You have just invested thousands of dollars to finish your basement. Following a spring storm and power outage, you walk downstairs to discover the horror: your newly remodeled basement is now full of water. The culprit? A failed sump system that has allowed water to backup and create a nightmare of a mess.
While we get calls here at ProMaster Home Repair & Handyman of Cincinnati for this very scenario all spring and summer, this nightmare is largely preventable. Sump pump failure, whether do to power outage or pump mechanical failure is an extremely common problem for homes in Cincinnati, as most of them have a sump pump system to either remove excess foundation water or eject condensate from indoor appliance drains. Given the importance then, of a sump pump system to remove water from the basement, one must consider the prospect of its failure.
How a Battery Backup Sump Pump Saved Me
Before I share the details of how a sump pump system will prevent sump failure, allow me to share a quick story. For many years during my military service, I was stationed in Grand Forks, North Dakota. For those who have been to the eastern part of North Dakota know that the geography is flat and extremely wet. Like homes built in Cincinnati, our home in North Dakota had a full basement. The problem, however, is that the soil’s water table would often reach as high as 4 feet below grade. Consequently, our sump pit collected water from the drain tile around the foundation of the basement about 9 months out of the year-whether it rained or not! It wasn’t until the ground froze sufficiently that the sump would stop. Without a properly functioning sump system, our basement would have become an underground swimming pool.
The problem of ground water was so pervasive in this area that it wasn’t uncommon to see several sump systems installed in or around a home’s basement. Homeowners typically purchased backup electric generators not to keep their refrigerators running during a power outage, but to keep their basements from flooding. After my wife and I experienced several power outages ourselves followed by basement flooding, we knew that we could not finish our basement without figuring out a way to automatically backup the sump pump should it or its power source fail.
That is when I discovered that several manufacturers were producing battery-powered backup sump pumps. These units incorporate a small “emergency” pump powered by a 12 volt deep cycle marine battery to operate when the primary sump pump either fails or loses power. Governed by a separate electronic control head and float switch, the battery backup sump pump system operates autonomously, requires precious little maintenance and alerts the homeowner any time the primary sump system fails.
The battery backup sump pump system saved my basement on numerous occasions whether from a mechanical failure of the sump pump, or the occasional storm-related power failure. The thousands of dollars saved (not to mention hassle) is well worth the cost of the system. Since then, I swore that I would never own a finished basement again without a battery backup sump pump.
Battery Backup Sump Pumps – Easy to Install, Simple to Maintain
Conceptually, these battery backup sump systems are extremely simple. They provide a completely redundant pump, power source and check valve to the existing sump pump system-thereby “backing up” the major causes of a sump failure. The electronic control head of the battery backup system includes an AC power adapter that plugs into the wall, keeping the deep cycle battery topped off with a full charge until it is needed. These kits also contain a separate float control switch to activate the pump should the water level in the sump pit rise too high. Irrespective of the reason why the sump water backs up (primary sump failure, power outage, check valve failure, or excessive water flow from a storm) the battery backup system will activate and eject the water out of the home instead of flooding the basement.
Given that battery backup systems are extremely inexpensive, simple to install and easy to maintain there is frankly no excuse for a homeowner not to install one. Basic units with battery and materials can be purchased for under $250 and the average do-it-yourselfer can install the system themselves with a few simple hand tools in under 2 hours. Larger systems that tout higher volume pumps and longer battery backup run-time can cost several hundred dollars more. For those who rely on a professional to maintain or repair their homes, a basic system can typically be installed for under $500.
Backup Sump Pump = Peace of Mind
If your home has a sump, odds are it will fail at the most inconvenient time possible. Given that most of the power lines here in the Cincinnati area are above ground, we are susceptible to thunderstorm-related power outages. It is during these heavy downpours when a sump system must function to keep the basement dry. Therefore, a battery backup sump pump system is a must for any home that relies on its sump to eject excess foundation water.
Since sump pump failure and water backup is an almost certainty for most homes and most homeowners insurance policies have deductibles in the $500 to $1000 range, installation of a battery backup sump pump makes financial sense. The cost of preventing the problem is usually less than the insurance deductible! Not to mention the peace of mind knowing that your basement and its belongings are protected from water damage.
Sump Pump Repair Service is a great choice for those who don’t have the time or inclination to perform their own battery backup sump pump installation.