Tackling A Flooded Cellar

Rainwater is a force to be reckoned with in New England.

Featured above: a 1/4 h.p. submersible pump in a weighted crate tackles the water in my cellar.

I wasn’t entirely shocked to find water in my cellar. The place is like an abandoned mine: dark, low-clearance, and hardly uniform or level. The foundation is lined with field stones and bricks. Few areas were sealed against the torrential downpours that happen anytime in Spring. April showers bring May flowers, but also a boatload of water that isn’t easily absorbed by the ground.

Because of this uneven cellar, flooding was deeper in some areas and shallow in other places. I had to evacuate as much water from the deeper parts before my family learned to wear scuba gear. To get started, I needed a submersible pump. There are many models to choose from, but I searched specifically for a portable unit to move around different parts of the flooded cellar. The unit featured here is a 1/4-horsepower submersible pump capable of evacuating 2400-2500 gallons per hour. It also came with a convenient adapter for a garden hose that I could connect to the pump and run outside.

The pump can consume tiny pieces of debris, but I wanted to protect the mechanism for many days of continuous operation. Kudos to my dad for his MacGyver-esque crate and screen that were used for this very purpose. Three of my cellar steps were submerged. Each step was covered by approximately nine inches of water. The pump cleared them in a few days, then was moved to the dirt cellar floor. Bricks under the crate separate the pump intake from a gooey subsurface of mud. This is quite a process, but one where you put your faith in good machinery. If you intend to use a submersible pump for the first time, I suggest connecting the unit with a large-diameter hose for faster evacuation and check the pump’s progress every hour.

The pump is now one of the most valuable items in the household and more than ready for succeeding years of April showers.


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