Secondary sump pump needed?

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leonardotmnt
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Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by leonardotmnt » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:04 pm

We have a half finished basement that we'd like to finish completely. Right now we have a sump pump installed that's 1/3 hp that supposedly can pump up to 2,200 gallons of water every hour. We're definitely going to get a battery backup.

When we've had very heavy rains the current pump will run at <20 second intervals.

We're debating doing just the battery backup which I think would cost a little over $1,000 or doing the "TripleSafe" system which has the pump we use now + battery backup + 1/2 hp pump that will kick in if the 1/3 hp pump fails or is overwhelmed. The cost quoted for that system was $3,400 because they'd have to dig up the concrete on that side of the house to run a new pipe for the bigger pump.

Thoughts on if it's worth the extra cost for the complete system to have piece of mind? I'm concerned if the rain ever gets any worse that the first pump will be overwhelmed but the second pump might also sit unused and cost us a lot for that privilege.

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whodidntante
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by whodidntante » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:21 pm

You really don't want to line start a motor every 20 seconds. The starting current is pretty high and it creates a thermal issue. It will live a short and melty life. The motor will have a rating for how frequently it can be started. I bet it isn't 20 seconds.

I would look into possibly a bigger basin so that it takes much longer to fill. And make sure the water you pump out is getting far away and not just recirculating. Also make sure the float is adjusted correctly. At least that's what I would do.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by fru-gal » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:22 pm

After my sump pump kept getting clogged with silt, I got an "industrial" Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump, 1/3 Hp. (Famous last words) nothing seems to bother this one and it pumps out a heck of a lot of water; when I dumped it into the stand up area (about 5 feet high and 15 feet long that had filled up with water when the effete pump quit, you could see the water level go down quickly. I couldn't find out how many gallons per minute it's supposed to handle, but if I were you I'd fork out the $180 amazon is currently selling these for and try replacing your current pump with it.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:23 pm

There are 2 types of backup systems.

1. Deep cycle battery
2. Water backup

#1 is what we have. It sits above your regular sump pump. It is not big or powerful but will kick in if the primary fails or there is a power outage.

You can do this yourself (easy install). You just add a deep cycle battery to the kit. No need to spend $1,000.

https://www.amazon.com/Basement-Watchdo ... 243&sr=8-6

The water type works off a different premise. Water pressure drives a pump.

https://www.amazon.com/Liberty-Pumps-SJ ... 231&sr=8-3

Again, doesn't have to be expensive. More complicated to install as you need to tap into a water source.

Both are reasonable if you are in a wet area where your sump runs a lot (year round or spring).
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lthenderson
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:31 pm

leonardotmnt wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:04 pm
When we've had very heavy rains the current pump will run at <20 second intervals.
Personally I would invest the money in preventing the water from reaching the original sump pump. Make sure your gutters drain far away from the house and regrading so that water slopes away from your house can probably be done cheaper than your quote. Adding external drains will help too but will probably cost more than your quote.

But the benefit is that you are trying a solution instead of applying more band-aids.

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leonardotmnt
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by leonardotmnt » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:45 pm

I'm pretty confident water isn't recirculating. It's pumped out of the house and into the drain the down spout goes into. The pump we have is a 1/3 hp Zoeller but I'm not sure the model offhand. The sump isn't always running that much but that's the most it's run when we've had torrential downpours.

I've tried to regrade around the house but it hasn't affected much. We actually only have 2 sides of the foundation that are underground anyway. I'd love to put an external drain in but as mentioned I believe that would cost even more.

It is helpful to know that I was correct in thinking the pump running at 20 second intervals is far too often. I may call and see if I can get their quote down. I called the other large waterproofing company in our area but they said they'll only work on systems they installed.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by Boglegrappler » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:58 pm

How often your pump runs depends on two things.

1. How fast the water is entering the sump pit.

2. The size of the sump pit.

I would take a look at the size of your pit. Its the only thing you have control over. If you make the pit bigger, it will take longer to fill up at a given rate of water entry, and your pump won't run as often.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:14 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:23 pm
There are 2 types of backup systems.

1. Deep cycle battery
2. Water backup

#1 is what we have. It sits above your regular sump pump. It is not big or powerful but will kick in if the primary fails or there is a power outage.

You can do this yourself (easy install). You just add a deep cycle battery to the kit. No need to spend $1,000.

https://www.amazon.com/Basement-Watchdo ... 243&sr=8-6

The water type works off a different premise. Water pressure drives a pump.

https://www.amazon.com/Liberty-Pumps-SJ ... 231&sr=8-3

Again, doesn't have to be expensive. More complicated to install as you need to tap into a water source.

Both are reasonable if you are in a wet area where your sump runs a lot (year round or spring).
Note that type 2 requires water pressure. In a power failure, those with wells don't have water pressure.
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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by MikeWillRetire » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:47 pm

When the pump turns on, how many seconds does it run before it shuts off?

quantAndHold
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:58 pm

Do you know where the water is actually coming from? If my option was a $3400 system, I might be tempted to try to dig up and seal the foundation from the outside.

We have a 1/3 hp Zoeller in our basement. The thing used to run almost constantly. Then water got really expensive, and our next door neighbor planted a drought tolerant yard and stopped watering so much. The pump has run some this winter since we’ve had so much rain, but before that it hadn’t run at all for a couple of years.

That’s a long way of saying that I would expend more effort trying to stop the water from the outside before I got a jackhammer involved.

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samsoes
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by samsoes » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:26 pm

I have a Triple-Safe sump from Connecticut Basement Systems. I've read it described as a "choir of angels," and I couldn't agree more.

https://www.thumbandhammer.com/sump-pump-overkill/

During what I describe as The Great Flood of '13, a few months after I bought my house, I had 3 inches of water in my 1300 sqft basement. After cleanup and a couple of failed attempts to rectify the problem on the cheap (to no avail), I opted for the Triple-Safe and haven't seen a drop of water in the basement since. It's been years.

Some things are worth the premium price. The Triple-Safe is one of them. :beer
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Kenkat
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by Kenkat » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:31 pm

fru-gal wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:22 pm
After my sump pump kept getting clogged with silt, I got an "industrial" Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump, 1/3 Hp. (Famous last words) nothing seems to bother this one and it pumps out a heck of a lot of water; when I dumped it into the stand up area (about 5 feet high and 15 feet long that had filled up with water when the effete pump quit, you could see the water level go down quickly. I couldn't find out how many gallons per minute it's supposed to handle, but if I were you I'd fork out the $180 amazon is currently selling these for and try replacing your current pump with it.
This is what I’ve got in my basement. Worth every penny.

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bengal22
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by bengal22 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:34 pm

Kenkat wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:31 pm
fru-gal wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:22 pm
After my sump pump kept getting clogged with silt, I got an "industrial" Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump, 1/3 Hp. (Famous last words) nothing seems to bother this one and it pumps out a heck of a lot of water; when I dumped it into the stand up area (about 5 feet high and 15 feet long that had filled up with water when the effete pump quit, you could see the water level go down quickly. I couldn't find out how many gallons per minute it's supposed to handle, but if I were you I'd fork out the $180 amazon is currently selling these for and try replacing your current pump with it.
This is what I’ve got in my basement. Worth every penny.
I assume that any pump that you have it will burn out. I added a water driven back up pump that is run on city wall. I know that it is expensive to use if I lose power or if my primary pump conks out but I do not want a flooded basement. It cost me about 1000 bucks to install.
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Kenkat
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by Kenkat » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:40 pm

bengal22 wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:34 pm
Kenkat wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:31 pm
fru-gal wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:22 pm
After my sump pump kept getting clogged with silt, I got an "industrial" Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump, 1/3 Hp. (Famous last words) nothing seems to bother this one and it pumps out a heck of a lot of water; when I dumped it into the stand up area (about 5 feet high and 15 feet long that had filled up with water when the effete pump quit, you could see the water level go down quickly. I couldn't find out how many gallons per minute it's supposed to handle, but if I were you I'd fork out the $180 amazon is currently selling these for and try replacing your current pump with it.
This is what I’ve got in my basement. Worth every penny.
I assume that any pump that you have it will burn out. I added a water driven back up pump that is run on city wall. I know that it is expensive to use if I lose power or if my primary pump conks out but I do not want a flooded basement. It cost me about 1000 bucks to install.
Mine doesn’t run all that often and I do periodically check it and have replaced it once after about 15 years as preventative maintenance when the switch seemed to start getting sticky. My basement isn’t finished which is a factor as well. If I had an expensive finished basement I’d definitely put some sort of backup system in place.

retire2022
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by retire2022 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:07 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:58 pm
Do you know where the water is actually coming from? If my option was a $3400 system, I might be tempted to try to dig up and seal the foundation from the outside.

We have a 1/3 hp Zoeller in our basement. The thing used to run almost constantly. Then water got really expensive, and our next door neighbor planted a drought tolerant yard and stopped watering so much. The pump has run some this winter since we’ve had so much rain, but before that it hadn’t run at all for a couple of years.

That’s a long way of saying that I would expend more effort trying to stop the water from the outside before I got a jackhammer involved.
I agree with quantandhold, check for moisture on the basement and foundation wall, also check drainage around house see where the snow melt is, more than likely you have water source entering house from outside.

You may need to install french drainage and or culvert around house to redirect water, you may need to insulate and dig up around foundation.

willift
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by willift » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:15 pm

Your constant or frequent pump running issue might be improved using a 2 stage switch. My pump ran too often because the float kicked on before the pit really got filled up. Watch your pumps on/off process and if it looks like you could let more water enter the pit before it needs to be emptied this might be the switch for you. It's adjustable to your parameters

https://www.amazon.com/HC6000-Hi-Lo-Con ... YZ85GFK37K

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by lazydavid » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:52 pm

Instead of an AC primary with a (usually weaker) DC backup, I went for a system that uses two identical DC primaries:

http://nexpump.com/aiextremerage.shtml

Tests both pumps every 12 hours, knows if a float switch has failed, sends me weekly status updates and alerts via email/SMS if anything happens (power out, 2nd pump activated, float switch failed, etc). Supposed to let me know if a pump is going to fail in the future, so I can replace it in advance, but I haven't experienced that bit yet. In my installation, either pump by itself can evacuate about 3500 GPH, so 7k if both of them ever had to run simultaneously (which has never happened except for testing). Battery is good for about a week in average rainy season, or about two days in a torrential downpour. But our power has never been out for longer than 12 hours, and we have a portable generator.

Only had it for about 3 years so far, but definitely helps me SWAN. Would buy it again in a heartbeat. Fully expect the control unit to last 20+ years. Needs a new battery ($200) every 4 years (tells me that too), float switches are a couple of bucks if I ever need one, and replacement pumps are about $100 after the warranty expires.

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ClevrChico
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by ClevrChico » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:51 pm

I'd consider the bare minimum to be a backflow valve on your sewer, a primary pump, with a backup. Even with that, you might flood every few years. We had a huge rainstorm last year, and I was dealing with inflow of 3300 gallons/hour with rainfall of two inches/hour for hours. In the Midwest!

With a finished basement, I'd spend the few thousand and buy dual primaries, dual backups, and a generator. Anything less, and you're probably going to flood at some point. The Zoeller pumps recommended are notorious for switch and gasket failures - would not recommend, google it. I think Liberty pumps are better engineered.

I'd only cheap out if my basement wasn't finished.

Source: Been through two floods in ten years and have seen dozens of neighbors have destroyed finished basements.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by kenoryan » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:12 pm

We have 2500 square feet of finished basement and two sump pumps, one at each end of the house. I have two 1/2 hp submersible pumps installed in each pit. I do not have a backup pump, but did install a whole house generac 17kw automatic generator that runs on natural gas. I’m in Wisconsin and we do get some heavy rains in the spring and late summer. The pumps are working fine. Nice to have the generator in case of power failure. But I think the most important thing is to check on the downspouts and grading.....

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:19 pm

Another issue with pumps cycling too quickly is pumps that are too big.* Ideally the pump drains not only the pit but also the water in the gravel surrounding the pit. If the pump is too big it drains the pit and cuts off before much of the surrounding water can enter the pit.

If you watch the pit you see the pump suck it dry, switch off and then the water level rapidly rebounds to fill say 3/4 of the usable volume. The water then slowly creeps up til the pump switches on and restarts the cycle. You can also see the same thing if the non-return valve on the discharge line is broken so check that too.

You could try using a smaller pump with a larger one setup with the switch an inch or so higher, as backup for very high flows or for pump failure.

* It seems that every time someone replaces a pump they go one size up.

kenoryan
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by kenoryan » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:01 am

The submersible pumps stay cooled by the water, whereas the pedestal pumps get heated up and die much quicker when they run so frequently

investor4life
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by investor4life » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:02 am

leonardotmnt wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:04 pm
We have a half finished basement that we'd like to finish completely. Right now we have a sump pump installed that's 1/3 hp that supposedly can pump up to 2,200 gallons of water every hour. We're definitely going to get a battery backup.

When we've had very heavy rains the current pump will run at <20 second intervals.

We're debating doing just the battery backup which I think would cost a little over $1,000 or doing the "TripleSafe" system which has the pump we use now + battery backup + 1/2 hp pump that will kick in if the 1/3 hp pump fails or is overwhelmed. The cost quoted for that system was $3,400 because they'd have to dig up the concrete on that side of the house to run a new pipe for the bigger pump.

Thoughts on if it's worth the extra cost for the complete system to have piece of mind? I'm concerned if the rain ever gets any worse that the first pump will be overwhelmed but the second pump might also sit unused and cost us a lot for that privilege.
$1000 for a battery backup system seems steep. Coincidentally, last weekend I picked up a pre-assembled system (the highly-rated Wayne WSS30Vn, which includes a 1/2 HP main pump and a 12V battery-operated secondary pump, rated at 5100 and 2900 GPH, respectively, at zero lift) plus the Wayne WSB1275 deep-cycle battery. Total cost on sale was $530. It is supposed to take "just 15 minutes" to self-install but we will when I get around to installing it in the next week or so...

UALflyer
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by UALflyer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:50 am

leonardotmnt wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:04 pm
Right now we have a sump pump installed that's 1/3 hp that supposedly can pump up to 2,200 gallons of water every hour.
Is 2,200 the pump's GPH (gallons per hour) rating? If so, this is typically measured at a 1 foot head. If it has to pump out at greater distances, that figure drops.

I agree with those advising you to first see if you can do anything to improve your outside drainage. I know you've posted that you've done that, but I would take another look, particularly with a basement with only two sides below grade. I would then also look into increasing the diameter of your sump pit, which is something that several posters have also recommended. This should cause the pump to run less frequently but longer, which should substantially lighten the load on it and cause it to last much longer. I would also install a backup submersible pump.

As for a backup battery, I am not a huge fan of those, as they are expensive and tend to only work for relatively short outages. For instance, if your 1/3hp pump runs once a minute and you have a 40 amp/hour battery, the battery will only last 12 hours. As the battery gets older, its capacity will only drop. A much better solution is a permanent backup generator: it'll cost more than a backup battery, but will also power the house during power outages (meaning refrigerator, a/c, lights, etc...) and, if you have natural gas, will stay on for as long as it takes to restore the power. Unlike battery backups, permanent backup generators also generally increase the value of your house. Hence, although a generator is more expensive up front, it is a significantly better and safer solution to this issue.

Keep in mind that severe downpours and power outages tend to happen simultaneously, so we are not talking about two separate events that happen at different times.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by jharkin » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:54 am

OUr house had a no-name pedestal type when we moved in, and during the massive 2010 march rains in New England it got overwhelmed and was running constantly at one point.

Its also noisy.


I replaced that with a 1/3 HP Zoeller cast iron submersible, and added a Basement watchdog "Big Dog" deep cycle powered backup. The backup is on a separate discharge line so not only does it give us protection against a a power failure, but if the primary pump gets overwhelmed it can run in parallel (indefinitely on AC) for extra capacity.

The Zoeller has more capacity that then old pedestal so its never been an issue, and being submerged the water bath keeps it cool and I dont think there is any overheating concern with frequent cycling.

This has been enough piece of mind for me. We also regraded the lawn in the area where the most water comes in and since them have never had a repeat of the near flooding in 2010.



EDIT to add: as far as the recommendation to install a backup generator... keep in mind that if its not an automatic it will do you no good if the power fails while you're at work, and automatic systems start in the $ 5 figure and up range. That kind of money is better spent on trying to fix the grading and outside drainage IMHO. My battery backup cost less than $1k (with 140Ah ) and I have a $500 manual/portable generator I can plug in when I get home from work if the power is out and the battery system has been running a while.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by UALflyer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:30 am

jharkin wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:54 am
EDIT to add: as far as the recommendation to install a backup generator... keep in mind that if its not an automatic it will do you no good if the power fails while you're at work, and automatic systems start in the $ 5 figure and up range.
A permanently installed generator would come with an automatic transfer switch. That's the point of a permanent generator.
That kind of money is better spent on trying to fix the grading and outside drainage IMHO.
I agree that fixing his grading and outside drainage should be the first step.
My battery backup cost less than $1k (with 140Ah ) and I have a $500 manual/portable generator I can plug in when I get home from work if the power is out and the battery system has been running a while.
Right, a permanent generator with an automatic transfer switch will be in the $5K+ range, so there's a fairly significant price difference up front. A battery backup would only work for relatively short power outages though, and your manual portable generator requires you to be home and have continuous access to fuel.

On the other hand, a permanent generator kicks in automatically, runs indefinitely (assuming that it's a natural gas one), powers not just your sump pump but also your refrigerator, a/c, lights and the rest of the house, slightly reduces your homeowner's insurance, and increases the value of your house. I get that the up front price difference will still deter a lot of people and agree that your setup is not bad at all. My point is that once you factor in the benefits of a permanent generator, it can represent a better value than a sump pump battery.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:40 am

A bunch of posts about grade and leveling and drainage.

Houses with sump systems have drain tile. That routes water to the sump.

It is supposed to go there and be pumped away to a storm sewer. It keeps the ground water from just staying around the foundation.

The drain tile gives the water an easy route to follow.

If there are obvious spots around the foundation that have dropped, fix those, but an active sump is normal. Ours runs all winter and the ground is frozen with 30-40" of frost.
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by lazydavid » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:46 am

investor4life wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:02 am
$1000 for a battery backup system seems steep. Coincidentally, last weekend I picked up a pre-assembled system (the highly-rated Wayne WSS30Vn, which includes a 1/2 HP main pump and a 12V battery-operated secondary pump, rated at 5100 and 2900 GPH, respectively, at zero lift) plus the Wayne WSB1275 deep-cycle battery. Total cost on sale was $530. It is supposed to take "just 15 minutes" to self-install but we will when I get around to installing it in the next week or so...
I spent quite a bit more than $1000, but wanted to plan for every eventuality. Here's why:

A month or two after we bought our house 6 years ago, we were on vacation when the (Rigid) sump pump failed. We didn't flood badly (less than an inch), but it destroyed laminate flooring, baseboard, all of the drywall and a bunch of "stuff". Also revealed some latent mold issues and two foundation cracks that needed to be repaired. Wound up costing us about $40k to re-finish a finished basement.

Based on that, we had our plumber replace the failed sump pump with a highly rated (at the time, not so much anymore) Basement Watchdog combo unit. Also had him replace the (also Rigid) ejector pump with a giant Zoeller.

Fast forward about 4 years. We have a heavy rainstorm, and the power goes out. The backup pump ran almost continuously (shut off for 10 seconds about every 5 minutes), but kept the water at bay. Power came back on and we were good again. I actually removed the battery, carried it upstairs and put it on a commercial battery charger--one of the carts like you see at a repair shop--because the chargers on these units are notoriously weak, and it could take up to 2 days to fully recharge a dead battery.

Good thing too, because at around 10:30pm the primary pump failed (float switch tested fine). By around 3am, the battery was dead again. Made it through the rest of the night by dropping a small utility pump in the pit and running a garden hose to the bathtub in the basement so the ejector pump could push it out to the city sewer. The utility pump could almost keep up, so I would charge the battery for the backup pump for about 30 minutes, then put it back on so the pump could drain the pit down, then rinse and repeat for the rest of the night. once the storm dialed back, the utility pump was able to keep up, and I put it on the main pump's float switch.

That's why I settled on the NexPump system, which I had installed that day. If we have power, I have two functioning pumps. If we lose power, I have two functioning pumps. In either case one pump is more capacity than we need. If a pump fails while the power is out, I'm still fine, and it doesn't matter which one fails. Has a built-in 20A battery charger, so recovers quickly after outages. Tells me how much runtime I have during outages. Though one of the two float switches needs to be operable to start pumping, neither one is used to determine when to shut the pump off. Lets me know if anything is wrong with any of the components, or even the plumbing. Well worth it IMO, since I know I'll never come as close as I did two years ago to having to refinish the basement for a third time.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by UALflyer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:00 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:40 am
A bunch of posts about grade and leveling and drainage.

Houses with sump systems have drain tile. That routes water to the sump.

It is supposed to go there and be pumped away to a storm sewer. It keeps the ground water from just staying around the foundation.

The drain tile gives the water an easy route to follow.

If there are obvious spots around the foundation that have dropped, fix those, but an active sump is normal. Ours runs all winter and the ground is frozen with 30-40" of frost.
Whether an active sump is "normal" or not varies. Most houses are not originally built with a sump pump, which is added years, sometimes decades, later as a result of water issues. Those water issues can develop for a lot of different reasons, including clogged gutters (or gutters that are too small), improper drainage around the house, footer drains becoming clogged over time (in most cases, exterior footer drains are gravity drains that are routed to the storm sewer, as opposed to a sump pump), adding too many impermeable surfaces in the immediate vicinity of the house (hardscape, etc...), downspouts dumping water too close to the house, and a number of other factors. In some cases, when the house is originally built, the builder does not or cannot use gravity to route the footer drains into the storm sewer, so a sump pump becomes an inevitable part of the water management system, but most houses out there aren't built this way.

Hence, the reason that there are so many posts telling the OP to look into his grading and exterior drainage first, which ideally should be the first line of his defense. It may not completely eliminate his issues, but may still significantly reduce the amount of water flowing into his sump pump.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by lazydavid » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:13 am

UALflyer wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:00 am
Whether an active sump is "normal" or not varies. Most houses are not originally built with a sump pump, which is added years, sometimes decades, later as a result of water issues.
This is not a true statement. I've never in my entire life been in a house with a basement (which most have in the midwest) that did not have a sump pump as part of its original construction.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by UALflyer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:21 am

lazydavid wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:13 am
UALflyer wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:00 am
Whether an active sump is "normal" or not varies. Most houses are not originally built with a sump pump, which is added years, sometimes decades, later as a result of water issues.
This is not a true statement. I've never in my entire life been in a house with a basement (which most have in the midwest) that did not have a sump pump as part of its original construction.
Fair enough. Most houses in this country aren't built this way, but it is true that sump pumps are quite common in certain areas. It ultimately depends on the availability and the location of stormwater sewer. It's always better to have a gravity drain, so that you don't have to worry about any mechanical, capacity or power issues associated with sump pumps, but whenever a gravity drain isn't an option, the house would be originally built with a sump pump.

Having said that, a lot of houses everywhere are later retrofitted with sump pumps, which are intended to address some of the water issues that develop over time, sometimes years or decades after the house is originally built.

If you have a sump pump, you've got to make sure that you have solid water and sewer backup and overflow coverage through your homeowner's insurance policy. These types of claims are frequent and tend to be quite expensive, so a lot of insurance companies either do not offer it, or limit the coverage, frequently through an endorsement, to something like $5K or $10K, which is generally woefully inadequate. Some insurance companies do still offer significantly higher coverage limits though, so be sure to investigate this. This is a very important issue that most people tend to overlook.

When shopping for homeowner's insurance policies, this is one of the very first questions that I ask. If the coverage is unavailable or is limited to something low, like $10K, I do not even bother obtaining a quote.

P.S.
By the way, sounds like you did an amazing job keeping the water away 2 years ago. You definitely were on the verge of a major disaster.
Last edited by UALflyer on Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:35 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:40 am
A bunch of posts about grade and leveling and drainage.

Houses with sump systems have drain tile. That routes water to the sump.

It is supposed to go there and be pumped away to a storm sewer.
In all the towns I have lived in, having a sump plumbed into the storm sewer was against city code. I would check local codes before doing so.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by UALflyer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:41 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:35 pm
bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:40 am
A bunch of posts about grade and leveling and drainage.

Houses with sump systems have drain tile. That routes water to the sump.

It is supposed to go there and be pumped away to a storm sewer.
In all the towns I have lived in, having a sump plumbed into the storm sewer was against city code. I would check local codes before doing so.
I think that you and bloom2708 are talking about two different things: I think that you are talking about sanitary sewers (designed for sanitary waste) and bloom2708 is talking about stormwater sewers/stormwater management system (specifically designed for handling rainfall runoff and other "clean" drainage).

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:45 pm

UALflyer wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:41 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:35 pm
bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:40 am
A bunch of posts about grade and leveling and drainage.

Houses with sump systems have drain tile. That routes water to the sump.

It is supposed to go there and be pumped away to a storm sewer.
In all the towns I have lived in, having a sump plumbed into the storm sewer was against city code. I would check local codes before doing so.
You and bloom2708 are talking about two different things: you are talking about sanitary sewers (designed for sanitary waste) and bloom2708 is talking about stormwater sewers/stormwater management system (specifically designed for handling rainfall runoff and other "clean" drainage).
No, I was referring to the storm water sewers. I live in a fairly flat area and everyone pumping water from gutters (also against code) and sump pumps into the storm sewers causes them to back up into basements in certain areas of town and why it is and has been against code for quite some time. They must be pumped "to daylight" and only onto your property and away from any street opening into the storm sewers.
Last edited by lthenderson on Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:45 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:35 pm
In all the towns I have lived in, having a sump plumbed into the storm sewer was against city code. I would check local codes before doing so.
It will vary by climate/location/city.

The storm sewer (street drains) is where all the water should go (rain too). The city here provides a direct pipe to the storm sewer where possible. Mine goes out, down into the ground and into the connection to the storm sewer behind our fence. Works fine when not frozen.

During the winter (hard freeze) a home can pay $3 to $5 per month to output into the sanitary sewer system (where your toilet/faucet drains to). They do charge for that and you can only do it when outside freezes up.
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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by UALflyer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:54 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:45 pm
No, I was referring to the storm water sewers. I live in a fairly flat area and everyone pumping water from gutters (also against code) and sump pumps into the storm sewers causes them to back up into basements in certain areas of town and why it is and has been against code for quite some time. They must be pumped only onto your property and away from any street opening into the storm sewers.
Interesting. How does municipal stormwater management system backup into your basement if it's not connected to the house?

From what I've seen, this tends to only happen with combined sewers as well as with stormwater getting into the sanitary sewers and causing backups, as sanitary sewers are obviously connected to the house. You can also have municipal stormwater management systems not being able to handle all the rainfall, which results in surface flooding and the like (Houston's flooding is the most recent high profile example). Is this what you're talking about?

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:58 pm

We added a backup pump that will kick in if the primary fails OR if the flow is too rapid for the primary.

And we finally added a "most of the house" nat gas generator, with auto switch so it will work whether we are there or not.

Two reasons, especially:

First, insurance won't cover the "contents" of the finished lower level (ours is walkout, and is included in sq footage per town, but is built into ground on opposite side, so is "basement" per insurance/etc.).
So that means we'd need to sling the sofas and trundle bed, dressers, and treadmill and elliptical over our shoulders, and take 'em all out the rear door, around the garage, up the front steps and... dump them all in the LR?
Most of those pieces won't fit the tight bend at the foot of the inside stairway, and we still couldn't carry them up ourselves.

Second, functioning sump pump (e.g., battery backup) alone won't keep the pipes from freezing if winter, and... that would be a nightmare if we weren't home to keep the water running, plus we'd get rather cold eventually... Our nat gas heat still has elec thermostats and pilots, etc.

Turns out we've needed it a few times, and it was nice to know it really works other than during self testing.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:03 pm

UALflyer wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:54 pm
How does municipal stormwater management system backup into your basement if it's not connected to the house?
All the basement drains are plumbed into the storm sewer which is where the backups happen. Mostly it is older houses before backflow preventers were commonly used. The storm water systems were all designed well before sump pumps and underground gutter piping were common which is why they are simply undersized to handle all the extra run off, especially from roofs. This one is easy to see from the street by inspectors so almost everyone follows the codes here but I have seen many people get pinched on the sump pump code when they have allowed inspectors inside for other reasons. Where I live now, if you get busted, you get a written warning and a followup visit to verify you fixed it or you then get a hefty fine.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by UALflyer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:19 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:03 pm
UALflyer wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:54 pm
How does municipal stormwater management system backup into your basement if it's not connected to the house?
All the basement drains are plumbed into the storm sewer which is where the backups happen. Mostly it is older houses before backflow preventers were commonly used. The storm water systems were all designed well before sump pumps and underground gutter piping were common which is why they are simply undersized to handle all the extra run off, especially from roofs. This one is easy to see from the street by inspectors so almost everyone follows the codes here but I have seen many people get pinched on the sump pump code when they have allowed inspectors inside for other reasons. Where I live now, if you get busted, you get a written warning and a followup visit to verify you fixed it or you then get a hefty fine.
Thanks for the explanation. I still don't really understand what the prohibition accomplishes, but I guess it's one of those local quirks. Sump pumps handle the exact same water that basement drains (I assume you're talking about exterior basement footer drains) carry.

If your basement drains are connected to the storm sewer, what happens to the water that sump pumps dump onto your property? Doesn't quite a bit of it still percolate down and end up in the same storm sewer? Perhaps some of it dissipates through evaporation and the like, plus it's a slower process than dumping the water directly into the storm sewer, which gives municipal stormwater management systems time to carry the heaviest rainfall away.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by dm200 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:41 pm

leonardotmnt wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:04 pm
We have a half finished basement that we'd like to finish completely. Right now we have a sump pump installed that's 1/3 hp that supposedly can pump up to 2,200 gallons of water every hour. We're definitely going to get a battery backup.
When we've had very heavy rains the current pump will run at <20 second intervals.
We're debating doing just the battery backup which I think would cost a little over $1,000 or doing the "TripleSafe" system which has the pump we use now + battery backup + 1/2 hp pump that will kick in if the 1/3 hp pump fails or is overwhelmed. The cost quoted for that system was $3,400 because they'd have to dig up the concrete on that side of the house to run a new pipe for the bigger pump.
Thoughts on if it's worth the extra cost for the complete system to have piece of mind? I'm concerned if the rain ever gets any worse that the first pump will be overwhelmed but the second pump might also sit unused and cost us a lot for that privilege.
Yes - electrical (or other) failure is a real risk.

I have no knowledge, experience, etc. - but one interesting/fascinating type of "backup" uses your water service/pressure to "power" a pump if/when your electrical pump cannot operate due to power outage.

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Re: Secondary sump pump needed?

Post by leonardotmnt » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:54 am

I'll take another look at grading around the house. A generator sounds great but I think it's out of the budget for now as is an external drain. There's a good chance we'll just pay the cost now and be done with it since we'd like to get the basement finished and make use of it. It's a relatively high upfront cost but then we won't have to worry about it at least. Thanks for all the suggestions.

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