What is this thing in my basement

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by n8greene, Apr 1, 2010.

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  1. Apr 1, 2010 #1

    n8greene

    n8greene

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    Hi Guys-

    I have something installed in a 6" deep well in my basement floor that I can't identify. I'm assuming it's an old pump of some sort, but there is no electrical service to it that I can see. I've attached photos. For size reference, the bricks around the edge are regular sized.

    I'd like to get it out of there to make room for a sump pump but I don't want to do anything stupid.

    What the heck is this thing?

    Nate Greeene

    IMG_2860.jpg

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    IMG_2862.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  2. Apr 1, 2010 #2

    Speedbump

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    Water well etc.

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    I don't know what it is, but it's colorful.
     
  3. Apr 1, 2010 #3

    Wuzzat?

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    First drill a small hole in the cap plate on the left in the middle photo to make sure there isn't something under pressure underneath that plate.
    Then I guess you should unscrew the four bolts holding the plate or grind off the four bolt heads, to see what exactly is capped.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  4. Apr 1, 2010 #4
    I'm in Texas so I have never seen one with my own two eyes but it appears to be the remnant of a sump pump.
     
  5. Apr 1, 2010 #5

    n8greene

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    Thanks guys--

    As soon as the water subsides a bit, I'll try drilling a small hole as you suggest. If nothing squirts out then I'll feel pretty safe trying to remove the cap. I'll post back here what I find.

    thanks.
    -Nate
     
  6. Apr 2, 2010 #6

    Redwood

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    Hard to say with the picture quality but it looks like you have clean outs for drain line and the larger dome covered thing might be an old backwater valve...
     
  7. Apr 3, 2010 #7

    Wuzzat?

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    Only four bolts clamping down a thin plate almost certainly does not hold back much pressure. But be cautious anyway.
     
  8. Apr 5, 2010 #8

    n8greene

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    Hi-

    Thanks again for helping me ID this thing in my basement.

    It's dry and I've cleaned it up a bit --I've attached better photos.

    The bolted on plate is definitely thicker than I thought.

    I have room to put in a sump pump next to this thing so that's what I'll do-- I'm just going to leave it alone.

    Best Regards,

    Nate Greene

    IMG_2878.jpg

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  9. Apr 5, 2010 #9

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    Now that I can see the flange better, if I didn't know any better it looks a lot like the flange on a vertical jet pump or two that I've seen over the years. Not sure why the (what looks like) two inch hubbed pipe is leaving the housing, but it sure looks like someone unbolted a vertical pump, and plugged the housing with a flange and cover.
     
  10. Apr 6, 2010 #10

    Bud Cline

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    Ever had "oil heat" in that house?:)
     
  11. Apr 6, 2010 #11

    n8greene

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    Bud- I do heat with oil.

    Speedbump- It makes sense that a pump was bolted there at some point. This "pit" you see in my basement floor is at the lowest point, all water drains to this area. I'm also not quite sure, though, what the two inch pipe has to do with it. If I'm feeling brave this weekend maybe I'll try to open it up. If I do, I'll let y'all know what I find.

    Kind Regards,
    Nate Greene
     
  12. Apr 6, 2010 #12

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    Even though it looks like there is one pipe missing, one could be buried.

    It really looks like there was once a pump there and all we see not is the pump housing with the discharge leaving the housing to the right and the suction buried in the cement. The question would be; how does the water get to the suction.
     
  13. Apr 6, 2010 #13

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    I don't know either, but if I had to guess, I'd say that iron thing is something called a "drum trap".

    A long long time ago in a land far away, before they had P-traps, they had "drum traps".

    [​IMG]

    The way a drum trap works is by having the incoming water enter the drum near the bottom, and the outgoing water exit the drum higher up. That way, the water level in the drum would always be at the bottom of the water outlet pipe. Tha would cover the inlet pipe with water, thereby preventing sewer gas from going up the inlet line and into your house via the drain lines. Solids would accumulate at the bottom of the drum trap, so there was a removable cap at the top to allow the drum to be cleaned by hand. Also, the above drawing shows a vent line connected to the drum trap, but it's not necessary to have one; most drum traps only had an inlet line below the outlet line without any vent pipe.

    Most likely that open pipe to one side of the drum trap is an old inlet line that's no longer in use. If you take the cover off that thing, and find that the open pipe connects to the bottom of that thing, and there's another outgoing line about half way up, then it's an old drum trap that's no longer in use.

    Also, drum traps were typically set in the floor so that they could be covered with a steel or plywood trap door (no pun intended) and be out of the way when you didn't need to access them.

    [​IMG]

    Drum trap installation for a bathtub. You can see that the water remaining behind in the drum trap would prevent sewer gasses from coming back up the tub drain.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2010
  14. Apr 6, 2010 #14

    Bud Cline

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    Tho it may have been tortured by water and moisture over the years I'm thinking it has something to do with an old old abandoned heating system that used oil. That device may be the topside of an in-ground heating oil reservoir. Remove the cap and see what's down there.:)
     
  15. Apr 7, 2010 #15

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Yeah, but there would have been no good reason to put a heating oil storage tank under a concrete basement floor, and lots of good reasons to locate it outside or on blocks in the basement (where you normally find them even today).

    Heating oil won't freeze, so it would make sense to leave the tank outdoors where it could be checked and filled by a heating oil distributor even when the homeowners weren't home. Also, burying the tank under a concrete basement floor would make replacing that tank a SOB if that ever became necessary, and that would more likely become necessary if the metal tank was buried in the wet ground rather than resting on blocks in the basement or outside. A leaking heating oil tank would contaminate the ground water until it was replaced, and that could go on undetected for decades if the tank was buried under a concrete floor. For all these reasons, it wouldn't have been any better an idea to bury an oil storage tank under the basement floor back then than it is now.

    I think this is going to turn out to be a drum trap. Those were common in older homes before p-traps became the preferred plumbing. It's only now that it looks like a drum trap. In the previous pictures, it didn't look like anything.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  16. Apr 7, 2010 #16

    Bud Cline

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    How many gas stations were there around the world in those years with buried storage tanks made of steel?

    Just a question that doesn't require a 900 word response.:) That would make it a "rhetorical question".

    The response doesn't really hold water, nor oil for that matter.:banana:
     
  17. Apr 8, 2010 #17

    Redwood

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  18. Apr 8, 2010 #18

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    Oh boy; am I going to have some fun with that one!
     
  19. Apr 8, 2010 #19

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Redwood:

    I am well aware that it's common to bury oil tanks in the ground OUTDOORS. You just have to point to any gas station on the continent to see that.

    Can you show me an instance where someone is making a heating oil tank to be buried in the ground INDOORS? Like in a house's basement floor, which is the case here?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  20. Apr 8, 2010 #20

    Redwood

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    I wouldn't know Nestor...

    I put my bet on it being a backwater valve especially with that looking like a drain line and cleanout connected to it with a no-hub...
     

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