Sump in bedroom?

This is the first time I have seen this. This picture is of a working sump pit enclosed in 1/8" particle board with no ventilation. The client and the buying agent both told me this was an open sump pit just 3 days prior. The client is concerned about letting her son live in this bedroom.

So what do you think? Is this something she should be concerned about? Should she contact an IAQ specialist?

susan 041.JPG

I would be concerned about how it is hooked up and plumbed. Why enclose it before the inspection?

I’d have several concerns…

  1. if this is functioning, and if water is going to actually enter the pit, the particle board (and all the other finish work around it) is going to get wet, ruined, & probably moldy. I noticed that the floor is concrete, which along with the pit implies that there “may” be moisture issues.

  2. Sump pits are a huge entry point for Radon gas. I’d strongly suggest a Radon test, and semi-annual re-testing to ensure relatively safe levels. Even if the levels were under the 4.0 level, if my kid was going to be sleeping there, I’d probably have a Radon mitigation system installed anyway. But that’s just me, and that recommendation wouldn’t fly as far as getting the sellers to install it. (Wife’s Grandma recently passed from Lung Cancer and didn’t smoke. HORRIBLE way to go.)

Given that this appears to be a basement (based on the presence of a sump and the height of the window at the right of the photo), does the room meet the egress requirements to be considered a bedroom?

Nothing in any plumbing codes that I know that prohibits what you see.

The window does meet egress requirements however the sump is what I was concerned about. I haven’t came across any code that would support the sump not being allowed in a bedroom. Like Mark stated, I would never let my kid live in there.

I would have the client listen to it in operation, for one thing the valve is going to bang every time it turns off. At my house a pump is at a sump on the other side of a structural brick wall (the original rear exterior wall) between the master bedroom and a utility/laundry area, and I hear it loud and clear at shutdown.

Besides, it is hare enough to get kids to go to sleep on time.

“Mom, the sump pump is too loud!”

“Dad, I’m scared by the sump monster.”

Just one more thing to deal with.

BTW: I am seening more and more McMansions and remodels (adding a floor), where the contractors are trying to sneak in a bedroom or two, but they are all in the basement and the windows are small and situated 4 to 5 feet above the floor. Realtors get all upset when I tell them that it is not a ‘legal’ bedroom (according to national codes). They come back with, “The town allows it, so other codes don’t mean anything.”

It is really a different culture, isn’t it?