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Sump pump running non-stop -- chemical test of water?

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ilyaz

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I have noticed that my sump pump has been dumping water pretty much nonstop for the last few weeks. Dumps water every 5-10 minutes. It's been raining quite a bit this winter (I live near DC) but still I am concerned that I have some sort of leak in the house. The water in the sump pump well does not smell so it's not sewage. I turned off the main valve in the house between approximately 10pm until 4pm the following day and during this time the pump kept working which I guess is good news. Still, I am worried (maybe it's also the COVID quarantine!). Anyhoo, someone suggested that I test water in the well to see if it's tap our not. Question: can I buy a kit of some sort at Home Depot, a drug store etc that i could use to do this? I suspect tap water would have a lot more chlorine in it, but I am not sure. TIA!
 

oldognewtrick

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Make sure all the water is turned off and look at your meter and see if the dials are moving.
 

ilyaz

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Make sure all the water is turned off and look at your meter and see if the dials are moving.
I might do that too. I looked at the outside meter this morning (by the way, the meter well has water in it, so the meter is actually submerged). Compared its reading with two previous readings that my water company gave me. The new number is fine: my usual water bill is for about 9000 gallons every 3 months. Previous reading was in late February and since then the meter added only 2000 gallons. So I'll be surprised if what you suggest will turn anything up. Still, was planning to do it anyway. But even if it doesn't I still want to figure out where the water in the sump pump well is coming from. Maybe it's neighbor's or something like that. Cuz if it's not just rain water I want to fix the issue, since I am concerned about my pump failing.
 

billshack

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Sump pumps can run a lot in the spring time. Is it a new sump pump? also where is the discharge, I have seen a pump with the discharge just outside the house so that there is an end cycle of pump out the water, water come back in , pumps out water, over and over.
 

JoeD

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Check the sump discharge line. If it has broken near the house the pump will be cycling the same water over and over.
 

ilyaz

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Full story, as of this morning:

I noticed that for the last month or so my sump pump has been running nonstop dumping water every 5 minutes or so. Yes, it's been raining this winter but not that much plus neighbors' pumps have been mostly quiet. So, naturally, I first suspected a leak in the house. Water didn't smell funny so not sewage. Shut off the main house water valve for about 16 hours and saw that the pump was still running. Phew, no leak. Yeah, even if the water is not coming from there, my pump might still fail from overuse, and I'll get another basement flood. So, I decided to check for leaks between the house and the street meter. Valve off overnight, looked at meter readings before and after: same number. Phew #2. But... The water meter well was full of water and there was some sort of hissing sound coming from the well. So called my water company who came in less than 1 hour and discovered that the meter itself went bust, so they replaced it. Hopefully this will be the end of it, and there won't be Episode 2 where the leak that got killed in Episode 1 turns out not to be dead after all...

Interestingly, we're doing it for the first time since we bought the house 20 years ago. Funny thing is, I asked the water company guy about lifetime of the new one. He said "a few years". I guess they don't make them the way they used to...
 

Billbill84

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Check the sump discharge line. If it has broken near the house the pump will be cycling the same water over and over.
This is true and if that's a case and you get a heavy enough downpour it can and will overwhelm the volume of incoming water to the crock and seep in through the foundation wall likely at the cove joint area by the crock. Had this happen to me 3 or 4 months ago. I went outside and both the sump discharge and a gutter downspout came off and water pooled enough to run back, even flood a window well right there too!
 

ilyaz

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Check the sump discharge line. If it has broken near the house the pump will be cycling the same water over and over.
I was afraid of that. Definitely something to check if anything similar happens in future.
 
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