Advice on sump pump battery backup system


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Old 06-19-15, 04:05 PM
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Advice on sump pump battery backup system

Hello everyone! This is my first post here. Our dewatering system has worked well in the two years we have lived in our house. Two weeks ago we had a 12 hour power outage due to a bad storm. Without power, our dewatering system was out of commission. We took on water in the basement but it wasn't terrible, but will cause us to replace some carpet. Our system has two separate AC (plug into wall outlet) sump pumps in two separate pits. We want to put in a battery backup but no idea what would be a good choice.

Had a dewatering company out today. He suggested that we replace the current AC pumps ( they're 5-7 years old) and get a their suggested battery back up system which included a DC pump that would only come on if the power went off and run off a deep cycle battery. So technically we would have 3 pumps total in that scenario. He said the battery would need to be replaced every 3 years. Total cost $3500 all installed.

The other option was that they replace the 2 pumps, and we could go buy our own backup system from Lowes. They would install those for $50 a pit. That option would be around $2000.

My question is what would be a high quality battery system I could get from a big box store? It looks like most the systems I Googled come with another pump too (like Watchdog). So will I need a 3rd pump regardless or is there something decent I can get just as a battery backup to my existing two pumps? I am a complete novice as I have only been a homeowner for 2 years. Any advice or first hand experiences would be apprecisted!
 
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Old 06-19-15, 04:22 PM
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One of the key questions is, do you need protection for when you are gone? Battery backup systems have a limited run time, but do not require any action from you. A simple generator would require someone starting it and connecting it to the desired pumps or appliances.

My choice for the money they are suggesting would be to consider a generator with a cur0ver switch. it can all be automated or if you will be home 99% of the time then some manual control might be acceptable.

With a generator you would certainly be able to use the pumps you have and selected other household appliances. I see you are in cold country, so maintaining some heat would be desirable.

Others will add comments as well.

Bud
 
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Old 06-19-15, 04:33 PM
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Thanks for the reply Bud. I looked into generators like you described but the maintenance turned me away from those including the cost and cost to install. Would prefer to just do the battery backup. I know the battery will only last so long, but it will be better than having no backup at all. Looked at backups that run off city water too but those have less pumping power and use a lot of water to run the pump.
 
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Old 06-19-15, 05:58 PM
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I don't know why you are limiting yourself to what you can get from a big box store. They sell products on which they can make the greatest profit margin so sometimes what they sell is not the best available. It could be the best but don't assume that it is. You are going to spend a significant amount of money so I would not limit my choices to what'a available at a big box.

Keep in mind that very generally the juice coming from a wall outlet is 10x more powerful than a battery. If your basement needs two AC powered sump pumps you will likely not get by with one DC backup. No matter how much you want one DC pump to work you have to run the numbers to see if it's capable of doing what you need. When you start talking thousands of dollars for a battery backup system you are in the neighborhood of a generator and a generator has the added benefit of providing some lights, keeping the refrigerator.

When you talk $2 to $3.5k you are right on the border. You can have a good battery system that has a known capacity and limited backup time and a recurring cost for battery replacement. Going just a bit more can buy you so much more benefit. The battery system would be great if the power goes out for an hour or two. The generator will really come into it's own when the power is out for longer, especially in summer.

I've gone through three week long power outages. Two have been in summer and one in winter. Winter was the easiest. A fire and a good sweater work wonders but when the AC is out from a summer thunderstorm/tornado the unyielding heat and humidity makes a working refrigerator and the cold beverages and food it can provide worth their weight in gold.
 
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Old 06-19-15, 06:09 PM
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You didn't say, will this need to operate while you are away, say on vacation?

Here in the northeast we went through the ice storm of 98 and people were without power for weeks. Homes froze solid, basements filled and froze, pipes burst, and it was an extreme occasion. Many after that either had or purchased generators. I ran around with a gen from a neighbor and warmed up some homes and ran their refrigerators and sump pumps. But it isn't a simple process as you can't just power the panel in the house. But there are cut over systems that can be activated manually or automatically. To have a 6,000 watt generator in the garage for the just in case situations (less than $500) where you could run a power cord into the basement to power those two sumps is about as simple as possible. Plus, you have a solution that would be very helpful if power went out for a few days. It could also recharge those batteries.

If you sump requirements are minimal, and a single battery powered pump would do the job, having a third pit or converting one of your current pits wouldn't be that bad, it just those prices you quoted that bother me.

Bud
 
 

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