Zoeller vs Basement Watchdog

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Old 05-18-20, 09:52 AM
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Zoeller vs Basement Watchdog

Replacing a zoeller 1/2hp primary pump. Hasn't failed, but it's 7 years old and I'm trying to be proactive, runs fine as far as I can tell, but during heavy rains, it runs every 20-30 seconds.

I have a basement watchdog backup with a gel battery.

Two guys I called said they'd not use the bw and only zoeller.

The other guy who gets great reviews and is cheaper says he wouldn't touch a zoeller because the float system is too finicky and he recommends the cast iron 1/2 hp bw with a dual float.

Both brands get decent reviews, but zoeller does seem more mainstream... Any recommendations or thoughts about which way to go? My main concern is simply durability, ie is the bw a bargain brand that'll fail sooner on me? Or is it really just preference/price but no substantial difference?

Thanks so much!
 
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Old 05-18-20, 01:12 PM
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Picture snapshot from my monitoring app pump spy

Just to illustrate a snapshot into how hard it's working. Been raining heavily the last couple days. I live in the Chicagoland area

Picture didn't work, sorry can't see where to delete on my phone, so please ignore
 
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Old 05-18-20, 03:54 PM
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it runs every 20-30 seconds
7 years is not old for a pump, but if your pump is running every 20-30 seconds then you have it set wrong and that rapid cycling will be the death of any pump.

Needs to be raised so that more water collects and the pump runs longer but much less cycles!

Wayne and Liberty are some of the better pumps I go too!
 
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Old 05-18-20, 04:02 PM
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It really only runs that often after a more sustained rain storm. Still need to reset?

Thank you for the advice!
 
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Old 05-18-20, 04:11 PM
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I would do whatever you can to maximize the tidal volume in your sump and minimize the pump's on/off cycling. It free and easy to do and it can extend the life of the pump.

If you want to be proactive I would get a replacement pump and float switch and any tools you would need to install them and just keep them on hand. When your old pump eventually dies you've got everything at hand to quickly put in the replacement.
 
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Old 05-19-20, 04:01 AM
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In my estimation the Zoeller is the best. I've seen both my son and daughter use various types of back-up system. And eventually they all fail. And always when it's needed. Funny how that works.

The best advice is what PD suggest. Get a replacement pump with all fittings ready to just pop in (an exact duplicate is nice). Also I'll recommend a water alarm to alert you when and if the pump fails. Yes you need to be there to hear it.

Adjust the cycle time. Prop the pump on bricks if need be. Use check valve either at the pump discharge or about half way up the pipe discharge.

You could go with an ejector water pump as a back-up. I don't like those because you're just adding more water to the problem. Yes it will empty the pit but it comes right back in to add to the rain already coming down.

 
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Old 05-19-20, 08:08 AM
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I'm unclear as to how raising the pump makes it run longer. I get that there will be more water to pump, but the pump can only take in water at the bottom of itself. So if the entire pump is raised, how will it ever suck up the water below itself?
 
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Old 05-19-20, 08:29 AM
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You normally do not raise the pump. You change the position of the float switch so it allows the water to rise higher before the pump turns on. You also want to adjust the float switch so the pump runs long enough to pump the water as low as possible.

Raising the pump also raises it's water pickup. Doing that will leave more water behind in the sump that can't be pumped out. The main reason for doing this is if the pump is picking up sediment off the bottom of a sump that has no bottom.
 
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Old 05-19-20, 08:32 AM
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That's what I thought, but I was confused by the suggestion to prop the pump up on bricks.
 
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Old 05-19-20, 08:55 AM
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You guys are awesome, thanks for the helpful replies.

The guy that did the work on my backup sump said he wouldn't touch a Zoeller cause of the finicky float (he's recommending a BW cast iron with dual float) - from what I'm reading I'm thinking certain Zoellers don't let you adjust the float??, unless I'm completely off on that cause that doesn't sound right.

In any case - I really do appreciate the advice. I think I'm jumping the gun - this is probably not in need of replacement yet but I should be prepared.

According to the pump spy monitoring I put on there, the month of May through May 18th.. cycle length on average is 5 seconds or so. The day with 878 cycles / 5162 gallons total (bad rain on May 17th) is what really got me thinking about this in the first place, but in your opinions is this relatively normal depending on grading and rain levels? Other than that bad day, total through May 18th in the month of May, I've had this run 2297 cycles for a total of 12,723 gallons. We have one side of the house and a neighbor's downspout that aims water towards my house (unfortunately their builder dug it out into our yard, we built several years after them).
 
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Old 05-19-20, 11:43 AM
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I have two Zoeller M53s in my sump pit. The big problem with these particular pumps is that the float is built in, which definitely leads to short cycling. When the plumber put my first M53 in (replacing a 15 year old Little Giant of some sort), it cycled so much that the contacts on the float switch started to weld together - leading to the pump running continuously. Or even worse, sometimes the contacts wouldn't make at all - leaving the pump not to run.

I solved the problem by first using an external vertical float switch. I was getting about a year out of the vertical float switches, but they too ran into issues with the contacts not working.

I next switched to an electronic sensing switch by Basement Watchdog. It was much more reliable, but the cycles were way too short. Finally I stumbled across a better model that has an adjustable run time. Success! Now the pump cycles less frequently and runs for at least 30-45 seconds at a time. Honestly I could go for a bit longer run time, but I finally have something that has been relatively stable for the last few years.
 
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Old 05-19-20, 12:21 PM
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This is in line with what I believe he was saying about the Zoeller. Good pump, but apparently a somewhat known thing that the built-in switch can lead to the short cycling. Mine will run about 5 seconds at a time, every 20-25 seconds on days of a bad rain storm. But on a day like today which is somewhat wet, misty with occasional rain, I've heard it run maybe twice all day long thus far.

Thanks!
 

Last edited by ddeshpan; 05-19-20 at 12:52 PM.
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