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Sump Pump found non-functional during inspection and panel switch flipped to off  XML
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vadimfrey
Rolling Stone

Joined: 08/21/2017 09:55 PM EDT
Messages: 3
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Hi,

I need to get an advice asap. We have a contract on the house (we like the house too) and during the inspection this weekend our inspector raised significant concern regarding the sump pump. Here is the story:

During the inspection panel switch for sump pump was found in OFF position. The inspector explained this is the one switch that should never be in off position! We called the seller's agent and notified them that we are going to flip it to on position. Then after turning the switch on, the inspector tested the sump pump, which did not respond when directly plugged into electrical receptacle. The switch was bypassed by removing the switch (piggyback). The sump pump also does not have backup battery or backup secondary pump.
The basement area including the crock pit surroundings did not exhibit any signs of moisture or flooding. The air in basement was fresh and dry. The water observed through crock pit window appeared cloudy and not fresh. The crock pit was sealed thoroughly and the inspector did not attempt to unseal it to investigate further.

Besides the obvious finding (non-working sump pump), two other concerns that inspector raised: why was the switch on panel in OFF position? Did seller intentionally flipped it off to have excuse later that pump did not run because there was no power at the time of inspection? Since its unknown, how long the pump was not working for, and the basement does not show any signs of flooding, the inspector said that the corrugated pipes leading up to sump pump could
be clogged and structure could be getting flooded slowly on outside. His reasoning was the if the pipes were NOT clogged and pump being down, there should be signs of flooding at least around the crock pit or on the basement floor. Since there are no signs, but pump is down, the water might be creeping up to the basement floor level outside of the house structure (we had a lot of rains lately in end of July and in August).

We are having qualified plumber to stop by at that property and assess the situation. We are now considering pulling out of deal. Inspector has reasons to believe that sellers may not be honest about the real situation. We like the house but very afraid to face something much bigger than sump pump replacement. Can someone comment on this and share their thoughts? Can it be as serious as clogged pipes leading to the pump?? From what I know it would require MAJOR work to clean them up!

Thank you!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 08/21/2017 10:37 PM EDT

Mike Casey
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Joined: 06/28/2014 07:21 PM EDT
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vadimfrey

Could be the soils around the house and foundation drain well and there has not been a problem. I would suggest the sump pump be made operational just in case it is needed. A plumber should be able to tell you more once the system is evaluated.

Thank you.

Mike Casey
Director of Education
Home Inspection University
www.HomeInspectionUniversity.com
www.MichaelCasey.com
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Dom D'Agostino
Wizard

Joined: 12/08/2014 01:25 PM EST
Messages: 161
Location: Orlando, FL
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Right now, you are you're own worst enemy.
No one knows why the current owner shut the power "off" for the sump pump circuit, except, of course, for the current owner.

If the pump or device is defective it can be repaired or replaced. As an inspector, I am never sure why owners do any of the things they do.

Dom.
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vadimfrey
Rolling Stone

Joined: 08/21/2017 09:55 PM EDT
Messages: 3
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Thank you Mike. So technically you agree with our inspector's conclusion that drain pipes could clogged and basement just has not seen the flood yet due to good soil drainage? We will have it evaluated for sure by the plumber, but sounds like repairing the sump pump may not necessarily be the only fix that is needed.

Mike Casey wrote:vadimfrey

Could be the soils around the house and foundation drain well and there has not been a problem. I would suggest the sump pump be made operational just in case it is needed. A plumber should be able to tell you more once the system is evaluated.

Thank you.
Mike Casey
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vadimfrey

Could be the drains are not clogged, too, and the soils just drain well. A plumber might be able to get a scope into the drains from the sump crock to look. Anything is possible, it will take more investigation to determine.

Thanks.

Mike Casey
Director of Education
Home Inspection University
www.HomeInspectionUniversity.com
www.MichaelCasey.com
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vadimfrey
Rolling Stone

Joined: 08/21/2017 09:55 PM EDT
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Yes that is true. However, we just learned from the owners that they don't want us to bring our plumber to evaluate. Instead they are bringing their own plumber to replace the sump pump. While this may sound like a good news, for us, as potential buyers, we will not have any information on the condition of the drainage system or why/how long the pump was down for. This sounds like sellers trying to cover up with relatively small fix. We will probably pull out of the contract since we are not comfortable with the whole situation.

Mike Casey wrote:vadimfrey

Could be the drains are not clogged, too, and the soils just drain well. A plumber might be able to get a scope into the drains from the sump crock to look. Anything is possible, it will take more investigation to determine.

Thanks.
Mike Casey
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Joined: 06/28/2014 07:21 PM EDT
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That is odd. Generally in the RE contract you have the right to bring in your own specialists. Might check with your RE agent.

Mike Casey
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Home Inspection University
www.HomeInspectionUniversity.com
www.MichaelCasey.com
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Jeremiah Anderson
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Joined: 08/02/2014 01:45 PM EDT
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You are making a lot of assumptions here, start with the simplest solution to a problem and work from there. Overthinking the obvious will only complicate things for everyone involved in the transaction.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~Dr. Seuss

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