View Full Version : Sump pump recommendation.

Roger Feeley
09-20-2017, 9:35 AM
With all these storms in the news, I thought it would be a good time to mention basement flooding. Most insurance won’t cover the contents of a basement shop. If you lose electricity in a storm, you could be in a fix. The sell backup battery pumps but I wouldn’t trust them. If the power goes out for days, the battery won’t last long enough. Also, batteries go bad.

I recommend a water driven backup sump pump. If you lose electricity but still have water service, you are still good. I have one from Liberty pumps. I’ve never used it for real but I test it twice a year and it seems fine.

Jim Becker
09-20-2017, 10:09 AM
We lost one of our HVAC systems, water heating and some laundry gear in 2011 due to basement flooding after a sump-pump failure during "Irene" (/) or some named storm like that and that was when my real quest for a whole house generator started. (Insurance did cover it all because it was deemed a pump failure (plumbing) rather than "flooding" due to the storm) But I also keep a spare sump pump just in case the actual unit fails so I can quickly hook it up to either replace or assist the normal one if there's a major storm event. Water driven pumps are useless here without power because there's no "city water". Of course, with our generator, we do have water and could now use such an animal if necessary.

Matt Meiser
09-20-2017, 10:21 AM
The water table here is so high its a real issue. Growing up our basement flooded once every couple years. I now have a 4-tier approach.

I've had really good luck (knock on wood) with this Zoeller pump. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TK5ULA/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 My old house had 2 sumps, and I had one in each. After a few years one started to stick on, which isn't as bad as not turning on and the replacement switch is relatively inexpensive (so I really should have one on hand but I don't.)

Next, I have a battery backed pump which I check regularly. The biggest issue is they burn up batteries so assume you are going to have to replace them every few years. In the interim I regularly check the water and once a year or so when its been dry for a while I run them on the desulphurization cycle on my battery charger. We have a generator so this is mainly a backup to the main pump. This house previously had a water-backed pump which failed after a while and I guess ran for quite some time unnoticed. I guess the previous owners had a VERY large water bill.

Next, our alarm guy ran a circuit and I put a float switch on it that will trigger an environmental alarm if tripped which results in a callout to the people on the list but not 911. I have this set right above the main pump before the backup pump. There's actually a good bit of time to react to multiple failures since the entire footing drain would also have to fill before the sump overflows and that's a lot of volume. We did the same for my mom. There's a commercial unit that does something similar using an embedded cellular modem that our insurance company pushes. They'll give you an annual discount but it doesn't pay back equivalent to the cost of the unit and annual service fee so I'm keeping what I have.

As a last resort, I pay for additional water backup coverage. Its not ultra-expensive for $15K in coverage, maybe $200-$250 a year. I do not have a basement shop but even if I did, a foot or so of water in a basement shop is going to make a real mess, but a lot of stuff would be cleanable/salvageable if storage was thought out to put more easily damaged, more expensive items higher up. 1' of water in the average basement is a LOT of water and would require a problem go unnoticed for quite some time in my experience. Probably different if you have a floor drain connected to a sewer line and obviously if its running in windows or doors that's a whole different issue.

Roger Feeley
09-20-2017, 10:25 AM
A generator is the next level up. In my case we do have city water. I figure if we lose power and water both, we have bigger things to worry about.

im interested in a generator. Here in the dc area, power can go out for days. I’m not used to that. Back in kc, our outages totaled up to maybe a couple of hours over twenty years.

did you document your quest on the creek?

Lee Schierer
09-20-2017, 12:01 PM
In my case we do have city water. I figure if we lose power and water both, we have bigger things to worry about.

im interested in a generator. Here in the dc area, power can go out for days.

Most city water systems use pumps to fill water towers. I wonder how many of them have back up generators for their pumps if there s a wide area power loss.

Mac McQuinn
09-20-2017, 1:07 PM
Also a very high water table and require a Gen. for power outages. I run a "Champion" brand pump and have a back up one also. I like Champion as of the last one I purchased, they're still made in the USA, very quiet and you can change the float switch in less than 2 minutes. Only one bolt and my experience with pumps are the switch is usually what goes out.

Matt Meiser
09-20-2017, 1:51 PM
Roger, we put in a standby at our old house a few years before we moved because we had a lot of outages there and I traveled a good bit at the time. This house came with one but the power is much more stable here.

Lee, I can't speak for everywhere but a lot of water utilities used Y2K as an excuse to add standby generators. Here everyone grumbled about the cost for a couple years, until the big blackout hit.

Wade Lippman
09-21-2017, 4:23 PM
My first house was next to a creek. An ice storm dammed a culvert and the creek rose. The ice storm knocked out power, but I wasn't concerned because I had a battery powered backup, and had 60' cables to run it off my car. Water came in too fast for the pump, but I also had a gas powered pump. Water came in too fast for that also, but I had a manual pump also. Came in too fast for that also and I got 5' of water in the basement. Oh well.

Now my house has drains entirely by gravity. Much better system.

Two comments though...
1) Water powered backups are great if your needs are small. They just have small capacities.
2) Our utility serves about 2,000 people. They assure me they have a backup generator to run in power outages. If they do, I would think it was pretty common.

Justin Koenen
09-21-2017, 10:25 PM
I have lived in this location (new house) for ten years. I am on my second sump pump and am careful to buy high capacity pumps because when we get heavy rains the pump just keeps up. I have checked the capacity of water powered and battery powered units and neither of those can come close to the capacity we need. Installed a back-up LP fueled 7 KW generator (just for the necessary appliances and HVAC etc.) about 6 years ago and now I sleep well. I highly recommend comparing the capacity of your back-up choice! Justin