Simple Makeshift Emergency Sump-Pump




About: Completed two years in Business Administration Information Management. Now in Manufacturing Engineering Tech to become a CNC machine programmer/operator

Recently my roommate and I discovered, since the landlord cut down the tree that was over-hanging our basment entrance, we have water issues. And by recently I mean around 2am this morning, and by water issues I mean flooding conditions.

Problem one: Our appartment is below ground level
Problem two: Our floor is lower then the entrance.
Problem three: Water fills up the outside entrance area.

Solution: Quick thinking, a fish tank filter, and some common household items saved the day.. well, night.

Step 1: Stuff Required

Handy-Man's secret weapon: Duct tape
Garbage bags
Broom stick
A water containment device of your liking
One fish tank filter
One very understanding fish. (Thanks Winston)

Step 2: Making a Hose

You'll have to work with me on this step. We were in a bit of a hurry and didn't take any pictures during this part. The water was rising pretty quick.

We, unfortunatly, did not have any type of hose or tubing in the apartment, so we had to make one.

So, take the garbage bag and cut it down the sides to make a plastic sheet.

I don't have pictures of the process, but to make the tube, you wrap it around the broom stick and run a strip of duct tape down the seam to complete the tube.

One length of the plastic bag was not long enough so we made two of them and joined them together with another duct tape seam.

Step 3: Rig Up the Filter

To join the makeshift hose to the filter it was just a matter of butting the hose against the outlet of the filter and taping it in place.

Since the floor was below the water a simple siphon should work, however our homemade tube collapses on itself and didn't work. So we needed a pump. Well, we dont have a pump. But we did have a fish tank with a filter...

Step 4: Commence Water Removal

We placed the water filter in the water and ran the hose inside into a water basin. Once one was full we switched it with another and dumped it down the drain.

You may ask why we didn't add another length to the tube to run it up the stairs to the sidewalk. Well we didn't think the poor pump had enough power to lift the water that high.

Step 5: Results

Well the little filter did its thing. It lowered the water level 3 inches in about 40 min. around that time the rain slowed down and the water was able to seep through the cracks in the concrete to drain on its own.

The water was about 5 inches deep and rising pretty quick when we noticed our carpet was getting wet.

The hose at one point sprung a leak. As you can see from the picture the filter was producing some pressure in the hose. It was resolved with more duct tape.

As a final comment I will say this worked 100% better than I expected. The Landlord should be installing the much needed gutter very soon!



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    8 Discussions

    You should get two pumps and some proper hose and a bucket so that one pump pumps water into the bucket and the other pump is inside the bucket pumping it to a drain :)

    reminds me of when the aereator on my septic system went out. I was advised that rather than replacing it with the expensive timed air pump it had I could accomplish the same thing for much less by adding a simple but good quality fish tank pump and let it run constant.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    nice idea and quick thinking. I was expecting to see a wangenstein suction personaly though


    12 years ago

    or you could leave it flooded and let your fish live in it (he'll understand) ; )


    12 years ago

    Smart move! I like the idea. While that one was chugging away, you could stop at a store to pick up a few more. You could also probably cut out a large hole out of that bucket, and attach a funnel, then a piece of tubing, and you should be able to pump water out by filling it up... maybe not... probably not...

    2 replies

    Reply 12 years ago

    Haha, we could have, but the stores we needed to get the materials weren't open at 2 am. For the future we could do things differently, but i don't expect similar weather before the gutters are installed. Also my father is a plumber, next trip i make home i may bring back a real (small) sump-pump to do the job if the forecast changes. Thanks for the comments!


    Reply 12 years ago

    Sorry, I guess I didn't realize that it was 2AM, even though the picture clearly states it :-)