Over the past few days the country has been under some stormy weather, with flooding in parts. Nottinghamshire being an area that suffered. This is bad news for us for two reasons: 1. We have a cellar. 2. There a brook at the bottom of the garden. This brook has merely been a trickle since we moved in. Yesterday it became a lot wider and a lot faster.
I'd not thought about the connection between the two until about midnight last night. We were sat watching TV when a terrible screaming noise starting coming from below us. We opened the cellar door (me being just a little frightened) and found two things: a flooded cellar and a broken pump. Having turned off the pump we went to bed, worrying about weather we'd wake to find even more water in there.
Today I've spent the best part of the day ankle-deep in cold water replacing the pump. It's a bit of a Heath Robinson affair but it seems to do the job.
It's in a corner of the cellar where there's a sump in the floor. The idea is that it never get deep enough to cover the floor. The sump fills and sets off the pump. As you can though, the water has gone over the top.
As the water rises it raises the float (3) which triggers the float switch (2). The pump (5) then sucks water through the filter (4) which is down at the bottom of the sump.
Last night I turned the whole thing off at the switch (1). Today I've replaced the pump with the new one you can see (5). The pump itself is simply a circulator pump, intended for domestic hot water systems, and probably completely unsuitable for this job. It's worked for years though and emptied the floor area of about 30 ft2 in 30 mins once we got it going.
The problem is that the whole thing fails if you get air in the system. When installing the pump you have to carefully "prime" it with water before starting it up. The cause of the whole problem was probably that I'd been playing with it in the past and got air in. Since then it's had no need to trigger. Last night it did. The pump kicked in and pump nothing but air as the floor level continued to rise. Luckily we were in when it got that hot that it began to scream in pain.
The cellar is about 6 foot deep. The garden is probably five of these feet. The brook is about 4 foot below garden level. Hence, the water-table is normally at about cellar floor level. Whenever it rises (as it did recently), the pump has some work to do.
Moral of story - don't by houses with a cellar and a brook in the garden. Who knows what's going to happen in the winter...