What kind of pump could I use to drain water from this bucket away?
February 18, 2016 1:08 AM   Subscribe

I need to pump water that I'm collecting in a bucket outside my house, away from the house. Here's a picture of the bucket http://imgur.com/kbwSus3. I could probably power it through an electrical cord out of the window (though I have no grounded outlets or GFCI). Any ideas? More details inside...

I'm a new homeowner. When it rains water comes out of the downspout and simply pools in the cement area because it is downslope towards the house. Eventually it the water finds its way into the basement and then I have a small river.

Eventually I plan to relocate the downspout - maybe to the driveway (which is sloped away from the house). But in the short term, I'm struggling to figure out what to do with the water coming out of the downspout.

I figured I would just collect it in this bucket for now, and then periodically dump it- but that's not sustainable. Are there any pumps for a situation like this?
posted by Mushroom12345 to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
In the short term, you could get a long length of 4" downspout drain hose and run it far enough away. If necessary you may have to shorten the downspout to provide sufficient elevation.

Pumping out a bucket is way more complicated than it needs to be.
posted by a halcyon day at 1:16 AM on February 18, 2016 [10 favorites]

Ultimately you're going to need to fix that slope. You can't have water running back towards your house. It's not just what's coming out of the spout - any heavy rain is going to pool around your house and find its way in.

In theory you could tap into the downspout (kits are available) and collect the water in a water butt or two. A hose running from the top of the water butt to a lower point some distance away will allow any excess to drain off. Plus you have free water for growing stuff. Maybe not a good idea if you're in serious mosquito territory though. This doesn't solve the problem for other surface water either- just the rain falling on the roof.

A downspout opening onto bare/concreted ground isn't ideal. It should really be draining away to a proper drain, or at least emptying into a proper soakaway (a deep hole filled with gravel to help the water drain away - possibly not ideal next to a basement though). Just a thought - we had a similar issue where it turned out that the previous owner had broken the drain that the downspout fed into; instead of fixing it they just turfed it over and forgot about it, leaving the spout emptying onto the lawn. A bit of exploratory digging and some new pipe and it's right as rain now, and no longer causing damp walls.

In short (sorry), the pump idea is probably a non-starter.
posted by pipeski at 3:13 AM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

A sump pump with a discharge hose is what you need. It'll come on automatically as your bucket fills up and then shut off when the water level is low again. You will need a deeper bucket. One of those tall rubber maid containers would work and you could cut a hole in the top to run your pipes through. Sump pumps don't need GFCI (shouldn't be put on one really).

However that is going to be wildly more expensive than just extending your down spout. If it was me I would just run a length of down spout horizontally (well with a 3% slope) beneath your window over to the garage apron and dump it out there as long as the drive doesn't slope back to the flower bed. The downspout can be extended along the drive a bit if necessary.
posted by Mitheral at 3:16 AM on February 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Why not just get a roll up rain spout. You can get them from amazon, Lowes, home depot, hardware store etc. Like $10-15 and designed for exactly your problem.
posted by chasles at 4:07 AM on February 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Extending or rerouting your downspout is going to be cheaper than the other options (though be careful that you don't accidentally create a new problem, like an ice-covered driveway in the winter). Among other issues your bucket is going to be a perfect mosquito breeding location -- fix the drainage instead.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:03 AM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think this may be an XY problem. Whatever you get to pump out the water in your bucket is going to have the same set of issues (where to empty it, proximity to the pathway and driveway) as just relocating the drain spout temporarily when it rains with a roll up drain spout or something similar. Ultimately this will be a (minor) engineering issue, probably involving getting the drainspout to angle under the walkway or tap it higher and send the water somewhere else. Alternately you could create a rain barrel solution right there (did the downspout come that way? that is plenty weird) and just collect when it rains and empty when it's stopped raining or use the water for your lawn or something else.
posted by jessamyn at 7:05 AM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sorry to say, I have some experience in this area. I'm not sure of the volume of water you need to remove, or how much you are willing to invest, or whether you want a permanent installation or are content to deploy the pump when it rains. At the moment, I am in the "deploy on need" camp.

The first step is a pump something like this. It removes water down to 1/8" from the ground. You could probably just put it on a sidewalk, or plant a piece of slate in the key spot, and put it on that. This particular model turns on when you plug it in. I bought one that is supposed to be somewhat automatic in that it turns on every 5 minutes to test if there is water, and turn off if there isn't. Unfortunately, the switch mechanism did not work well, and it sometimes turned off even if submerged. I've moved up to a bigger pump with a different type of switch that works OK, but it requires about 6" water to turn on (and then pumps until the water is less than an inch). That works for me, but maybe not for you.

The complication with a permanent installation is that it has to cope with freezing temperatures. This means it has to be mounted below ground and in a bigger hole in the ground. Or maybe in a heated enclosure, or maybe you drain the water into a sump in your basement in an engineered way and pump it from there. Or maybe, depending on the configuration of your property, you can have a French drain installed and fix the problem properly.

But a $100 pump from the hardware store and a length of garden hose should keep you dry for the time being.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:49 AM on February 18, 2016

The best and cheapest way is to use the power of gravity instead of a pump. There are several options.

1. You could cut the downspout higher and have it pour into an elevated rain barrel. Store the water in it until it gets full and then lay out a long hose to drain it away from the house. Gravity will do the work.

2. If there is a natural slope around the house a little further away, put in a plastic drain tile underneath the walk at a minimum slope until it meets the actual ground level and can spill out to the street or a swale. If most of the yard is under paved surfaces this probably will not work but again gravity will do the work.

3. If your ground soil drains well and you have a space 20 or more feet from the house, you could dig a cistern to drain the water towards. Again you need to have an underground plastic drain tile to take the water there.

Pumps in general are the less desirable option unless you can find a very quiet one.
posted by JJ86 at 11:09 AM on February 18, 2016

There is a small pump that attaches to a corded or cordless drill that can move a lot of water through a hose. They cost around $5. This is an example of one:
posted by Metzbower at 6:46 AM on February 19, 2016

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