How an Arizona Ice Tea bottle, Storage Container, Two Clamps, Two Hoses & a Utility Sink Saved Our Home from Hurricane Irene

This past weekend was a crazy weekend. Since we live in Bergen County, New Jersey, we were in the direct path of Hurricane Irene. The storm hit us Sunday early in the day. We stayed up late to make sure nothing happened to the house. We were getting ready to sleep at 1am when my brother and hubs heard a loud bang. And our power went out.

We never bought a generator for the house… we simply forgot after the last winter storm. What a big mistake. With the power out, our sump pump stopped working. With the fear of flood in their minds, my brother and hubs decided to hook up a portable power box to the cars and then hook that to the fuse box for the pump. The power box was something we bought a couple years ago for our road trip in case we needed to power something in the car via the cigarette lighter fuse. Needless to say, it didn’t work. It blew out the fuses in both cars.

My brother came up with the idea of manually scooping the water out of the sump pump and my hubs, being handy, he put a contraption together based on the idea.

Here’s our sump pump filled with water

Here’s the Arizona Iced Tea bottle we used – with top cut off so we could manually scoop water out of the pump.

Basically, since the water was continuously flowing into the french drains and to the sump pump, my brother and hubs had to stand next to the pump to scoop water out all night from 2-8am. I took an hour shift from 8-9am so hubs could sleep and brother could nap. After an hour he came back to take over. Then my Sister-in-law took over and they took turns until we were all awake. By late morning, we had six people (adults and kids) taking turns to scoop water out.

Here’s the container

Here’s what the container was on

Here’s where the hoses lead to

Here’s the utility sink the water was draining to and out of the house

And this is how an Arizona Iced Tea bottle, storage container, two clamps, two hoses and a utility sink saved our home from Hurricane Irene.

Luckily, we had enough hands to go through this manual process to do this for nearly two days. Things could have been far worse. We could have lost gas and water and not been able to eat. We certainly could have all fallen asleep Saturday night and woke up Sunday morning to an entire basement full of water. Or we could have lost our home altogether. But, we were fortunate and we’re thankful for that. But, we’re also saddened by all the sad news of the lives lost and all the displaced families. We hope we’ll be able to volunteer some time to help those that weren’t as fortunate.


  • Kim Let Me Start By Saying

    Amazing! My husband and I were doing The Manual Scoop for hours, but there were only 2 of us and we have 2 sump pumps and when I took a 20 minute nap, it just got out of control. We ended up with 9″ in the basement (we’re a bit south of you).

    You’re awesomely lucky that you figured out that contraption and had enough manpower to keep it going. Bravo!

    • YippyMomma

      Hi Kim. I’m so sorry to hear about the water in your basement! Is it a finished basement also? A lot of people in our town did have flooding also. I saw a lot of carpet on the sidewalks. I hope the water didn’t ruin your basement. Thanks for dropping in!

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