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Old 08-17-2015, 06:10 AM
 
72 posts, read 57,720 times
Reputation: 21

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I just had the Zoeller 507 battery powered backup sump pump installed by a plumber in Fairfax County. After the install, I asked the plumber whether the battery was conventional lead acid or "maintenance free" AGM (the manual says that it can use both). He told me it was maintenance free.

But when I opened the plastic box that housed the battery I noticed that it was Interstate SRM-27, a wet/acid deep cycle marine battery. Apparently it has to be checked every month for the water level and topped off. What is worse, potentially, he installed the battery 1 foot away from my gas water heater, which has a pilot flame. The whole set up is in my hvac closet, which is crowded. Is this within code in Fairfax?

Everything I read online says that wet/acid battery will offgas hydrogen which is highly flammable/explosive. So is the battery a fire/explosion hazard next to the water heater? Should I call my plumber back and request that he replace it with a safer "sealed" AGM battery that is both maintenance free and doesn't offgas (much) hydrogen?

If there is someone here who is knowledgable about this, I'd really appreciate some advice. Am I worrying over nothing or did my plumber do a shoddy/cheap job with the battery? Is this setup allowed in Fairfax County per code?
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA, from Boston
1,424 posts, read 2,087,085 times
Reputation: 661
huh. interesting question.

First of all, I think there's only one true AGM deep cycle out there. Trojan. It would run around 500 online. So say 700 installed and delivered, probably 7 year life span. If you want to pay, clearly a great battery.

Is it dangerous to put lead acid there.... probably not. they do offgas hydrogen, but very little. your pilot light has much more explosive gas coming out then any battery... which is fine, as long it's running. That said, I'm certainly not going to guarantee it's safety, though neither would I call it out as something noticeably unsafe.

those batteries theoretically need to be topped off and checked. while it's a great idea, in the real world even I'm not that anal.

Is it against code? Probably not. I can't speak in this case for Fairfax county, but in general low voltage stuff is not covered by the electrical code. it might possibly be in the fire code, but residentially I doubt it.

if you are actually concerned, do the much more sensible thing and get rid of the junk standing pilot light
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA, from Boston
1,424 posts, read 2,087,085 times
Reputation: 661
on quick check, you need 50 gallons of acid to come under fire code. that's one hell of a battery bank
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA, from Boston
1,424 posts, read 2,087,085 times
Reputation: 661
oh, and the pilot light in the closet may well be against code. depends on some stuff
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:00 PM
 
72 posts, read 57,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlesaf3 View Post
huh. interesting question.

First of all, I think there's only one true AGM deep cycle out there. Trojan. It would run around 500 online. So say 700 installed and delivered, probably 7 year life span. If you want to pay, clearly a great battery.
I thought many companies made AGM batteries. Zoeller itself seems to offer one.
Quote:
Is it dangerous to put lead acid there.... probably not. they do offgas hydrogen, but very little. your pilot light has much more explosive gas coming out then any battery... which is fine, as long it's running. That said, I'm certainly not going to guarantee it's safety, though neither would I call it out as something noticeably unsafe.
What about hydrochloric acid or carbon monoxide that is generated during charging?
Quote:
those batteries theoretically need to be topped off and checked. while it's a great idea, in the real world even I'm not that anal.
The manual that came with the Zoeller backup system says that flooded (as opposed to sealed) lead acid battery must be checked and topped off every month. Is that overkill? How often do you check yours?
Quote:
if you are actually concerned, do the much more sensible thing and get rid of the junk standing pilot light
What do you mean "junk standing pilot light"? It's a standard water heater.
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:01 PM
 
72 posts, read 57,720 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlesaf3 View Post
oh, and the pilot light in the closet may well be against code. depends on some stuff
It's an HVAC closet in the finished basement. It has HVAC, water heater, and sump pit. Why is this against code? I think every house in my development has this setup.
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