I have been receiving several questions about sump pumps. I will set the record straight about backup systems and how to prevent flooding in the event of failure.
If your home has an active sump pump, be prepared. Your sump pump at some point and time will fail. How will you know? You most likely will have no warning at all. Wake up in the morning to a flooded basement. This is very annoying and yet completely preventable.
I’ve had many friends and family with sump pump problems and I’ve heard from numerous home inspection customers who have had past problems. Being a homeowner is easy. Waking up to a flooded basement makes being a homeowner not so easy. Having all your storage destroyed by water is an event that I would want to avoid. If you are in the same crowd, install a back up system. Get ahead of the game before it is to late.
The two common type types of back up systems are; battery and water powered.
The Battery Powered Pump
The most common type of backup sump pump system is a battery powered system. The battery powered pump is a secondary pump that sits slightly higher in the sump pump basket. It has a backup deep cell battery that will operate the pump in the event of pump failure or power outage. As always, when you add a battery that can sit for many years without being used, you have to ensure it works. Nothing like being prepared just to find out you were not prepared enough. There are batteries made my companies such as, The basement watchdog. The backup batteries are equipped with warning systems to let you know if the battery as a problem. I recommend this feature as I find most batteries are dead.
Installing a back up battery powered sump pump can be an easy task. There are many step by step videos out there that can assist you on the install. If you don’t feel up to it, call a plumber.
Water Powered Pump
Another backup option is to install a pump that is powered by the municipal water coming into your home. The nice thing about hydraulic sump pumps is that you don’t have to worry about keeping a battery charged all the time, and if you have an extended power outage, you won’t have to worry about the pump failing. Now with every great thing, you have a downside. A water powered pump tends to use roughly 1 gallon of city water to remove 2 gallons of water from your basement and is fairly slow. If your home is on a well system, you probably do not want to install the water powered pump. If you have power failure, your well will not work and neither will your back up system
It does not matter what kind of backup system you install. It is always recommended to install a high water level alarm. If you do not have a backup system installed, it is still a great idea to install an alarm. They are extremely loud and annoying. Without a backup system it will at least let you know there is a problem and you need to jump into action to resolve it.