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 water-powered backup sump pump
Author: btuftee (IA)

Seeking advice on a good water-powered sump pump to use as a backup. I'm getting ready to do the final steps of finishing off part of the basement (drywall, flooring, doors, baseboard, etc.), and I think it's a good idea to invest in a backup sump pump. We had an unusually wet spring this year, and a torrential rainfall last month would have put water in our basement if we'd had a power failure. Another storm did kill our power today, but fortunately it hadn't rained in awhile, and the sump is dry so far. For the nearly four years we've lived here, the sump is usually dry (unless we have clogged gutters and a big rainstorm), but this year we've had water in it from about March until mid-July, and there would be water to pump out after pretty much any significant rain.

I've looked at the battery backup systems, but it seems like for the price of a battery system alone (which might die out if we get a long power outage), I can get a redundant pump AND a redundant power source in a city water-powered system. With the battery system, I still only have one pump, so if it dies, I'm in trouble too. I like the idea of having two pumps and two sources of power.

So far, I have seen a pump from Zoeller (Home Guard), and one from Liberty (SumpJet). Just looking at the diagrams, I'd say the Liberty pump looks easier to install. Price-wise, they're about the same, around $150. Doing the plumbing itself will present no problems for me, I'm just curious if anyone could recommend one of those systems, or another system I haven't heard of.

Thanks!

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

Many of us plumbers here shy away from these water powered back up pumps.

The Zoeller pumps 1 gallon out for every gallon used and the Liberty claims 2 gallons out for every gallon used. In times of flooding do you really want to add extra water to the mix?

Another factor with backup pumps is they tend to have about 1/2 the pumping capacity of a regular sump pump. If the pump you have as barely keeping up with your basement flooding a water powered pump will just allow your basement to fill in twice the time.

The cost is not clear as many areas require additional backflow protection. If you are required to have a RPZ backflow preventer it costs more than the pump itself doubling the cost + some.

Many of us recommend a stand by generator fueled by whatever fuel you use to heat your home to assure a readily available fresh fuel supply. This generator will give you the added benefit of lights a few other appliances and cold beer in the fridge.smileys with beer

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: waukeshaplumbing (WI)

the battery backups i install are over a grand,last 6 hours continous, 28 gpm, have an alarm, and can even call you on your cell phone to let you know the alarm is going off...

$150 cant be even close to the same

sounds like your looking for a low cost alternative for an important job

i wouldnt risk my basement flooding on a $150 gizmo

get a high end battery backup sump pump, spend what seems like an outragous amount, and sleep well at night.



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: hj (AZ)

Get a secondary battery powered pump so you DO have two pumps. A water powered system uses a lot of water to run the pump compared to the amount of water it actually pumps.

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: Wheelchair (IL)

When the water starts flowing, it can get overwhelming.
When the power goes... its just a matter of time before you
hear someone utter, "Where's the Generator."
It doesn't have to be a whole house unit, just a 1750 watt unit with a large fuel tank. This way you will have a dry basement and pot of coffee to keep you happy while you neighbors are wishing that they
had one of those generators.

Everything else is just a gamble with high risks.
Best Wishes

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: hj (AZ)

Another factor with backup pumps is they tend to have about 1/2 the pumping capacity of a regular sump pump. If the pump you have as barely keeping up with your basement flooding a water powered pump will just allow your basement to fill in twice the time.

Using that logic, a pump that has one fourth the capacity will take 4 times as long to fill the basement, and one with one-sixteenth the capacity would take 16 times as long and by then the emergency might be over.

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

That would be the case...
A losing battle against a rising tide!laugh

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: btuftee (IA)

heh... our neighbor does have a small generator... so we're the "other" neighbors who wish we had his generator! Lady across the street has one too...

Pumping capacity of the water-powered pump isn't an issue, at least if the mfg specs can be trusted. At the peak of last month's downpour, I would estimate 600 gph was the pumping rate, and then, only for maybe an hour or two before it tapered off significantly. 8' of head and 45 psi water supply gives me probably around 800 gph with the Liberty SumpJet. Needing the RPZ, however, does bump my material costs from around $150 to around $300.

As far as battery backups go, are there any recommended brands (or better yet, brands to stay away from)? I see Basement Watchdog all over the place, I don't know if that means they're good, or just good at marketing.

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

Short of a generator this is probably the best system out there...
[www.sumpro.com]

Going down from that look at the Zoeller and Liberty battery back up units.
Basement Watchdog does have that marketing sounding name doesn't it?
[www.zoeller.com]
[www.libertypump.com]

One thing about 12 volt back up systems you can always use your car to recharge the battery in an extended outage. A costly generator but it works.

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Edited 1 times.

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: Paul48 (CT)

In my opinion, it doesn't make sense to spend that kind of money for a battery back-up system, that will do only one thing. A stand-by generator, or generator of any kind, can keep the pumps going, keep the $500 worth of meat in the freezer frozen.In winter, if your State gets an ice storm, and you'll be without power for days, you can run the heating system in the home.Just my thoughtssmile

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: hj (AZ)

That would be the case...

The point is that it appears, using your calculations, that the less effective the pump is the longer it would take to flood the basement. A bit counterintuitive wouldn't you say. Again using that logic, NO pump at all should mean that the basement never floods. Normally, a pump that had half the capacity, would mean that the basement would flood in half the time.

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: btuftee (IA)

Paul48,

That's a good point, spend $500 on a backup pumping system, or $500 on a little generator. But I also want a backup pump, in addition to backup power, so I'd have to buy a second AC-powered pump in addition to the generator. Also, a generator like that wouldn't be automatic, I'd better be home to fire it up.

An automatic generator with a transfer switch that kicks on immediately would be the best, but those are a pretty big investment (especially since we plan to move in a year or two). Ideally, I'd have both a generator, and a backup pumping system (with automatic power), but if I can only have one of those things today, it would be the backup pump. Ice storms do worry me as well, but not right now. I could see getting a small portable generator to run the furnace, water heater, etc., for the winter, something that I could move to the next house.

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: waukeshaplumbing (WI)

the generator has a big flaw....what if it happens when you are at work or sleeping...9 hours at work at 7 hours sleeping a day=16 hours a generator is worthless.


watchdog is the $200 HD backup sump i think...i saw one today.....i cant believe anyone would think that will save them...its so small.its like a kids toy

ruining a finished basement=$10,000-$30,000

high end battery backup (28 gpm) extremely expensive, but less than $30,000 and all the headaches and time.

when the power goes out and its raining heavily do you want to go outside at 3am and get your generator working? or do you want to go downstairs and turn your alarm off and go to sleep? whats that worth to you?

hire a plumber and ask for his best battery back up system!

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

With this puppy if you don't hear it running you probably wouldn't even know there was a power outage... Unless you tried to operate something that wasn't on the emergency generator panel...



Yep, the sump pump works, heating system works, well pump works, lights work, beer's cold.smileys with beer

Gotta love that auto start/auto transfer and auto shutdown.

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Since 1995 (3 years before Google started) PlumbingSupply.com has been THE best plumbing supplier on the web. Please visit our sponsor [www.PlumbingSupply.com]



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: waukeshaplumbing (WI)

the problem is they want something for $200 not $10,000

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: Wheelchair (IL)

Is there a cheap fix to protect tens of thousands of dollars of household equipment and headaches, with given risks?

Is there a medium investment to protect tens of thousands of dollars of household equipment and headaches, with a given risk?

Is there an expensive cost to protest tens of thousands of dollars of
household equipment and headaches, with a given risk?

I believe the answers are all posted in the previous suggestions. The homeowner will then have to make the decision based on the facts... and risks.

Best Wishes

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: hj (AZ)

"CHEAP fix" is the reason someone designed that "water shutoff aerator" in the posting up above.

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

Waukeshaplumbing,

FYI that 7KW standby generator that I posted only goes for $2200 it starts/stops and transfers automatically and is powered by natural gas or, LP gas. It even starts up and runs automatically every 7 days to exercise itself! If you had included this on some of those high $$$$ sump pump installations you have been installing for millionaire customers instead of playing with other backup methods you might have increased you profit margin and had a much more reliable system which translates into a more satisfied customer.

With the generator there is no need for batteries and 1/2 capacity pumps.
For back up pumps you install 2 alike pumps on an altenating circuit. Also your millionaire customer gets the added side benefits of having while others have not.

I'm a big advocate of standby generators Here in the northeast coast we tend to get a few hurricanes, noreasters, and ice storms. The longest I can recall being out of power was 7 days... Its a toss up which is better to have... The A/C after a tropical storm (small room units) or the heat after a winter storm takes down the lines. I always advocate fueling them on what you use for heating to ensure a fresh plentiful supply!

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Since 1995 (3 years before Google started) PlumbingSupply.com has been THE best plumbing supplier on the web. Please visit our sponsor [www.PlumbingSupply.com]

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: hj (AZ)

If you had included this on some of those high $$$$ sump pump installations you have been installing for millionaire customers instead of playing with other backup methods you might have increased you profit margin and had a much more reliable system which translates into a more satisfied customer.

Good point, except most of those have to be installed by an electrician, so the customer is not likely to buy them from a plumber.

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

The way I see it its a good job for Sparky and me...

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Since 1995 (3 years before Google started) PlumbingSupply.com has been THE best plumbing supplier on the web. Please visit our sponsor [www.PlumbingSupply.com]

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: waukeshaplumbing (WI)

the $5000 sump pump install i did recently was 4 normal sump pumps(2 45 gpm's in the old crock and 2 85 gpms in a new 36x36 crock)hooked up to the existing backup generator. That IS the right way to do it for sure....you are absolutely right...$2200 for the generator and how much more to install it? $1,000+ i would assume...

my top of the line battery backup systems are $1,285 vs $3,000

when most homeowners think $200 Home Depot special is going to save them pushing them from $1285 to $3000 is impossible.

I almost never sell the battery backups....i almost never even do sump pumps....i think 90% of people do their own.

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: btuftee (IA)

Again, it's about cost vs. risk. If I had sunk $10,000 or $20,000 into a really sweet finished basement, it would absolutely make sense to go with a high-end backup system costing over a grand.

My basement remodel is a 12x20 room that will cost me roughly $2000 in materials. Over 75% of that cost is for a tile floor and the egress window (i.e., things that won't be harmed by a minor flood). Given that scenario, does it make sense for me to drop another grand for ironclad protection from the next power outage?

Is a $400 backup battery system with a small pump (but still able to meet my calculated needs) better than nothing at all - is it simply a waste of money? Also keep in mind that I'm doing repairs/remodels on this house with an eye towards resale in a year or two. Adding about 250 sqft of finished space to my already small house (under 1000 sqft) for $1,500 is a huge boost, easily adding several thousand dollars to my home's value. Will adding the Cadillac of backup sump pump systems get me a similar return? Will most prospective buyers even notice the backup system at all, let alone the main pump?

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

They will look at any pump as Uh-Oh...
This house has a water problem....

Whether the system you have installed has them comfortable that it will work and keep the basement dry... Well who knows?

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: Paul48 (CT)

The answer can be found in his reply to me, regarding a generator.No one is ever concerned with ice storms in the summer. I spoke with a friend for 2 years abouting getting a generator. This past winter he was without power, or running water in the house for 3 days. He has one now. Sometimes folks gotta get a kick in the butt to get them movingsmile

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

The problem with major storms like ice storms and hurricanes and portable generator is fuel...

When you go to crank that thing up and discover that the gas that was in there for a whole year without it being run has gone bad and the carb. looks like a can of varnish that sat on a garage shelf with a loose lid for 5 years... Well it's a helluva time to figure that out... Me I'm handy with that kind of stuff I'd tear into that carb. and clean it up good.... But then where do I go to get fresh gas... Seems like the filling stations all use electricity to pump gas...

Bummer!

Can you tell that I have been there and done that?cry

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Since 1995 (3 years before Google started) PlumbingSupply.com has been THE best plumbing supplier on the web. Please visit our sponsor [www.PlumbingSupply.com]

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: waukeshaplumbing (WI)

you might be better off with the water driven pump than the Home Depot battery backup.

i just saw an add for the water driven pump....at 8' it does 12 gpm...most houses will be closer to 10' so its probably 10 gallons per minute. If you have a sump pump which almost never shuts off this sump pump would be just stupid...if you have a sump pump which only runs every 30 minutes when it rains then it will work just fine.

when i hear finished basement i assume $10,000+

your belongings which are stored in the basement may be worth something.

i agree that if someone see's the battery backup they will assume you have bad water problems

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: hj (AZ)

Ever hear of Stabil, and/or running the generator periodically to make sure it is functional?



Edited 1 times.

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

I have and I would have however, my ex-in-laws hadn't.
Insert serenity prayer here.... laugh

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Since 1995 (3 years before Google started) PlumbingSupply.com has been THE best plumbing supplier on the web. Please visit our sponsor [www.PlumbingSupply.com]

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: Paul48 (CT)

Look at it like a potential buyer would look at it.In my opinion, a battery back-up pump system screams there's a problem they had to address.If I loved everything else about the house,I'd be looking to get it 10 grand cheaper, based on that alone.Whereas, if that same house has a back-up generator, with a 2 pump system, the pumps may go unnoticed. The generator will increase,or prevent loss of market value.

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

I would look at it as there was a problem that was solved and as an added plus I've got cold beer...smileys with beer

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Since 1995 (3 years before Google started) PlumbingSupply.com has been THE best plumbing supplier on the web. Please visit our sponsor [www.PlumbingSupply.com]

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: jerco (MD)

Hey Redwood. I'm starting to worry that you may have a little



drinking problem.

Post Reply

 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: redwood (CT)

There are no problems as long as the beer is cold!smileys with beer

Besides I had my 2 bottles for the month of July at my nephews wedding last weekend up in Portland Me where I tried out some local stuff.
I tried out a Geary's Pale Ale



& a Geary's Summer Ale



I liked the Summer Ale best.
All the rest of what they had was the herd beers.laugh

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Since 1995 (3 years before Google started) PlumbingSupply.com has been THE best plumbing supplier on the web. Please visit our sponsor [www.PlumbingSupply.com]



Edited 2 times.

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 Re: water-powered backup sump pump
Author: grea81 (IL)

I cannot install a standby generator (town home with rules).

The problem I have with battery back-up sumps is vacations. I am left with water power as a primary option. Has anyone posting here actually had any success with the Zoeller?

Much of the discussion has been about risks and relative costs. I am trying to figure out if the darn things work as advertised. The only time we lose power here is during electrical storms. The outages are rare but ALWAYS involve water.

Any feed back will be appreciated.

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