Bahamas for Your Home (Helical Tie-Back System)

Have you ever had that moment in life when you felt assaulted on all sides? The pressures of your daily grind, whether it is from the workplace or the home, bear down upon you relentlessly. That’s when you need to take a little break to give yourself some relief before you crack. But what about your home? Can your home take a vacation from the pressures of the soil surrounding it? And what happens when the pressures have already caused your foundation walls to crack?

Blog Week 8The Helical Tie-Back system is a way to correct a foundation wall which has already significantly shifted inward. A hole is drilled at a slight downward angle into the adjoining soil. The distance between tiebacks is determined by the engineer (typically around 4 feet). Once the hole is drilled, a steel rod is drilled into the subsurface soil a sufficient distance from the foundation walls, again determined by the engineer (typically around 10 to 12 feet. At the sufficient distance, an anchor is placed within the soil so that the rod could tie into it.

Once the anchor and rod have been secured, a plate is installed on the inside surface of the foundation wall. Then a nut is placed on the rod, which when tightened, will draw the foundation wall outward. Each tie-back can be tightened gradually over time to correct any shift the foundation wall may have experienced.

This is one of the only ways to correct significant shifts in the foundation wall. However, it cannot correct bowing that is too severe or has already caused the foundation walls to shear at the top of bottom. At that point, wall replacement may be the only option. Also, because the tie-backs need to be tightened over time to correct the shift, the basement may not have drywall or paneling installed which may cover over the plates and nuts. This could limit plans to finish the basement at a later point. However, it may still be the better option for significantly bowed foundation walls than an actual wall replacement.

As always, keep your basement dry and enjoyable.

Michael Moon

Comfort Basement

Science Fact (Carbon Fiber Strips)

It used to be only the prerogative of science fiction to create a material which is stronger yet lighter than steel; a material which can be both rigid and flexible according to the need. Definitely sounds like some figment of an author’s overactive imagination. However, such a material really exists, and you may have heard of it. It’s called, carbon fiber.

Needless to say, the science behind carbon fiber is extraordinarily complex. I attempted to learn a little about it, but found that the details were far outside my realm of understanding. The exact process of making carbon fiber is a closely guarded secret as well. That being the case, I’ll try my best to present a cursory exploration of carbon fiber.

Blog Week 7Carbon fiber is basically long molecules of mostly carbon atoms constructed into filaments much thinner than a hair. This is made by taking long strands of organic polymer material and heating them at extreme temperatures. The absence of oxygen prevents the material from burning. Instead, non-carbon atoms are shaken off until the material is composed of mostly carbon atoms. Thousands of these in turn are twisted together into a yarn, which are woven in crossing patterns to form a sheet of carbon fiber fabric. This fiber is extremely difficult to break and is flexible. It may be shaped and combined with epoxy to make a composite which is used in race cars, airplanes and space crafts. This combination creates a material which is 10 times stronger than steal but 5 times lighter.

For our application, the carbon fiber is made into long strips, usually the full height of the foundation wall (about 8 feet) and between 8 and 12 inches wide. Earlier methods of installations merely bonded the carbon fiber with epoxy resin to the walls, which, while making the wall as a whole much stronger than it was originally and preventing any further movement in the middle of the wall, could not stop the entirety of the wall moving inwards as a unit because of lateral pressure. This caused the foundation wall as a whole to break at the cove or the sill plate area. New installation methods now secure the carbon fiber straps to the sill plate and frame using steal bolts and to the foundation footing. This is done by drilling a hole diagonally into the footing and inserting the extra length of carbon fiber into the hole. It is then sealed with epoxy to ensure that the foundation wall will never move inward again.

This method on its own cannot correct a wall that has already shifted inward; it can only prevent further movement. If the wall has shifted significantly enough to cause concern, the wall must first be corrected. Then the carbon fiber strips can be bonded with epoxy to the walls and footing to prevent further movement.

One of the greatest advantages to the use of carbon fiber strips is that it is absolutely not invasive. The strips are about the thickness of a dime. Usually, during installation, the surface of the foundation wall must be ground down to remove any paint and provide a surface the epoxy can bond to anyway, so, once painted over, the carbon fiber strips are unnoticeable. Best of all, there is absolutely no loss of space within the basement for storage or if the homeowner decides to finish the basement.

Overall, thanks to innovations in the manufacturing process which has made carbon fiber commercially available, carbon fiber strips are one of the best solutions for a wall that is starting to show structural stress. As I stated before, if you are concerned that your basement may have structural issues, it is best to get a professional assessment to determine your foundation’s structural integrity. That is all for this week. As always, keep your basement dry and enjoyable.

Michael Moon

Comfort Basement

The Sand and the Rock (Foundation Types in Houses)

A long time ago, a wise carpenter once said, “The foolish man builds his house on the sand.” I recall the words through a silly song sung when I was but a child:
     “Don’t build your house on the sandy land; don’t build it too near the shore;
     “Well it might look kind of nice, but you’ll have to build it twice;
     “Oh you’ll have to build your house once more.
     “You better build your house upon a rock; Make a good foundation on a solid spot;
     “Oh the storms may come and go, but the peace of God you will know.”
Though the song was just a children’s jingle that I thoroughly enjoyed singing when I was young, it was memorable enough for me to recall it decades later. And though the words were silly to me at the time, they held wisdom I can appreciate now. For though the master carpenter used the image as an illustration for deeper meaning, there is truth in the base elements of the allegory. That ancient wisdom is still practiced in today’s homebuilding techniques.

For the last several weeks we have been talking about how cracks develop in the basement foundation walls. Before we launch into a discussion of the more serious structural problems that can occur, we will explore the reasons why foundations are built the way they are.

There are basically three types of foundations for homes: 1) slab on grade; 2) crawlspaces; and 3) basements. Several factors determine which foundation a house may have, including cost, the frost line of the ground, moisture, and security of the ground at different depths.

First, the slab on grade is usually the most cost effective method of building house foundations. As it sounds, the slab on grade is concrete which is poured at ground level. This method is usually only available for locations with warmer climates, as the ground must not freeze regularly. Freezing causes the water in the ground to expand, which in turn causes the ground soil to shift. This can damage the foundation over time, which may lead to stress cracks in the home as well. Also, the surface soil must be compact enough that it will not shift over time under the full weight of the house and its expected occupants. Otherwise, again, the foundation will shift with detrimental consequences. As long as an engineer determines that the ground and temperature meets these standards, slab on grade may be the most money-saving method for home builders.

This style of foundation would obviously exclude the types of problems we have been discussing and will go into further later. However, it is not without some serious drawbacks. For one, all of the house piping and oftentimes the wiring as well must be laid down before the concrete is poured. Therefore, they are otherwise inaccessible after the house has been built. This is fine if they never wear down. However, if a pipe bursts for some reason, the homeowner may go many months without even realizing it, losing money needlessly as water is leaked out. Even after the problem has been discovered, the homeowner must then break into the concrete to repair the broken pipes. This means any flooring in the area must be removed and the home may be uninhabitable during the repair process. So while in the short run, slab on grade foundations may be cheaper to build, in the long haul they may be more expensive to maintain.

Second, if the engineer determines that the soil within a few feet of the surface is sufficiently load-bearing to handle the weight of the house, the house may be built on a crawlspace foundation. One could think of the crawlspace foundation as a compromise between the cost effectiveness of the slab on grade and the easy maintenance of the full basement. Again, the frost line must be considered. It must be sufficiently close enough to the surface that the builders could place the footers of the foundation below the frost line, to ensure the foundation does not shift during freezing climates. The foundation walls are built a couple feet above the grade, upon which the sill plate and floor joists are laid to build the actual house. An entryway into the resulting space is made just big enough for a person to crawl into, thus the name, “crawlspace.”

The crawlspace can have the advantage of allowing the house builders to lay the pipes and wires underneath the first floor easily accessible by going into the crawlspace. This means that if any problems occur in the future with the wiring or piping, they can much more easily be remedied than if the house was built on a slab foundation. Additional piping or wiring can also be easily added, which would not be possible with a slab foundation.

The crawlspace foundation, however, has many drawbacks as well. Oftentimes, the crawlspace is left open, which could lead to moisture and pest problems, which may invade the house from underneath. The crawlspace can be sealed and climate controlled. Though this adds additional costs, it may be preferable in the long run as it will reduce moisture, pest, and temperature infiltration from below.

Third, as in most locations in the Northeastern seaboard of the United States, the frost line may be deep enough and the surface soil too loose for the house to be built with a shallow foundation. This leads to the building of a basement foundation. While the crawlspace may be 4 feet or less in height, the basement is usually a full 7 to 8 feet, with the final few feet extending above the grade. After the footers are placed below the frost line, the foundation walls built up (usually cinder block or poured concrete for more modern houses) and a concrete slab is poured on the floor of the basement. The house may then be built upon the joists which are laid on top of the foundation walls.

One of the biggest advantages to the basement is the additional storage or living space (if the homeowners decide to finish the basement at a later time) which extends the entire area of the house. Also, all of the house’s utilities may be put in the basement, including the heater, HVAC, water heater/conditioner, and laundry appliances, which frees up additional space in the house.

Besides being the most expensive of the three types of foundations, the basement may also face problems with moisture. The water level of the surrounding ground may be high enough that the basement is under constant water pressure. A water management and pressure relief system can remedy this problem, though it does incur additional costs. The basement can be more easily flooded when it does not have a water management system under heavy weather conditions. Finally, when these problems are not addressed soon enough, the foundation walls may deteriorate and cause serious damage to the house above (which we will look at in the following weeks).

These three are the basic types of house foundations. This blog deals primarily with the basement and secondarily with the crawlspace foundation types. Very rarely do we address the slab on grade foundation. Whatever your house’s foundation may be, I hope it will remain secure and solid throughout its occupancy! As always, keep your basement dry and enjoyable.

Michael Moon

Comfort Basement

Out of Sight, Out of Mind (Injection Methods for Crack Repair)

I remember growing up watching Saturday morning cartoons. I would wake up early, prepare for myself a bowl of cereal (usually Frosted Flakes) and sit down in front of the TV in expectation of 3 hours of gloriously mind-numbing entertainment. In hindsight, I recognize that many of these cartoons were in fact product placement engines to drive the sales of toys, but in my child’s eyes, they were simply introductions to imaginative worlds full of heroes and villains; conflicts which would be resolved neatly within the 30 min time span. I remember laughing as I watched a child stuff all the various toys and clothes which were strewn about his room into the closet as a solution to his mother’s command to “clean his room.” His ingenious plan backfired later when his mother opened the closet door to be consumed by the avalanche of clutter.

Nostalgic reminiscing aside, this little example illustrates the difference between short term and long term solutions; between what I mentioned last week as step 1 and step 3 in problem solving. Please keep this in mind as we examine this week’s topic: injection methods for crack repair.

There are two injection methods I would recommend for crack repair: epoxy and polyurethane. While the injection method for both is the same, each is useful for different circumstances and each is limited in what it can correct. We will first examine the benefits of the epoxy injection before looking at its limitations.

Epoxy is an adhesive resin much stronger than concrete. Think of epoxy as a sort of superglue for foundations. Once it hardens, it will essentially weld the two sides of the crack together, making the foundation stronger than the original concrete. This being the case, the epoxy can restore the structural integrity of the foundation. This can prevent the crack from spreading further due to the settling of the house supported above. After the seal dries, it may be painted over to make the distasteful crack virtually disappear.

Be that as it may, the epoxy is rigid when it solidifies, meaning that if the crack is caused by the swelling and contraction of the soil surrounding the house, the epoxy will not allow for any movement. This could be either a good or bad thing, depending on the circumstances. Also, because the epoxy is injected in liquid form and solidifies while keeping the same volume, it may not necessarily reach every nook and cranny of the crack, leaving pockets into which water may slip. If the crack has existing water still in it, then the epoxy will not seal to those surfaces. Therefore, the epoxy injection cannot be used on an actively wet crack. Finally, epoxy takes much longer than polyurethane to set.

Polyurethane is currently used to manufacture a variety of different object. Because this resin expands into foam when activated, its volume and density can be controlled for various uses. In our case, the polyurethane liquid which is injected into the crack will become foam seeking out all the crevices into which it can fit. The polyurethane injection also has no difficulty with wet or weeping cracks, since the polyurethane will react with the water. Once the foam settles, it will remain flexible. This means that the polyurethane may be preferable in cases where there is a lot of movement due to seasonal soil shifting. It is also effecting in keeping the water out of the crack.

It may be difficult to inject polyurethane into very small or tight cracks, though, because it quickly expands as it activates. Because polyurethane is flexible, it is not a viable option for restoring structural strength. It may also be harder to clean up after it has settled, since it will bubble out of an improperly sealed surface crack.

Crack repairs are Band-Aids. While both of these methods will restore the continuity of the foundation, it will not remedy the cause of the crack in the first place. If you home was built correctly, it was designed to withstand the normal pressures applied to it. Restoring the integrity of the original foundation only delays the problem. If the pressure, whether vertical from uneven ground settling beneath the foundation footing or slab or horizontal from hydrostatic or lateral soil pressure, which created the cracks is not relieved, more cracks will appear. Remember that crack repair is only step 1 in problem solving. A professional should be consulted to find out what caused the cracks and offer options to correct the cause. Used in combination of steps 2 and 3 of problem solving, crack repair can help restore your home.

As always, keep your basement dry and enjoyable.

Michael Moon

Comfort Basement

House, M.D., For Your House (Types of Foundation Cracks)

Have you ever watched an episode of the once popular TV show, House, M.D.? The show basically revolves around a group of top-notched doctors who are given bizarre medical cases that they must solve, like a mystery whodunnit involving medicine. They examine all of the symptoms that the patient is experiencing and go through the possible causes, before arriving at a solution by the end of the show. This gives us a good look at the theory of problem solving in general.

A solution is needed whenever there is a problem. In almost all cases, problem solving involves three steps. First, the immediate symptoms must be addressed and controlled. Negative effects of the problem have to be controlled so that the patient survives long enough to treat the root cause. Second, the problem/cause must be properly diagnosed. Evaluating the symptoms, the technician must hypothesize the most probable cause. Third, a remedy to the cause and possible preventative measures must be determined. Unless the cause is addressed, the symptoms will continue to reappear again and again. This is the case for all sorts of problems we may face in the course of our lives, whether it is in our health, our computers, or our homes.

Last week we talked about the cause of cracks in your basement and the detrimental effects winter conditions could have on them. This week we will look at the different kinds of cracks and the severity of each. As was mentioned last week, foundation cracks are caused by either the vertical pressure from the weight of the house above or the lateral hydrostatic pressure of the soil surrounding the foundation. Generally speaking, if the house and foundation were built correctly, the foundation should be able to withstand all the vertical pressure applied by the house and its occupants above. The true culprit of almost all foundation cracks are the soil surrounding the foundation and the pressure it generates.

So what is a homeowner to do when she comes across cracks in her basement? There are several questions that need to be answered. First, how wide is the crack? Second, how long is the crack? Third, is the crack generally horizontal or vertical in nature? Fourth, where is the crack located? Fifth, has the foundation on either side of the crack shifted?

Most cracks homeowners will find will start off as vertical cracks due to the setting of concrete during curing and the settling of the house upon the foundation. These hairline cracks (less than a fingernail’s width) aren’t much of a concern. If, however, the crack starts to weep water, the crack may extend through the entire width of the foundation, which is a concern. One simple way to check if the weeping is due to high humidity and condensation in the basement, or water seeping in from the outside is to tape a piece of foil over the crack overnight. If the top side of the crack is wet, but the bottom (toward the crack) side is not, then the weeping is due to condensation. If, however, the bottom side is wet, then the crack is actively weeping water and should be addressed.

If the crack is wider than a fingernail’s width, then it most likely indicates a more serious concern. This will be the case particularly if the crack is wider at one point than another. If the crack extends along the entire height of the wall, then it will be a concern as well. If the crack appears in the corners of the foundation or a window, there may be foundation movement and could indicate a more serious concern.

Cracks that are mostly horizontal in nature are indicative of a larger problem. The lateral pressure from the exterior of the house is greater than the foundation can bear and the foundation has started to buckle. This problem is most likely structural in nature and must be addressed immediately.

The biggest concern is if you see that either side of the crack has shifted. Both a vertical crack that has shifted vertically and a horizontal crack that is started to bulge or bow are indications of critical foundation movement and must be addressed immediately! I cannot emphasize this enough. If your foundation crack has moved in any direction, you need to consult a professional ASAP.

To summarize, cracks that are of little concern are hairline vertical cracks that are dry and static. These can be left alone. Vertical cracks that are wide or long or are actively weeping should be addressed for water infiltration and steps should be taken to relieve the hydrostatic pressure which caused these cracks. Horizontal cracks, cracks which extend to the corners or are wider on one end are serious and should cause concern. Finally, cracks which show active movement are critical and need to be addressed immediately.

Remember that the cracks themselves are not causes, but symptoms. The symptoms need to be addressed, but in order to ensure the safety of your home you must address the causes as well. Next week, we will look at two possible immediate solutions for the symptoms before going on the address ways in which we can remedy the causes. As always, keep your basement dry and enjoyable.

Michael Moon

Comfort Basement

Soda Cans in the Freezer (Winter Effects on Foundation Cracks)

Unlike Elsa, most of us are bothered by the cold. Your house is often the only refuge. It protects you from the bitter cold winds and snow. It allows you to look out your window and enjoy the pristine white covered landscape and the myriad icicles hanging from its rafters while remaining comfortably warm inside. Only in your house can you be bundled up in your favorite blanket surrounded by loving family watching your favorite movie. But did you know that your house is also bothered by the cold? As we discussed last week about winter conditions affecting the exterior of your house, we will discuss this week what the extreme cold weather can do to the interior.

Most poured concrete foundations will develop minor hairline cracks as the concrete shifts and sets. Usually these are not major concerns. However, larger cracks may develop over time as the house settles on the foundation. This week we will discuss how these cracks are formed and the dangers they present. Next week we will look at the different kinds of cracks that can form and the dangers each poses.

When houses are being built, the contractor will usually dig a perimeter around the location of the house in order to lay the base and foundation. Once the foundation concrete has been poured and allowed to set, the exterior face of the foundation will be weather-sealed and the excavated dirt will be repacked into the ground around the foundation. However, no matter how much the contractor packs the dirt, it will never be as firm as the original ground which had hundreds of years to settle and compress. Even after the dirt has had decades to settle, it will create a differential around the perimeter of the house where water will naturally collect. This relatively loose, saturated ground will press against the sides of the foundation constantly. The amount of pressure applied to the exterior of the foundation, though, varies according to many factors, including the amount of water in the ground and pockets of looser soil. This creates pressure against the sides of the foundation perpendicular to the force from the weight of the house above the foundation. What were originally just hairline cracks may soon turn into larger cracks through which water may invade your home.

Two laws of hydrodynamics work against the house at this point. First, under the influence of gravity, water will always seek equilibrium. In other words, the amount of water on one side will want to be equal to the water on the other side. Second, water always seeks the path of least resistance. The combination of these two factors means that the water in the soil around your house is constantly trying to get through the foundation walls into your dry basement. The water will find the smallest seam, the tiniest crack into which it will seep.

Now here’s where the cold makes a difference. The water will fill every nook and cranny in the crack in your foundation. This is bad enough on its own, but when the temperature outside drops below the freezing point, the water will begin to freeze.

Have you ever wanted a cold soda only to find the fridge empty of soda cans? Then a bright idea hits you. What if you put a warm can of soda in the freezer? It will cool much faster than if you just put it in the fridge. So you put the can in the freezer and return to your favorite pastime. Sometime later, you remember the forgotten can of soda in the freezer and go to check on it. Lo and behold, the can exploded in your freezer and caused a sweet mess. What happened?

Unlike most other liquids, when water freezes, it expands. Normally, there is no way that water could rip through an aluminum can. However, the can is powerless when under the influence of the laws of nature. As the water in the can freezes, it expands. Water, having a definite volume, will press against the walls of the can until the can bulges. As the water continues to freeze and expand, it will eventually tear the can apart from the inside.

This is what could happen when the water in the cracks of your home’s foundation start to freeze. It will expand and push irresistibly against the foundation. The foundation will give way in order to make room for the expansion of the water, making the crack that much worse. The water will thaw, the foundation will shift, and the process starts over again. Unaddressed, this could lead to the collapse of your foundation.

This is why it is important to maintain the house that keeps you safe from the cold. If you have cracks, get them checked out by a professional sooner than later. The problem can only get worse; it never gets better. Take care of your home, because it takes care of you. As always, keep your basement dry and enjoyable.

Michael Moon

Comfort Basement

Frozen; No not the Movie, but the Pipes (Frozen Discharge Lines)

Experts said that this winter would be severe. It seems they were right. There may not be a lot of snow on the ground, but boy is it cold outside. It makes you that much more grateful that you have a nice, cozy home to stay warm in.

But if you want your home to stay in that condition, there are several things you should watch out for when the temperature drops significantly outside. For the next few weeks, we will examine these concerns.

Water pipes freezing during the winter is one of the biggest potential problems for your house plumbing. Frozen water pipes not only disrupt water service to your faucets, but may also burst your pipes and cause hundreds of dollars’ worth of damage. That’s why keeping a steady temperature in the house is not only comfortable for you, but also good for the plumbing. But did you know that frozen pipes outside could affect the conditions in your home as well?

This week we will be looking at frozen discharge lines. If you have a water management system in your home which includes a sump pump, chances are you also have a discharge line which extends from the sump pump to the yard or the street. For the sake of convenience, I will henceforth refer to the line from the sump pump to the outside of the house as the ejection line and the line from there to the street or sewer drain as the discharge line. As I mentioned last week, this is to take the ejected water from the sump pump and discharge it away from the soil surrounding your home. However, since the discharge line is often either exposed to the elements or buried shallowly in the ground, any standing water in the pipe could cause freezing to occur. Once one section of the pipe is blocked off, the problem will only worsen.

When this happens, the sump pump may run continuously without actually discharging any water, since the discharge line is now inoperable. The pump will push water down the discharge line for as long as there is water in the sump pit. This will cause your sump pump to eventually burn out and the sump pit to overflow, resulting in a flooded basement. As you can see, this is a serious potential problem. “Can anything be done to prevent this?” you may ask. I’ll list a few things you can watch out for.

Firstly, make sure that your ejection line rises above grade first before being routed outside of the house. This means that the ejection line is not fed directly underground from the basement. While this may seem a more cosmetically pleasing option to homeowners, it can cause much more than cosmetic damage. Having the ejection line extend above ground from the home allows for the most important step in ensuring that your sump pump does get burned out from a frozen line.

Secondly, if you have a discharge line which is above ground, make sure that the discharge line doesn’t have any peaks or valleys in it and that it has a slight decline to it. Any valleys in the line could cause water to collect and start freezing. Also check the end of the line for any debris or snow which may block water from escaping. Optimally, the front yard will be on a decline and the discharge line could be buried up to 32” deep (below the point ground water freezes) and run out to the street with a slight pitch (about ¼’ drop for every 10” of pipe) as is recommended by the basics of drainage.

Finally, under extreme weather conditions, it is sometimes impossible to stop the discharge line from freezing. That is why it is important to have an alternate path for the ejected water to take in case of frozen discharge lines. There is, thankfully, a method to do just that. The ejection line is extended from sump pump above grade and out of the house. There, a special adapter we call the Free Flow adapter is installed between the ejection and discharge lines. The Free Flow adapter has many open slots built into it, so that even if the discharge line becomes frozen, the water ejected from the sump pump can still freely flow outside of the house. An alternate method is to have the ejection line above grade from the house deposit water into a larger discharge line. Be sure that the ejection line is not stuffed into the larger discharge line. If the water freezes all the way up the discharge line, it will freeze over the ejection line as well. Instead, there should be an air gap between the ejection and discharge lines (about 1”).

So what can you do if your discharge lines are already frozen? Here are a few suggestions. You want to check the end of your discharge line first, to see if that area is frozen. If it is, then you can chip away at the ice to clear the blockage. Next, you could disconnect the discharge line from the ejection line to see if the blockage is located there. If the frozen area is somewhere in the middle of the discharge line, there are a couple options. One, if your discharge line is above ground, you can locate the frozen area and use a blow dryer or heat gun to melt the ice and get the water flowing. If that is not an option or you have a discharge line extending underground, you can disconnect the frozen line and use another temporary line to take the water away from the house. If another line is not available, then you could just let the water eject at the base of your house. Be sure to reconnect the line once the snow melts and the discharge line become clear, or else you will just be reintroducing the water to the surrounding soil.

Finally, in the case that your ejection line leaves the house underground, you could thaw the frozen area by the following method. You’ll need 10-20’ of narrow pex tubing, a 5 gallon bucket, and an aquarium water pump. Firstly, power down and disconnect the sump pump from the ejection line. Second, run the pex tubing into the ejection line. Once you come to the blockage, secure the other end of the pex tubing to the aquarium water pump. Place the pump into the bucket. Fill the bucket about halfway with warm water. When you run the aquarium pump, it will force the warm water down the pex tubing into the discharge line. The water will flow backward along the outside of the tubing back down the discharge line and into the bucket, where the water can be recycled. As the ice melts, keep feeding more tubing down the line. When the water no longer returns to the bucket, you know that the ice blockage has been cleared and you can pull the tubing back out. Reattach the sump pump to the ejection line and turn the pump back on. It should operate normally.

Well, I hope that help you prepare to keep your home safe and warm during the harsh winter conditions. As always, keep your basement dry and enjoyable.

Michael Moon

Comfort Basement