View Full Version : Sump pump advice needed

Erin Stringer
01-04-2005, 8:21 PM
Last friday I went to the basement and discovered water covering a 15'x15' area, it wasn't too deep fortunately. After assesing that nothing too valuable was wet I went about assesing the cause and cleanup. The cause is a switch that doesn't want to work on the sump pump. I tapped the pipe and it switched on and proceeded to run for quite some time. The builder is going to replace this pump but I'm not sure I want to trust their stuff long term.

I have some questions;
1) Is there a sump pump out there that will not kick the bucket after 1.5 years in service?
2) Is there a switch type that is best (diaphragm, float, etc)?
3) Do the battery backup systems work?
4) Do I want to shop at a plumbing supply place or is my local borg adequate?

I was fortunate to not lose anything of value this time but spring will be here in a few short months and I don't want my new walls and tools to get soaked if the system fails again.

Thanks for any advice or ideas.


Dan Mages
01-04-2005, 8:37 PM
I have two sump pumps for my house.... long story, darn building inspectors. I have a Flotec and a Ridgid pump. These are both available at the local borg. There are a few models that have a lifetime warranty. They may be a bit more money, but I think it is worth it. The choice between diaphram and float depends on how deep the well is. Float type pumps work well in shallow wells. Battery systems do a good job and is good insurance for a flooded basement.


Joe Mioux
01-04-2005, 8:55 PM
Well this is an oportune thread....

Last night at 9:30 pm,one of my kids walked down in the basement and got wet feet. GFCI kicked out. Anna called the carpet cleaner guy, he, and two of his employees showed up at 11:00 pm and work till 1:00 am today. At 5:00 pm today, they came back to remove ruined stuff and dissinfect the wet areas.

The carpet in the finished area, THAT WE JUST REMODELED, is only 6 months old. The good news is that is just wet and not ruined. Three commercial fans and a commercial dehumidifier running since last night is elminating the water.

No I do not have a dual sump pump. This has been my on agenda for 6 months, well too late for me.

Luckily the furniture is not ruined.

Yes, we will install another sump pump and a battery back up. As you can tell the sump is working fine but the power to it failed.

At my Carlyle shop, the building is 14 years old and we have burned up 7 or 8 sump pumps in those 14 years. Part of the basement is located over an old well. I have had the shop basement flood about 4 times. In those instances I just took some greenhouse fans down there and circulated the air. In a couple days everything is back to normal.

Moral of all this meandering..... have a dual sump pump system and make sure the secondary pump is on battery back up!


Jim Becker
01-04-2005, 9:20 PM
We are soon to replace ours and are strongly considering a model with the battery backup function. Our sump pump is important, not only to clear the water from a high water table and occasional heavy rains coming through the stone foundation but also because it deals with the grey water from the washing machine. The one in the house is pretty old and every once in awhile the switch gets "stuck"...in the off position.

Wm Bauserman
01-05-2005, 12:39 PM
The cadillac of sump pumps is the Wayne Smart pump. It is a true 12/24VDC pump that runs off AC (converted to DC) until the power goes out and then automatically switches to your battery backup. It is a fullsized pump and not an undersized battery backup pump like 90% of the battery backup models out there. The pump controller tests the pump every two days and will even tell you what capacity your batteries are at. The annunciator panel will tell you the exact status of the pump - pump running, pump in turbo mode, over-capacity, etc. If the pump clogs, it will try and clear the clog by reversing the direction. Great little pump if you don't want to ever worry about losing power in a rain storm. I have no connection to Wayne, just know a bunch of people with the pumps. The local power company even sells them in VA (though at greatly inflated prices).

That said, a sump pump needs annual maintenance. You should pull it at least once a year and make sure it is not corroding or getting clogged. You should also check the switches, they are the weak link and will usually fail first. Most switches can be easily rebuilt if the pump is still good.

Jim Hinze
01-05-2005, 12:56 PM
If you have city water (not well), you can buy a "sump buddy" at the borg which is a water driven backup pump... that way if you do have a power outage, it will continue to run when a backup's battery would have gone out.

It takes a little more to install (has to have a separate water source), but is well worth it.

Rob Russell
01-05-2005, 1:44 PM
We used to have a sump pump for our basement. Our house is on the knee of a hill and is apparently right in the flow of underground water. When the one that came with the house died, I replaced it with a Zoeller Mighty-Mate submersible - great little pump.

We no longer need a pump. Our house sits up above street level. We had a contractor dig a trench and run a gravity feed pipe from the sump down to the storm sewer in the street. My basic rationale for the pipe was that pipes don't wear out and gravity doesn't need electricity to work. We have had no floods from underground water since. If that option is open to you , it;s worth considering.

Donnie Raines
01-05-2005, 3:44 PM
For what it is worth:

Ask your insurance agent for water/sewer back up to be added to your homeowners policy. Most standard policies do not cover this...it needs to be added as a supplement. For those with finished basements this could be a life saver. For those who dont keep much down stairs...it may not. Also, water sewer back up extends(check with your agent for better details on the coverage) beyond the basement area. If you have a john that flows back up and damages carpet or hardwood floors...thats an item that could be covered as well. If a sump fails(either broke or inoperable do to power source failure) and you have water sewer back up coverage...you would be covered.

Check with your agent...the cost is very reasonable.

Erin Stringer
01-05-2005, 9:44 PM
Well, after a couple of hours online it seems that there are quite a few different systems available for battery backups. The Wayne does indeed look like the cadillac of the backup systems, I'm just not sure I can swing $1000 for the system right now. I also found quite a few places listing the Basement Watchdog. I didn't find any comparison or forum type sites though so my research is limited to retail type websites.

If anyone out there has any more info or experience with backups I would love to hear it.

Thanks, Erin

Wm Bauserman
01-06-2005, 10:03 AM
There are quite a few different answers to the question. If you just want to know if the water is starting to back up, there are quite a few high water alarms on the market, a wireless one will run around $20-$30 and will alert you if the water reachs the location where you placed the sensor. Drawback is if you aren't home, there is nobody to answer the alarm.

If you are just worried about pump failure, you can buy a another pump and keep it handy or even install it (if there is room). If it is on the shelf, again you have to be home to replace it and neither one of these is a solution if the power goes out.

If you want something that is going to work during a commerical AC failure, you need a dc pump or you could buy a small generator and use that to power the pump during an ac failure (you would need an auto transfer switch if you want it to switch over while you are out). There are also water driven pumps, but they usually require you use a gallon of city water to pump around 2 gallons out, if you pump into a storm sewer it isn't a problem, in some cases you could be adding to the problem if it runs back into the house, plus you are paying water and sewer costs on the gallons you use to pump the water.

There are a bunch of different solutions, all have advantages and disadvantages and varying costs. Do any of these sound like what you are looking to do?

What type of pump do you have today? Is it a submersible or a pedestal type?

Matt Meiser
01-06-2005, 10:56 AM
We have one of the Basement Watchdog systems. Last year right after we moved in the switch on our pump failed and we got about 2" of water in the basement. I installed a new pump and the Watchdog system. I've been planning to replace the switch on the old pump and install it in the second sump (both are interconnected so only one has a pump right now.) I figure this way one pump can back the other up, except in the case of power failure. We also have a generator in case of an extended power failure. Someday I'd like to get one of the automatic generators.