stream, etc.

If your pumping out onto the ground. You'll want to be as far away, and as far downhill as practicable.

In either case, you don't want to pump the water where it can just come back in or has nowhere to go.

A backup pump is always useful. Though if you're on municipal water, I'd recommend a water powered backup pump. Battery backup units are nice, but batteries tend to die at the most inopportune moments (Murphy's law).

  • I didn't build the house, so I don't know where the drain goes, nor did I suggest it drains into "an end". So the big question is whether or not I should tie into the one that exists (not knowing where it goes), go above ground (is that acceptable/normal..etc?), or "other". I hadn't heard of anyone discharging above ground, so I didn't know if that's a big "no-no", or...
    – Dave
    Jul 3, 2015 at 1:36
  • @Dave Most folks don't discharge above ground, because they don't want a pipe running across the ground. If you want to be sure where the pump discharges, install your own plumbing, and use it.
    – Tester101
    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:15
  • Right - I'm going to install my own plumbing - the question is WHERE, and are there any drawbacks, issues, problems, trouble...etc with discharging above ground (other than just not wanting it there for aesthetic or mowing purposes), like... letting -10 degree air in through the pipe in winter, or... I don't know - anything else that I haven't thought of.
    – Dave
    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:23
  • Yes, if you discharge above ground in a cold climate, water could freeze in the pipe and block it.
    – Tester101
    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:26
  • Like I said in my answer, you'll want to discharge to a dry well, ditch, storm sewer, spillway, stream, or some other place that will carry the water away.
    – Tester101
    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:28

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