We bought our 20 year old house in Fishers, IN (northeast Indy suburb) this past summer. Three days after moving in, we had the last of the bad summer storms. One of the pumps in our Triple Safe sump system had failed, and we had about 2–3 feet of carpet along the entire east wall saturated. In addition to sump overflow, we also saw evidence of water entering between the wall and slab. We decided to replace 2/3 of the interior drain tile.

Once that was opened up, they discovered our footer cracked in multiple locations, separating from the wall. 9 low profile piers later, the job was completed and restoration in place.

Christmas weekend was rather wet. We were out of town and when we got home we realized that power had been lost at some point. No problem, though, because we have a standby generator (never had one before). Well, the standby generator didn't start because whoever touched it last put the lid on backwards, choking the engine of air. This time, the entire carpet was soaked.

We've now installed a new (better) generator and put both of the AC pumps in the basement on it (only one was on previously). Before we do any restoration, I want to be sure we've got things figured out.

Water is entering our sump pit every 12 seconds (from the time the primary pump shuts off to the time it starts again). 12 seconds!

I've unplugged the pumps to see what happens. The flow hits a point of stasis (or at least slows significantly) maybe 3–4 inches below the level of the slab.

Has anyone had experience with that much flow?

The sump discharges to a 4" PVC pipe that goes directly to a storm beehive about 15–20 feet away in my yard.

I am at a loss. I feel duped by the seller, duped by the home inspector, and we're left with 1/3 less of the house that we bought.

Any help or advice anyone can offer is appreciated.

  • Wow! I'm not at all in the biz nor do I actually do any of this, but water is rarely tough to figure out. I've seen that & more flow & duped was exactly what those people got. In those cases I told them to spend the few thousand dollars on $30 Harbor Freight Pumps to patch the system up for a while & get their Land Sculpted instead. Bam, done. Pumps never came on again & dehumidifiers got thrown away. Can you sculpt your land, get rid of gutter downspouts that feed underground lines & resurface pavements so they pitch away from the house?
    – Iggy
    Mar 1, 2016 at 3:22

3 Answers 3


I have experienced massive water flow in the sumps when they've been unplugged or just not running while water continues to build up around the foundation. If you have a lot of clean #57 stone around the footer, under the slab, and even up the exterior walls some, it will "store" water in the voids between the stone. This water can travel quickly to the sump when it is "stored" between the stone in this situation, which is precisely why the stone is used in the first place. Sand will do the same thing, but slower.

In torrential rains, you need to move a lot of water fast... and clean #57 or larger stone allows you to do that. Basically, the stone is a big pipe or conduit.... and water can travel both horizontally and vertically through it, so long as it's not infiltrated with sediment.

Is the "every 12 seconds" you speak of measured just after you plug in the sump? Depending on how much 4" pipe you have around your foundation, a gigantic amount of water can be stored in it. Eventually, though, the pump will "catch up" and all that stored water will be gone. Then I would expect that it slows back down to a more reasonable rate...even if it's still raining outside.

The time to be most worried is when the sump ISNT working. That's when you start to get differential settlement and buckling walls in freeze-prone areas.


Wow! I would certainly seriously consider legal action. At least consult with an attorney to see what you options are.

We have had problems with a little water before but nothing like that.

A few things to consider:

1) Make sure the house has eave troughs, they are clean, and the downspouts carry all runoff a considerable distance from the house. You may have to add underground drain pipe to carry it away.

2) Have the carpeting in the basement removed and leave it as stained or painted concrete. The basement should be made as impervious to water as possible.

3) Consider raising the grade around the house and make sure it tapers away from the house. You could also add heavy plastic under the backfill so water that makes it through the first layer of the grade will be directed away from the house. Similar to something like this.

The main thing is get the water away from the house and this will make it easier to keep the basement dry.

The last resort would be to completely excavate around the house and waterproof the walls with rubberized membrane NOT the spray on tar. Which still won't stop it entirely if your water table is too high. It will come up from below.

Good luck in you battle!

  • Thanks for the suggestions. We just had quite a bit of rain the last few days. The inside pump went from filling up in 20 seconds to 12 seconds. The Primary Pump has to run for almost 1:30 to empty the pit, because the water is coming in so fast, it has to fight to pump out enough for the float to turn it off. All of our downspouts carry away from the house—all except one, that I discovered goes down through the deck and then to nothing, just pouring the water along the foundation. Put an extension on that yesterday. Mar 16, 2016 at 0:26

Get more sump pumps. I knew someone who had four pumps in a sump, ( a few miles from the Fox river in IL ) . One pump ran all the time , the second came on if it had rained within a week, the third came on if it was raining, the fourth was for emergency. His finished basement survived for the years I lived nearby.

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