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Thread: Washer Drain / Sump pump contraption...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Auburn, ME

    Washer Drain / Sump pump contraption...

    I have a fairly interesting setup for the washing machine drain. We have a pvc pipe going from the first floor washing machine down to a bucket in the basement. In the bucket there is a sump pump which pumps the water back up through a pvc pipe to the underside of the joists and then drains into the existing drain system for the house. From the bucket there is also a pvc pipe which goes up through the roof as a vent.

    I had a problem the other night when I went into the basement and there was water all over the floor and the sump pump had not worked for a few washer loads. The bucket, which can probably hold 5 gallons, was full. I emptied the bucket and cleaned off the sump pump and pluged it back it and it seemed to work just fine.

    Is this type of set up normal? Is there a reason why the piping goes down into a sump pump rather than directly into the drain piping? Would there be any reason why I coudln't cut the two pipes and connect them together, of course making sure that I keep positive drainage and slope to all the lines.

    Thanks for any help,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Monroe, MI
    Our first-floor washer drains right into a drain line that is connected to the sanitary drains for the rest of the house. My parents have the contraption you describe because their laundry is in the basement and the main line out to the septic tank is about 6' above the basement floor. We have the same situation with the main drain line and if we ever put a bathroom in the basement well have to go with a pumping system.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Northern New Jersey

    Two the top of my head

    Without seeing your actual conditions, it sounds like two options are available to you...

    1. Add a standpipe behind your washer that is hooked up to your sanitary system. The standpipe should be 2" dia with a trap. The most difficult part of this installation is making sure it is vented to either the vent piping in your home, or via a direct vent pipe run to the roof.

    Some towns let you get away with a 'wet vent' which means that you can tie into the existing line without a separate vent if your pipe run from the trap to the connection at your existing sanitary system is less than 4 feet.

    A second option that some towns allow is a poppeted vent valve that acts as a one way device to let air into the system and prevents water from coming out. It simply draws room air to vent.

    2. Install a real sewage ejector system in the basement which consist of a large sealed poly tank and powerful sewage ejector pump that can handle solids. However, this unit may also need to be vented. A benefit with this system is that you can add a utility sink, and possibly a toilet, in your basement.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Mid Michigan
    In my opinion, you should be able to tie into your standard drainage system and bypass the bucket in the basement unless something exists in your situation that is unique. Jeffery's description is the way it can be done.
    A friend of mine has a basement wash room, is on a well and septic system. He has no option other than a tank and pump setup. His washer pumps the waste water into an open top 55 gallon plastic drum and the water is pumped out on to his lawn for irrigation. This works in rural areas but probably is not acceptable in urban areas. If you want to keep your existing setup, you can use a larger container and pump to protect against system failure. You may want to add an alarm system that will detect any water overflow.
    David B

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Sammamish, WA
    I can't imaging that your setup meets code there.

    We had a similar situation on an old house we used to have, where the laundry was in the basement originally. It drained into a concrete sum which also accumulated drainage water that came in under the house. The pump was connected to the sewer line. Later someone moved the laundry to the garage, with a vent to the roof.

    Eventually sump connections to the sanitary sewer were banned and before selling we disconnected the sump and ran it to a french drain in the back yard.

    There may not be enough elevation drop between the washer drain and sewer line, to connect direct, or it may be that the washer was added later and this was easier than new correct plumbing.

    BTW when I was a kid my parents used a biodegradable detergent and ran the washer drain hose into a long 1" hose and used it to water the garden
    in the summer.

    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

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