March 31st, 2010


Ain't That Sumpin'

A pump has been obtained. Apparently the Depot was open all night selling freshly received pumps and other accoutrements. $242 later I have a sump pump, 2 x 25' of 1¼ tubing, and a shiny, new 9 gallon shop-vac.

The only hitch in setting up the pump was that they were out of the fittings needed to couple two 25' hoses together. (My side door turns out to be 26' from the bottom of the staircase.) They did have 2' long lengths of PVC pipe that I was able to clamp in between, so that's working, although is a little leaky. I've got the leak aimed out the door, so that's okay, too. Of course the side door is wide open, but it's not particularly cold out.

The big problem is that I have no sump, i.e., a hole in the basement floor into which the pump would fit to let the water cascade down atop it. The pump's intake is on the top, you see, so once the level gets down to an inch or so, it'll be useless. I suppose I could buy a million marbles and dump them on the floor to raise the water level, but that seems counter productive. And expensive.

So I bought a new shop-vac, which I've been looking for an excuse to do for a long time. There's nothing wrong with my old one. It was free and works fine, but it's louder than a frelling jet engine on afterburner. What I'll do after the present crisis is over is clean out the old one and save it for occasions like this, and use the new one in the shop. The other thing I'm going to have to do is somehow chop a sump out of the concrete floor. That should be good for a few laughs.

Hmmm, sounds like the pump is running out of water. Time to unpack the new vac.

Upon Emerging from the Basement...

There's still a pretty good sized puddle downstairs, but it's a puddle, which means it has edges, which means some of the floor is no longer underwater. The pump worked as advertised, making short work of the top couple of inches of water. Unfortunately, that left another inch or so, which is where the new shop-vac came in. It's actually a 12 gallon model, not the 9 gallon one I was looking at and thought I bought. I think this was $5 more.

Works like a charm. It took about thirty seconds to fill it. Then it had to be hauled up the stairs and outside to dump it. Not fun. There had to be a better way. On my way back downstairs it hit me. The water on the floor may not be deep enough for the pump to work, but the water in the vac certainly is. Tried out my theory by filling the vac, taking off the top, plopping the pump into it, and firing it up. Fifteen seconds later about ten gallons of water was running out of the pump hose and down my driveway. Eureka!

Of course there was still a lot of water down there, so the process had to be repeated A LOT. I was able to do about three iterations of the process every five minutes, and it still took hours to get to where I am now. I didn't work straight through, though. It was just too tiring, so I did a half hour on and a half hour off to recharge. Still a lot better than carrying all that water up the stairs. And using the pump was certainly a lot faster than carrying it would've been, so go me.

Once of the first areas to emerge was the floor by the furnace and the water heater. I never lost the furnace, but the water heaters pilot had to be relit, something I'd never had to do before. It also involved moving a bunch of heavy objects so I could get at the little door at the bottom of the thing. But I got it lit the second time (the first time I dropped the match onto the still damp floor). The best thing about it was how well the tank maintained the temperature of the water. When I took my shower this morning, it was several minutes before I realized that the water wasn't quite as hot as it usually is, which was my only clue about it. Even late this afternoon I was till getting nicely warm water from the tap.

Anyway, now I am beat. I had a nice hot shower and some dinner, and now it is time seek my inner turnip. There's still more to do, but it can wait until I don't ache quite so much. The fun task for first thing tomorrow will be hauling the 6 x 9 indoor/outdoor carpet from the laundry area outside so I can hang it up to dry.

My attention has been down in my basement, and I rarely watch the local news anyway, but as I sat down this evening I caught some of the local news as I was flipping channels. I had no idea that a pretty good chunk of I-95 is still underwater, as is the Warwick Mall, not to mention the Warwick sewage treatment plant. The Pawtuxet River hit an all time record high yesterday. Unbelievable.

A little closer to home, when I left work Tuesday I noticed that the police had blocked one lane of Rt. 403, the very new highway into Quonset that I now use for my commute. There were a lot of quality issues with the project, and this stretch of the road runs up a long, constructed grade, so I figured that perhaps they noticed some washout, and that there were going to need to be some repairs. Well, sort of. It turns out that the road is fine, but that stretch runs alongside Amtrak's main line, and a whole bunch of mud slid off the the side of the grade and down onto the tracks, burying one of the two lines completely. They're working on it.