For those that live in a high water level area, backup system is like having an extra insurance policy on your home. During a heavy storm, if the power goes out, a battery backup sump pump will kick in to continue to work keeping your basement dry. Before running out and buying something, check out these very useful hints to guide you on sumps.
Tip 1. Durability matters
When on the market for a sump pump, be sure to see how well it is constructed. Do you want a cheap, flimsy, plastic, and unreliable guarding against flooding? Spend the extra money and get a reputable brand, but buy a cast iron sump that will last a long time.
Many cheap plastic backup sumps will sell at the local hardware or large retail chains. These will range in price from $100 to $800 in cost. Do not buy the cheap small ones because they will simply not hold up or last very long. If you get quite a bit of excessive water in your pit, having a cheap backup system is renders it useless.
Tip 2. Selecting the right setup
You have some options when purchasing a sump. There are different systems like:
- Water-powered sump pumps
- Battery-operated sump pumps
- Water pressure pumping systems
Many of the backup systems work with your current pump in case of loss of power, but did you know it can also be used in case the primary gets overwhelmed? The battery powered system can have a float switch tied into it, so when water reaches a certain level in the pit, the system can kick on. This adds that extra layer of protection in case your primary cannot do the job.
Tip 3. Selecting what powers the system
Typically there are two main systems DC only, and AC/DC powered systems. Most customers prefer the combination system because it can operate plugged into the wall and on a battery. The DC only are much cheaper, but are limited to the life of the battery they use.
Some DC units will come with a trickle charger, so a homeowner can plug and keep the battery charged. AC/DC units typically are the primary pump with an electric battery backup just in case power goes out. The AC/DC units are considerably more expensive, but tend to do all of the work.
Tip 4. Capacity is critical
This time size does matter! The sumps capacity helps keep the water at bay. Many of the backup systems on the market will only have about half of the capacity as the primary systems. Be sure to find a backup system that has about the same as your main sump.
Most of the small pumps you find at the local hardware stores only run a capacity of about twenty gallons per minute. The more expensive ones you find at the large retail chains will pump about thirty gallons per minute. Overall, you will want to have at least a capacity equal to a primary pump, which is around thirty to sixty gallons per minute.
Tip 5. Batteries are important
On most of the backup systems on the market are run primarily on two different types of batteries. The first one is a typical marine type heavy-duty battery. These are maintenance free and fully sealed. Unlike traditional batteries, you do not have to add water to this.
An alternative to the marine sealed battery is the new AGM battery. These are the latest technology, which will last twice as long and require very little maintenance on them. The battery does not need venting unlike the traditional battery. You can place it in confined areas without causing a health or safety problem.
Tip 6. Get a text from your sump pump
If you have a finished basement, why not invest the extra money to protect it? For a little bit more money, you can get a backup system that can actually communicate via text to your smartphone. If a major problem arises, the smart sump will actually send you a message warning you. It is worth paying the extra money to have this alert notification.
You can also purchase the texting functionality separately, which you can easily install yourself in most cases.
Tip 7. Check your battery backup sump pump charger
Some backup systems will have a wall plug in charger that will keep the battery full of power. Be sure to check in on this at times, some of these chargers are not quite high quality. They do not fully trickle charge the battery, which will then slowly wear down over time. Make sure your battery is getting proper trickle charge, or find a more powerful charger to keep the power up.
Bonus Tip: If you are unsure, call your plumber
In this article, we hashed out a few of the ideas and hints that you need to consider when purchasing a backup sump. If you still are not very clear on this, consult with your local plumber. They will help you choose the right capacity and understand how to manage the water in your pit.
They are the most qualified to help install and maintain the pump system. They know the best way to route the water from the pump to the outside of your home. So, if you are seriously considering buying a backup system, be sure to check with a professional.
Overall, buying a battery backup sump pump is like buying flood insurance for your home. The backup system protects your home from flooding during a heavy storm where the power suddenly goes out. The backup system will kick on and continue to manage the level of water inside the pit in your home.
The next powerful feature on a backup system is keeping the water from flooding over the pit. If it is raining cats and dogs outside and the water level in the pit is rapidly rising, a backup sump with a float switch can help ease the strain on the primary. This second system is your insurance policy from rapidly rising water levels overwhelming your primary pump, keeping your finished basement dry.