sump pump


There is something strange about moving to a new area. Everything is different, even the bugs in this area are drastically different that what I grew up with. It can be unsettling even though it is mostly harmless (except termites, they are not harmless).

Other areas of difference order on the side of natural catastrophes. In the east bay, Antioch specifically, the weather did not seem to destroy anything. Pipes froze one cold winter, and the hot summers were tolerated because we all had AC

The Santa Cruz mountains are different. Sure, no one here has Air Conditioning, because the seem to live with the lie that it does not get hot enough (Boulder Creek reaches 100F in the summer, it is really really hot). Heavy rains in my area are terrifying, and it was even more terrifying to see fast moving water rush under our house.

As it turns out, water rushing under my house is not a new phenomenon. The bottom section of my house is completely paved, and there is a basin to collect water so it can be pumped out.

Last year, I tested the pump by crawling down there and manually triggering the pump on. Everything seemed all on the up and up.

Until our first real heavy rain.

We didn’t get much rain in California this year, but we had a heavy rain storm in December where a waterfall suddenly appeared. Michele was concerned about the crawlspace under our house, and sure enough, it was completely flooded when we looked.

I went under the house to check things out…

Everything was dry down below, and I had these interesting fragile crystal structures


Here are signs of where water seeps in from the front section of the house.


This is the basin that collects water, and inside is the pump that should pump it out


Directly above is a fan with a humidity sensor. I tried to find a replacement online but no luck. In any event, I noticed that if I flip the breaker for this circuit, the fan kicks on automatically


I manually kicked the pump on, and it worked. Later I realized that the float was broken, it was disconnected at the bottom so it would never kick on.


I pulled the pump out, and tested it in a 5 gallon bucket. Even after reattaching the float, the plastic switch mechanism was so gummed up that it would not kick on without a little help. I attempted to disassemble the switch and clean it out, however, the soft plastic would just deform under the pressure of a wrench. I decided it was easier to replace the pump.

I ordered a Zoeller M53 for amazon, however, the old pump had a hose attachment using a 1/2” converter, and the Zoeller had a 3/4” fitting. I had to go to the local hardware store and the best simile I could find was to use another converter from 1/2 to 3/4 and then use the original fitting for the garden hose that was in place.

So, here it is installed:


Of coures, when you are dealing with older equipment, something is bound to break. As I was trying to screw the hose back on, it broke! The metal fitting was all rusted and it just sheared off.

After one last trip to the hardware store, I was able to get a new fitting for the hose, and attach it to the pump.


I also had to drag a hose down there with me to test the pump. I filled it up 5 times and let the pump automatically kick on


While we have yet to have another good heavy rainstorm in our area, I like to think I am preparing for the worst when it does hit us (soon hopefully!)