Sump Pumps

Check Your Sump Pump!

If you own a tri-level unit in the Pacific Bluffs development your unit has one or more “sump pump(s).”

History of Sump Pumps and Flooding Tri-Levels

Tri-level units have basements that are below grade (below the outside ground level).

Pacific Bluffs Corps I and II were built by developer Ashton and Keis in 1965. When the first big rains struck San Diego the soil became saturated and ground water level began to rise.   Tri-level units should have been built with French drain systems and electric sump pumps, but they were not. The tri-level units flooded and the association sued the developer. The association won their lawsuit and these systems were put into place allowing homeowners to keep their basements dry.

In 2010 when the last El Nino struck some tri-level basements were flooded due to inoperable sump pumps. Since the association is not responsible for flooding due to an inoperable sump pump and most insurance does not cover water intrusion, these homeowners were stuck with serious damage, extensive clean up, expensive repair and an uninhabitable property.

What Are French Drains and Sump Pumps?

French drains are piping systems with holes which allow water to enter the pipe.  French drain pipes are surrounded by crushed rock which allow the water to easily percolate down.  Once the water enters the pipe it flows into a deep well or “sump.”  As the water in the sump begins to rise, the float switch rises similar to the float in your toilet’s tank.  When the float switch reaches a certain level, the electric pump is activated pumping the water out of the sump before it rises to a level where it enters your basement living space.

To avoid severe, costly damage to your basement have your sump pump inspected ASAP. For more information contact your HOA or refer to this website. Sump Pump Operation and Inspection Guide

French drain system diagram

Pacific Bluffs Corp I Playground French drain system

The playground had a history of flooding during rainstorms. When the playground was refurbished, we installed a french drain system to keep it dry. See photos below.

Basement Construction and Waterproofing

I am a resident of Pacific Bluffs HOA Corp II and I live in a tri-level home. During a heavy rainstorm I had some basement flooding. I am not an expert, but I did much of the work myself. I highly recommend treating the inside (negative side) with a spray-on crystalline sealer such as Penecrete by SuperKrete or Penetron.

Furthermore, I recommend treating the concrete patio with Penecrete or Penetron. Even further, if you plan to dig a trench and treat the outside of your basement wall (positive side) with an oil or urethane based sealer, you should first spray on Penecrete or Penetron.

Penecrete and Penetron spray with a water-like consistency and is quickly absorbed into the dry cinder block or concrete. When exposed to water, the chemical turns to crystalline and fills the micro spaces in the concrete and makes the concrete waterproof. Hint: Don’t settle for a non-crystalline water treatment.

I am happy to give help and advice. You can reach me by email at michael.puente{at}