Do I Need A Battery Backup For My Sump Pump?

Homeowners with basements or crawl spaces are likely familiar with sump pumps. These appliances protect your basement from flooding even if torrential rain hits your area and saturates to soil with excess groundwater. A sump system channels water to the lowest point in a basement or crawl space where it is allowed to accumulate inside a sump pit in the basement floor. An electric sump pump inside the pit pumps out the water and directs it to a storm drain or catch basin far away from the home’s foundation. Sump pumps are essential for preventing basement flooding and associated water damage. However, for many homes, especially those where flooding is a strong possibility, a battery backup sump pump provides an extra layer of protection for homeowners. It's always good to have a battery backup sump pump to prevent basement flooding in case the primary sump pump fails or there is a power outage. Let's look at why a battery backup sump pump is so necessary:

Likelihood of risk

Homeowners should assess their risk for flooding in order to decide whether a battery backup sump pump is a wise investment. To do so, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does your primary sump pump operate frequently when it rains?
  2. Does your neighborhood experience power outages several times per year?
  3. Do you have a finished basement or have appliances, furniture and keepsakes stored in the basement that would be ruined by a flood?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, installing a battery-powered sump pump installed would be a smart thing to do.

Nature's Unpredictability

Weather is unpredictable. Severe storms can hit without warning and cause power outages and flooding. When the power goes out, your electrically powered sump pump can’t operate, and won't be able to prevent that accumulating groundwater from entering your basement. A battery backup sump pump ensures that even if the power goes out, a circuit breaker is tripped, or if your primary sump pump fails for any reason, your backup sump pump will be ready to power on and effectively prevent basement flooding. While these events may only happen once in a blue moon, they do happen, and it's important to have a failsafe in place to protect your home.

Easy to maintain

Battery-powered backup sump pumps have a number of benefits, including the fact that they are relatively easy to maintain. Once installed by an experienced plumber, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to check on the backup pump on a regular basis to make sure it’s working properly and has a fully charged battery. The backup pump uses a deep cycle battery that looks just like the battery in your car. Unless the battery is labeled “Maintenance Free,” you’ll need to check the battery’s water level from time to time to be sure it hasn’t gone dry. Additionally, you must inspect the battery terminals on a regular basis to make sure they’re clean and free of corrosion. But even if the battery is in excellent condition, it’s still a battery that runs down over time unless it’s recharged. These systems include a built-in battery charger, but it’s always a good idea to make sure it’s working. If you experience a prolonged power outage and the backup pump has to operate frequently, the battery may run down before the power comes back on. For that reason, it’s important to choose a backup pump system that has the right battery capacity to protect your home. For example, if you have a primary pump that runs once per minute during the rainy season, you’ll require more battery capacity than a pump that runs every ten minutes. These differences will help you determine which battery to install and how long you can expect it to keep your pump operational without a power supply. You should discuss this with your plumber before he installs the battery backup system.

Finally, know the rating on your battery to understand its life expectancy. If it’s a 36 or 48 month battery, be sure to replace it on time just as you would in your car.

Warns you of danger

Wet BasementBattery backup sump pumps keep improving. Manufacturers are building them with increasingly sophisticated technology. For instance, even basic models are equipped with a status and information screen that tells you when maintenance is required. Most systems monitor battery status so you can tell at a glance if your battery is fully charged. These units continually test themselves and will use audible alarms to alert you when there are signs of trouble. They’ll also sound an alarm to let you know if the backup system was activated for any reason. The latest models will allow you to monitor the pump’s status from a smartphone app, and they’ll send you a text alert if something goes wrong.

Battery-powered backup sump pumps have saved countless homes from flooding and water damage. For those at high risk, a battery backup sump pump is essential. It will provide peace of mind, and might even get you a cost break on your homeowner’s insurance. Call your Roto-Rooter plumbing expert today for a sump pump consultation or to learn more about sump pumps and backup sump pumps.

Equipment Malfunction Alerts

The weather may not be at fault for an inoperable sump pump – sometimes it can come due to certain issues within the appliance itself. As water flows through the sump pump, it's likely that there will be some debris that comes with it. While this may not be an issue initially, rocks, dirt, sticks and other debris can clog the pump’s intake screen. One of the most common problems is that the power cord becomes unsecured and it floats into the path of the float switch to prevent the pump from turning on. Use zip ties to take up excess slack in the power cord and secure it to the vertical drainpipe.

Similarly, if the float switch on the pump gets stuck or doesn't activate, the pump won’t turn on and the homeowners will have to contend with a flooded basement. A battery backup sump pump is installed alongside your primary sump pump inside the pit. The plumber typically places it several inches above the primary pump so that it only activates when the water level reaches a predetermined level inside the pit. That way, the battery powered pump won’t turn on unless the primary sump pump fails to activate. If the power goes out, the battery backup sump pump will provide protection for many hours, depending on how often it must run to pump out the water.

Call a Roto-Rooter professional today to install a battery backup sump pump and to address your other plumbing needs.