Battery Powered Sump Pumps
Battery powered sump pumps are very similar to any of the other types of sump pumps. When the water level reaches a preset level, the pump is activated by the float and water is pumped out. The main difference between a regular sump pump and a battery operated one is that it will operate flawlessly when the power goes out.
When the power is off, a switch trips the battery backup system that automatically provides power to the sump pump without any laps in performance. When storms take down power lines, a backup battery system supplies power. The loss of electricity will not have any effect on the performance of the sump pump.
There are two criteria that have to be considered when deciding to purchase a battery powered sump pump. Locations that are below the water table usually have problems with excess water and must rely heavily on a properly functioning sump pump. For the best possible protection, it would be critical and prudent to have a battery operated sump pump.
Rural and wooded areas tend to have frequent power outages. Having a battery operated sump pump would seem to be a necessity for the safety and should be carefully considered as a backup measure, regardless. Sump pumps are a household tool that we tend to overlook until they do not function, and flooding happens.
There are a wide variety of battery operated sump pumps from very low capacity to ones that can pump out sewage from a septic tank. The key to selecting the correct sump pump is the size of the sump pit. Though small sump pits are less expensive, they place a great deal of demand on a sump pump, which can cause it to burnout. An essential part of the decision is how often the power goes out and the types of storms.
Regardless of any other factors that govern a decision to buy a battery sump pump, they can be an excellent safety factor as protection from water damage and unplanned costs.
Combination Sump Pumps
The common sump pump is usually a centrifugal pump. When the motor is activated by the float, a screw type device called an impeller spins forcing rising water toward the sides of a pipe. This creates a low pressure area in the center of the pipe. Water from the sump pit rushes to the void and is pushed by the impeller through the pipe and out of the building.
A combination sump pump has all of the features of a traditional sump pump with the benefit of an extra layer of protection. The design of a combination sump pump includes a primary sump pump with a backup in case the primary fails. They are an all-inclusive package that are convenient and easy to install. A combination system includes a battery to supply power to the backup pump when the primary pump fails and a secondary pump.
When there is a default in the primary system, an alarm sounds to activate the backup pump that flawlessly takes over the operation of the primary. In the majority of cases, the backup system will remain operational until the primary can be replaced, or power is restored. A combination system includes the primary sump pump, the backup sump pump, a controller, and a battery case.
There are several factors to consider when deciding to purchase a combination system. The first and most critical one is the installation of a reliable sump pump switch that will activate at exactly the time it is needed. Next, the type of alarm must be properly installed so that communication between the primary and backup is unimpeded. New technology has developed a smart sump pump system where all the components work as one unit that sends an alert about problems with the float switch, alarm system, primary or backup sump pumps, and any of the other vital components.
One of the basic problems with sump pump systems is the tendency to forget them until they malfunction. It is important to regularly check the condition of a sump pump system and examine it regularly.
“Floor Sucker” Sump Pumps
A floor sucker sump pump is designed for places that do not have a sump pump system. One difference between a floor sucker and an ordinary sump pump is that it is not permanently installed and can be moved to various locations. It can be used to drain floors and crawl spaces of excess water. They are not a protective device but are used when an area has been flooded and needs to be drained.
The pump sits directly on the floor but is not connected to a sump pit or drain. They suck water from a floor that has already been flooded. Though automatic versions are available, they typically operate manually and have to be monitored while in operation. A floor sucker is ready to operate as soon as it is in place. There is no need for the installation of any other components. If a sump pump system is already in place, a floor sucker can serve as an emergency backup system as long as you have electricity.
There are various floor sucker pumps. They can be either automatic or manually operated and have the flexibility to be attached to a garden hose. Though they are designed to protect basements, they can be used to remove water from any place where it collects such as air conditioning units or fountains. Wherever there is a danger of water or liquid spillage, a floor sucker pump can be a convenient answer. It easily collects and removes any type of liquid such as water that accumulates on a pool cover.
The installation of a sump pump can be an expensive project especially if there is not one already installed. A floor sucker sump pump is an inexpensive solution that can remove standing water after or during a storm. A high quality floor sucker sump pump can cost less than $200 and come with hoses and other accessories. Prices of floor sucker sump pumps vary depending on their horsepower, which can range from 1/4 to 1/6th HP. The length of the power cord also determines the cost but can easily be overcome with an industrial strength power cord.
Pedestal Sump Pump
Pedestal sump pumps are mounted on a water collection pit above the water line. They rest on a pipe that keeps them above the required level of the incoming water. A water sensor or float measures the amount of water collecting in the sump pit. When the level reaches a specified height, the system activates and removes the access water.
The basic purpose of a sump pump is to keep vulnerable areas dry. They are essential in areas that have heavy snowfall and rain. They are a safety precaution against flooding and the costs related to water damage. A pedestal sump pump is the most economical of the different varieties.
An advantage of pedestal sump pumps is their ability to remove high volumes of water automatically with little effort. As the water sump pit fills, the float on the pedestal sump pump activates the system and immediately removes the access water. Areas that have concerns regarding excess water usually have a sump pump already installed.
Areas that have large amounts of snowfall and rain, a sump pump will be a necessary safety device. A pedestal sump pump is usually the first choice. Installation requires cutting a hole at the lowest point in the foundation and installing a water collection or sump pit. It is important to carefully choose the correct size of pit. Though smaller ones are less expensive, they have the disadvantage of requiring the sump pump to over work, which can burnout its motor.
One of the unfortunate aspects of sump pumps is that they get ignored until they malfunction. It is important to make a regular assessment of a sump pump to ensure that it is performing properly. Many of the problems related to a sump pump are very easy to correct with little effort. Repairs can be in the electrical connections, water intake and discharge, or the float mechanism. Checking the condition of a sump pump can prevent major damage.
Submersible Sump Pump
A submersible sump pump is placed into the sump pit and can be immersed in water. As the name implies, submersible sump pumps operate when covered with water. They have a motor that is enclosed in a water sealed watertight casing. This particular design of sump pump is preferred since they operate quietly and noise free.
A submersible sump pump uses a sensor to detect when the level of the water in the sump pit reaches a critical level. An impeller, rotor blade designed to increase water flow, forces excess water out of the sump pit through an attached pipe. Water is directed away from the property and into a sewer or drainage area.
Though all sump pumps are designed to remove excess water, there are distinct advantages of a submersible sump pump over non-submersible ones, which is how the water is pumped out of the house. A submersible sump pump uses direct pressure through a pipe or hose to remove access, a more effective method than suction, because it covers greater distance.
Since a submersible sump pump is immersed, it does not have to be primed to begin operation while non-submersible sump pumps have to have water added. This special feature means that the pump will be instantly activated once installed. Since submersible sump pumps do not have to be primed, the motor is protected from burnout or damage. Non-submersible sump pumps require priming to activate, and their motors can burn out more readily.
Of all of the various varieties of sump pumps, submersible sump pumps are capable of pumping the highest volume of water. If they have a battery backup system, they provide excellent protection against flooding and water damage.
As with any type of critical household device, it is important to check the sump pump on a regular schedule. The low need for maintenance of a submersible sump pump system lessens the number of times the system will need to be checked.
Water Powered Sump Pumps
Water powered sump pumps can still function if the power goes out, an important advantage during heavy storms. The pump is powered by the water supply to the house and does not require any electricity. For every one gallon of water, it is able to pump two gallons of water out of the sump pit. As with other sump pumps, the water powered sump pump has a float that activates the pump when a preset level of water is reached.
Since the water powered sump pump uses water as its power source, there isn’t any waste of water or energy. The water that it uses as power goes back to the earth through storm sewers or percolation. There aren’t any by products, waste, or excess from its operation.
The water sump pump works through the use of water pressure. When the water in the sump pit rises above the normal level, the float in the pit rises and opens a valve to the water supply through a base pump ejector. The flow of water creates suction that draws water up from the pit and discharges it outside. Once the float returns to an acceptable level, the pump continues to operate until the pit is completely drained.
Water powered sump pumps have to be corrosion resistant and are maintenance free since there are very few mechanical elements. They are capable of operating for an unlimited amount of time. If the power is out for an extended time, a water powered sump pump will continue to operate for days or weeks as long as there is a water supply.
For a water powered sump pump to operate properly, the water pressure to the house has to be between 40 and 90 PSI. For optimum performance, the pipes connected to the sump pump should be copper. PVC and other types are acceptable but may not provide the best performance. Galvanized piping should be avoided or replaced. The water powered sump pump is connected directly to the municipal water system right after the meter.
Overview of Sump Pumps
Sump pumps are a crucial form of protection, safety, and peace of mind. An abundance of water can be a major destructive force that can ruin keepsakes, furniture, carpets, and valuables. To prevent these disasters, it is important and necessary to install a sump pump. The first step in the process is digging the sump pit where the water can collect to be dispersed.
There is a spot in a foundation where water accumulates. In many ways, water is predictable. It will always seek a low spot to collect. With that in mind, when planning a sump pit, find the lowest point in the basement or crawl space. It can be guaranteed that is where water run-off will be accumulated.
Though the low spot may be the most likely, there is one other consideration that has to be considered. Depending on the construction of the property, the low spot may have drain lines or utility lines nearby or running through it. When planning a sump pit, it is important to proceed very slowly and cautiously being on the lookout for blockages or utilities.
The pit should be located in a spot that is away from any openings. This will remove the possibility of a drop in temperature freezing the system as well as having debris or excess water leaking into the sump pit. Though sump pumps have simple mechanisms, it is important that they be protected from any outside influences.
A final precaution is to keep the space around the sump pit clear of storage items. It is advisable to clear a space of at least two to three feet. This will afford easy access to the sump pump for testing and maintenance. In the off chance that the pump does malfunction, precious or valuable items would not be damaged or destroyed.
The standard sump pit is two feet wide and two a half feet deep. As with drains or utility lines, make sure there aren’t any roots, large rocks, or other obstructions in the pit. The size of the hole should be the size of the liner. It will most likely be necessary to rent a jack hammer to cut through the concrete floor.
The sump pump liner, or basin, is a perforated round plastic container. The perforations in the liner permits water that rises in the soil to collect in the liner but prevents gravel or debris from entering the sump pit. Though plastic is the most commonly used liner, they are also available in other materials such as fiberglass and cast iron.
The liner has to be level and fit easily into the pit. Empty spaces, or voids, should be filled with dirt to secure the liner in place. It is essential that the liner be level throughout the installation process. If the liner is installed incorrectly, there can be damage to the sump pump that can include debris or dirt. Proper installation of the sump pit liner guarantees that the sump pump will work flawlessly for years.
The final step of installation is to create a smooth surface around the edges of the sump pit. This will serve two functions. First, it will give a snug fit for the liner preventing it from shifting during sump pump operation. Secondly, smoothing the edges will make it easy to maintain and check the pump.
Sump Pump Pit Installation
A sump pit is a water reservoir located below floor level. The pump body and intake system is lowered into it. Most sump pit liners are 20 to 30 gallons and can be purchased at any local store. Pit liners are usually made from durable polyethylene plastic and are corrosion, acid, alkali, and frost resistant. Small pit liners that are less than 20 gallons are not recommended though they may be less expensive but will cause a sump pump to overwork and burnout.
For a new installation, a hole needs to be cut in the concrete floor of the foundation. This may require the use of a rented jackhammer. The top edge of the sump pit, where the lid will rest, should be slightly lower than the level of the floor. This will provide an efficient collection area in case of a broken water pipe, leaky hot water tank, or other water problems. The broken concrete around the edges of the sump pit should be sealed and smoothed with pre-mixed mortar so that the lid forms a permanent seal.
Sump pumps come with a 1 ¼” threaded connection for PVC pipe but can be converted to 1 ½” pipe thread using an adapter. The 1 ½” pipe thread is universal and is readily available. A check valve should be attached to the system to prevent water from draining back into the sump well when the pump shuts off and can be installed with clamps and a screwdriver.
PVC should be cleaned and prepared for a solid, watertight connection. Sump pumps are usually plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI, which will need to be checked periodically for faults. Extension cords for a sump pump should be heavy duty industrial quality able to handle the electrical load required by the sump pump. The outlet should be on a breaker of the proper size for the pump and be on a separate circuit to prevent other electrical connections from overloading the breaker.
Water Powered Sump Pump Installation
A water powered sump pump uses the water from the water main as its source of power. The city water supply is forced through a constricted area into an ejector. The constriction increases the speed of the water causing a pressure reduction, which sucks the water from the sump pit. The city water and sump pit water combine are removed through the discharge line. Electricity or power of any kind is not required, and the sump pump works automatically. You can feel safe with a water sump pump as backup protection when the power goes out. Water pressure backup pumps run on municipal water pressure when the lights go out and an electric powered sump pump shuts down.
A properly installed water powered backup sump pump will be able to protect a home in the worst possible conditions. One of the conveniences of a water powered sump pump is their low maintenance since they do not have a motor and have a very simple design.
A water pressure backup sump pump is installed above the primary sump pump system and works simultaneously with it should the need arise. There are various types of water powered sump pumps available and should be selected according to your situation and need.
With the increased effort to protect the environment, a water pressure backup sump pump is powered by water pressure and is an energy saving solution. There is no need for concern about battery disposal, gas or other environmental effects used to generate electricity. Water sump pump installation is easy and simple making it a perfect solution for a backup sump pump.
Sump Pump Tips
Areas with serious water problems require the installation of a sump pump. These handy devices can be installed in the lowest part of the foundation. They are designed to activate when the water level in the sump pit or water collection pit reaches a preset level. When planning to purchase any property, it is important to check various areas for noticeable water damage and if there is a sump pump installed. Areas with heavy rains and snow runoff can be prone to flooding and water damage.
The best choice of a sump pump is a submersible one that sits below the water level in the sump pit and can be covered with a lid, which reduces pump noise. An airtight lid keeps moisture from being released. Submersible sump pumps are activated as the water in the sump pit rises. They pump the water out through a pipe connected to the sump pit.
The best sump pumps have a cast iron core. They are sturdy and have a long life. Though sump pumps with plastic cores are available and less expensive, they do not have the endurance of cast iron ones. An added benefit of cast iron sump pits is their ability to dissipate heat buildup into the surrounding water, which adds to their life span.
A well designed sump pump does not have a screen on the intake, and the impeller is able to handle solids up to a half inch. The impeller on a sump pump increases the pressure on the water entering the sump pit and forces it outward away from the sump pump and buildings.
The switch on a sump pump is very critical and has to be specifically designed to function in an emergency. Mechanical switches are preferable to pressure ones for the best possible performance. The float on a sump pump sits in the water in the sump pit and activates the switch when the water level gets too high. It should be solid to avoid it being clogged or failing to switch off.
If there is a possibility of electrical outages in an area, it may be necessary to install a backup sump pump to take over for the primary when the electricity goes out. Backup sump pumps operate on battery power and can remain in use as long as the power is out. They are excellent preventive and protective measures especially in areas where heavy rain or snow are common. Most backup systems come with an alarm that activates the secondary pump and sends a notification of the primary sump pump’s failure.
Combination packages are available that include a primary and backup sump pumps, an alarm system, controller, and a battery casing. These well designed packages are a safe and convenient solution to any type of flooding problems.
Why you need to install a Backup Sump Pump
A sump pump is one of the most important, but ignored, disaster prevention pieces of equipment. When it fails, the results can cause thousands of dollars of damage, major repair work, and an increase in insurance premiums. Spending some time and little extra money to avoid such failures is a sensible solution.
A common preventative measure is to keep a replacement pump on hand in case the primary pump dies. Having a replacement handy won’t help if you’re away during a power outage or if the pump dies while you’re asleep during a storm. A sump pump backup system, regardless of the reason the primary fails, will activate when a switch on the primary indicates that there has been a failure.
Causes of Sump Pump Failure
A common reason for primary sump pump failure is a power outage caused by downed power lines, electrical storms, or some other form of disaster. Other forms of power outages can also cut off the supply of electricity such as an overload on an electrical circuit. Electricity in the air can trip the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) in an outlet, or the system may be accidentally unplugged.
As sump pumps age, they tend to wear out and stop operating. Inexpensive sump pumps that are too small to handle the flow of water from a rainstorm or rapid snowmelt tend to have a very short usage life. Though the initial cost is attractive when purchased, they are built of less durable materials, have smaller motors, and lose pumping efficiency. When there is a deluge of water, their motor will burn out or does not eject water efficiently.
A poor quality float switch can fail. Wide angle tethered float switches that free-float around the sump basket can get blocked, sink, or not function properly. They whirl around the sump basket making them likely to get trapped against the pump, discharge pipe or power cord. Once the switch is trapped, it can’t switch on the pump. Inexpensive switches, as with inexpensive sump pumps, wear out or cause motor burnout.
Sump Pump Battery Backup Systems
A backup battery power supply provides automatic power for a sump pump in an emergency. It is especially important if you live in an area that experiences frequent power outages such as very remote regions. Backup batteries require very little maintenance and ensure that the sump pump will remain operating in all conditions.
When the power goes out, the primary sump pump will have an alarm on it that will send a signal to the backup battery, which will automatically send power to the pump. When installed properly, the system works without any concern or intervention. The purpose of a sump pump is to be a protection against water damage. They are the first layer. A sump pump backup battery serves as a second layer for insurance. They guarantee that a sump pump will be in operation without any interruption to its service.
There are several types of sump pump backup batteries. The one that you choose depends on the requirements of your sump pump. Larger units intended for residential sump pumps need a battery with sufficient power to meet the demand. Most pump backup power supplies run on 1/3 to 1/2 HP and are easy to install.
The main types include:
- DC or deep cycle marine batteries, which operate like a regular car battery. They need little maintenance but should be checked regularly to ensure they are fully operational.
- Lead acid batteries are the most economical option but require regular upkeep.
- AC/DC sump pumps can operate easily from battery power.
- Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) have extended running power and can last up to 7 years. AGM is the best choice since they can work in a wide variety of conditions and are resistant to vibrations such as an operating sump pump.
- Gel batteries are valve regulated lead acid batteries that are maintenance free. They are good for installation for sump pumps since they can easily operate in crawl spaces with little ventilation.
We tend to ignore and forget about a sump pump since they tend to operate without any interference. Adding a backup battery system to supply electricity in emergencies is an intelligent response to potential problems.
Sump Pump Maintenance
Property located in areas with heavy rainfall or melting snow usually have a sump pump to remove water build up and prevent flooding. These handy devices are designed to perform their job automatically when the level of the water in the sump pit, located in a low corner of a basement, reaches a preset level. Though sump pumps are a critical part of property protection, they are usually ignored until they fail to function, and flooding occurs.
The purpose of a sump pump is to protect property from costly repairs due to water damage and are an essential piece of safety equipment. There are regular steps that need to be taken to ensure a sump pump is working properly.
- The first step in checking the condition of a sump pump is to examine the electrical supply. All sump pumps depend on a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter), which may turn off on its own. It is important to make sure the GFCI is working properly and power to the sump pump is not being interrupted. The electrical cord should be checked for any wear or damage.
- There are incidences when, during operation, a sump pump may tilt to the side or be out of alignment and block the operation of the float. During an inspection, it is important to be sure that the sump pump is upright, and the float is moving freely.
- Every sump pump has a pipe connected to the sump pit where accumulated water is discharged. It has to be checked for dirt, gravel and debris. Blockages or obstructions cause the pump to work harder and increase the chance of an overflow.
- If there is a screen on the intake pipe, it should be checked for debris or blockages.
- Depending on the size and type of pit, there could be debris collecting around an opening or inside the pit. The best practice is to have the area around the sump pump clear by two or three feet. Nothing should be stored or piled near it.
- A critical part of a sump pump is the float that measures the amount of water in the sump pit and turns the pump on when the water level gets too high. It is important to make sure that the float is unobstructed and free of any blockages.
- The final step is to check how the pump operates. Fill a bucket with water and pour it into the sump pump pit. As the water level rises, the float will trigger the pump to activate and drain the water. You may want to repeat this a few times to ensure all facets of the pump are working properly.
- Combination systems have a battery and backup pump to take over when the primary pump is not working. Most of these types of sump pump systems have a controller that allows you to check each part of the system. An essential component is the alarm that is triggered when the primary sump pump fails due to faulty electricity or malfunctions. Since there are multiple components to this type of sump pump system, it is important to test every component.
- Some sump pump systems, as an added protection from power failures, have a backup battery. As with all of the other components, the battery should be checked regularly and be replaced every two or three years as an extra precaution.
Since the mechanism of a sump pump is relatively uncomplicated, the majority of repairs are simple and inexpensive. If the motor needs replacing, it may be best to have a new sump pump installed instead of wasting money on repairing the motor. Most experts say that a sump pump should be replaced every ten years regardless if it is working or not.
Sump pumps are designed to protect our homes from water damage and unforeseen disasters. As with all equipment, it is important to do regular maintenance for the best possible performance of the system. Yearly maintenance checks can save time, worry, and money.