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Old 03-01-2013, 03:37 PM
Location: St. Charles, il
51 posts, read 81,384 times
Reputation: 15


I am new to the area and have never had a finished basement. I've been reading alot about sump pumps and having battery back up sump pumps. The house I am buying as a sump pump but does not have the battery back up? Is it recommended to get a back up pump for it? If so, what product is recommended and how much would/should it cost to get it installed? What are some of the things I need to consider with these pumps, options, etc?
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:48 PM
11,972 posts, read 26,861,875 times
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The battery back-up is in case the power goes out. Power outages usually occur with bad storms, and so does basement flooding. But battery backups only last a short time, so if the power outage is extended, the sump will eventually fail.

Some get around this by hooking up their sump pump to an emergency generator. I have a friend in the Northwest burbs who did this after his battery backup failed and some water crept in on his newly finished basement.

It's not that expensive to replace a sump pump if you already have the other infrastructure (the pit and drain tile). So if the lack of battery backup worries you, you should get a quote for pump replacement. Keep in mind that sump pumps are only supposed to last 5-7 years anyway, since many of them work pretty hard. You are supposed to periodically test them by pouring water in to the pit to see if they kick on.
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:07 PM
Location: St. Charles, il
51 posts, read 81,384 times
Reputation: 15
I do have the infrastructure already the house is about 13 years old and I bet the pump has not been replaced. I was looking at those ac/dc back up pumps that would be plugged in to keep the charge but if lost power, it would kick in the battery back up portion. I may have to consider replacing the sump pumps as well.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:34 PM
11,897 posts, read 14,372,203 times
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If you do get one, make sure it has all the alarms. Especially for low battery. Batteries for those go bad just like your car battery. And make sure your main sump pump is good. If it fails and your battery backup pump takes over, it is possible for that to fail creating a flooding problem. Alarms for main pump failure, low battery and backup pump failure at a minimum.
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:40 PM
Location: Chicago
3,260 posts, read 4,509,897 times
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If you have a finished basement a battery backup is worth the price just for the peace of mind, in my opinion. When I was looking into getting one for my last house I found Watch Dog battery back up systems to be the best rated/reviewed. It wasn't that expensive and if you check something like Angie's List I bet you can find a deal on purchasing the system and having it installed (I just did a search and there are 4 offers near St. Charles currently).

I haven't heard that sump pumps only last 5 to 7 years before. My parents house was built in 1996 and the sump pump is the original. The basement is finished and they have a battery backup, but when the house was inspected recently (they just sold the house) the age of the pump was not an issue. The house I just sold was 6 years old and the age of the sump pump wasn't mentioned in the inspection report there either. Maybe if the pump runs a lot they only last that long; however, in both of these houses the pump only runs once in awhile during heavy rain. I think that makes a difference and also makes a difference in how much I would worry about flooding in general. If the house is higher on a hill then the sump pump should not run much; if you're in a valley it probably would run a lot.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:28 AM
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First I think it is important to distinguish between why you need a secondary pump in your sump. The fact is that in over 75% of the cases that primary sump pumps do not work it is NOT just due to loss of AC power. The pumps themselves do simply clog, have a problem with their sensor / float, or just wear out. Pumping sump water is a difficult task -- typically there is a lot of sand / silt in the ground water as well as mineral content that is very hard on all materials, the water must be pulled up from below the slab and they exit through pipes that carry it far enough away from the foundation.

I strongly recommend buying the best secondary pump you can. If you size it so that it can handle the "worst case" rain storm / snow melt ON ITS OWN then WHEN (not if...) your primary fails during a storm you can call for the repair while the secondary is working.

I also strongly recommend getting a sufficient backup power supply to allow that secondary pump to run through the "worst case" power outage that your neighbors can remember. With dual 12V storage batteries it is possible to get a backup to run through a 48 storm without AC. That ought to be good in most part of the region BUT there have periods when power has been out for longer that. In such cases I strongly recommend getting a hardwired natural gas powered backup generator. The smallest one will keep multiple pumps going as well a handful of other circuit like for fridge, furnace and lighting. There are folks with expensive topical fish tanks that also put those on a transfer switch to automatically cut over to the backup power. The largest backup generators can run your whole house including AC, which for people with certain illness could be a literal lifesaver...
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:09 AM
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 25,091,380 times
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I replaced the sump and water pressure tank for $150 installed. My best investment was in a Sears 12 gallon wet/dry vacuum. I don't have a battery backup because I've never had more than an inch of water - but I've never had anything like the Chicago flood that stranded busses in the underpasses, either. Hopefully your foundation is 2- 3 blocks above ground level.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:17 AM
28,384 posts, read 67,971,595 times
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I am unfamilar with sumps utilizing any kind of "tank" pressurized or otherwise.

Do not buy a junk / joke of a backup with a tiny "wall wart" charger, it will not last long enough to do any good. These are not worth the trouble: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Water-Ace-12...8346%26ps%3D54

If you want a system that includes dual batteries and an inverter that is sufficiently powerful for the backup pump to keep your finished basement safe start by considering something like this: http://www.sumppumpsdirect.com/Storm...ump/p6667.html

Last edited by chet everett; 03-03-2013 at 07:35 AM..
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:49 PM
936 posts, read 1,749,727 times
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You're probably looking at two different systems. A localized battery backup system like an Ace-in-hole brand that you'd find at a hardware store is only good for short term outages. Where I live we might lose power maybe for only an hour or so once a year during a thunderstorm. That sort of unit is perfect for that. A lot of it also depends on the water table in your area and whether or not the sump pump runs most of the time, or only during heavy rains.

Other than that, for extended outages you'd probably be better off looking at a larger generator whole-house system that could provide for longer periods of outages.

I have a small backup generator that I plug our refrigerator into when we get a power outage and you could do the same thing with about a $500 generator if that was one of the items you wanted to run during an outage.
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:14 AM
Location: On the road.
216 posts, read 440,856 times
Reputation: 138
You also need to buy a replacement pump for when your primary pump dies on a rainy Sunday night. Buy a pump and the PVC pipe and check valve so all you have to do is plop it in your pit. When we get the heavy rains the stores are sold out of sump pumps. I have a new sump pump with PVC pipe and new check valve sitting next to my pit ready to go.
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