Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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Basement Condo Problems: Solve Two Common Issues with Pumps Made for Lower Building Levels

If you manage a condominium building in New York City, you may encounter a familiar issue that can cause massive occupant problems and property damage if not handled properly. We’re talking about units situated at lower levels, like basement and garden apartments, which are particularly common in converted brownstones and similar historic buildings, and subject to water problems due to their location. Basement condo problems usually show up as one of two concerns: rising ground water and/or difficulty moving waste into the sewer main. Here’s how you can fix these issues with two submersible pumps designed specifically for these challenges.

Problem: Rising Ground Water

Solution: sump pump

Rising ground water is a problem for low-level condo and co-op units when New York experiences heavy rainfall and snowmelt — and we are getting a lot more of the former lately with climate change in the form of severe tropical storms and winter nor’easters. It can also be a concern in certain spots with the lowest elevations in the city or higher than normal water tables, which means the baseline water level is already a threat.

What happens when ground water is too close to a building’s lowest floor? It typically comes up through the floor itself, causing flooding and costly interior damage, including making a unit uninhabitable. Several inches of water above the floor can also pose a serious risk of electric shock if water levels reach the height of outlets or touch electric components like cords, surge protectors, power strips, etc.

The solution is to install a sump pump in these low-lying areas. The pump sits mostly below the ground and has a basin that collects rising water. As soon as the water level in the basin reaches a certain threatening height, a sensor triggers the pump to turn on automatically. The rising water is then pumped away from the building, either to a greenspace nearby or to the storm drains at the street. The key is to ensure it’s far enough away from the building’s foundation that it won’t drain right back into your lower levels.

Problem: Waste Source Below Level of Sewer Main

Solution: sewage ejector pump

Low-lying condo and co-op residences have another problem because of their location relative to the sewer main. Because they can’t rely on the force of gravity to flush waste away from bathrooms and kitchens, they need a pump to push waste to the sewer line. Without this pump, sewage and greywater would quickly back up into toilets, sinks, dishwashers, and laundry machines (see more about this in the next section).

To give waste removal the extra momentum it needs to reach the sewer channel, you need a sewage ejector pump. It collects waste in a basin and, like the sump pump, is triggered to run when a sensor determines the basin is becoming full. Some pumps simply flush the waste as-is; others, called sewage grinder pumps, pulverize it first, similar to a garbage disposal.

Common Problems with Submersible Pumps

Take care with installation and maintenance

Both sump pumps and sewage ejector pumps are fairly simple and reliable. However, there are a few problems we encounter with these pumps, some of which you may be able to fix on your own.

First, you want to make sure the installation is done properly. Both pumps need to be of adequate size to handle the ground water or waste they are expelling. Buying an undersized pump to save money will only cost more in the long run. Of course, they need to be attached and set up properly, and sump pumps are especially sensitive to orientation. They must sit perfectly vertical in place, or they run the risk of not functioning properly.

With wear and tear, these pumps can experience electrical issues like frayed cords and broken switches. From the start, the wiring must be able to handle the pumps too. If running a sump or sewage ejector pump causes flickering lights or tripping of your circuit breakers, and it’s not the pump’s fault, it’s time to call our partners at Bolt Electric to have a look at your electrical supply.

Other problems we see frequently with submersible pumps include:

  • – Clogs in the outlet pipe due to a buildup of detritus or occupants putting inappropriate objects down the drain or toilet (grease, oil, baby wipes, coffee grounds, feminine hygiene products, etc., which can also cause grinder malfunction), which may necessitate routine plumber attention
  • – Sensor stuck on the side of the basin (easily remedied with a cleaning)
  • – Sensor arm broken (needs replacement)
  • – Pump motor failure (requires professional service)

Keeping an eye on these pumps, cleaning them periodically, and having yearly or biannual service is vital to ensuring they last for their full lifespans. You can often prevent emergency service calls by doing preventive maintenance, which costs less and is far less disruptive for you and building occupants. When we service submersible pumps, we check them thoroughly, perform repairs, and do any cleaning or lubrication necessary for smooth operation.

Whether you’re in need of a new sump pump, a new sewage ejector pump, or pump maintenance, Antler Pumps welcomes the opportunity to serve you anywhere in the five boroughs. Call us at 212-534-2500, and keep our number handy in case an emergency arises in spite of your good care of your building’s pumps.


Our Privacy Policy

Omnia Mechanical Group(the “Company”) strives to ensure the highest standards for property listings and customer information privacy. Please review the following statement to learn about our company practices and policies. Please be aware that our Privacy Policy is subject to change at any time.

1. Purpose.

This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of Sanitaryplumbing.com.

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of omniagroup.nyc (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with omniagroup.nyc).

3. Use of Information.

Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

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We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with Sanitaryplumbing.com.

The Company always provides you the ability to opt-out of further communication such as promotions and surveys; see the Opt-Out section below.

The Company does not share any of your personal information with outside organizations, companies, individuals, etc. The only exception to this standard is if such a disclosure is reasonably necessary to respond to any and all legal processes.

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The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of information for any and all of its properties on the Website, and is not responsible for any errors or misrepresentations (made by Renters, the Client, or otherwise).

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Should your personal information change, please immediately update your information on the Website. This will ensure the accuracy of our records. The Company does retain personal information from closed accounts in order to comply with law and collect and disburse any fees owed.

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This Privacy Policy addresses only the use of information we collect from you. Since omniagroup.nyc does not control the privacy policies of third parties, you are subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. It is advisable that you consult with the management of third parties before you disclose your personal information to others.

12. General

We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on the Website. All amended terms are immediately effective after they are initially posted on the Website.

13. Privacy Policy Questions & Concerns

Questions and/or concerns regarding the Policy should be emailed to the following email address: info@omniagroup.nyc.