Sump Pumps - Primary, Battery Backup, Water Power Sump Pumps
Sump Pumps Provide Basement Flood Protection
Find Out Quickly Which Sump Pumps Are Best For Your Flood Protection Needs
Installing a good sump pump system is smart.
A good pump system:
- Is cheaper than investing in insurance.
- Saves hours of time, frustration, expense and loss of irreplaceable personal items caused by a flooded basement.
- Eliminates the potential of mold growth due to wet basement.
- Provides peace of mind when heavy rains come.
If you have not experienced a failed sump pump during a heavy rain storm, you will in your life time. Once you've experienced a flooded basement you will vow never to let it happen again.
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What kind of sump pump system could your basement or crawl space use?
We have a finished basement, live in a high water table area, get heavy rains, feel like Niagara Falls is coming through our drain tile into our pit, and often times are threatened with high pit water levels. We DO NOT want to clean up water due to a failed sump pump system.
Thinking creatively resulted in our installing a second sump pit next to our original 18 inch wide x 24 inch high pit and another discharge pipe system. The two pits are joined by a 4 inch diameter tube slanting down toward the second pit. The second pit has a top opening of 21 inches and is 24 inches wide at the bottom. Our sump pump system configuration includes:
- In the original pit
- A 3/4 HP primary sump pump running on electricity
- A 1/3 HP equivalent backup sump pump running on battery
- In the second pit
- A 1/3 HP primary sump pump running on electricity
- A 3/4 HP primary sump pump which can run on electricity or act as a backup running on our DC to AC inverter.
- On standby, we have a new 1/2 HP primary sump pump with an attached flexible tubing for temporary usage or removal of flexible tubing for permanent installation.
Before installing the second pit we would stay awake at night during heavy rainstorms and frequently check the pumps to see how much water was coming through the drain tile. Since we installed our second pit, we now sleep peacefully.
Or do you wish to learn more about Sump Pumps?
Learn how to select the best sump pump for your water pumping needs.
What type of sump pump do you need?
Sump Pumps are identifed by four common styles. They are primary, backup and combination. A pedestal sump pump can be either a primary or backup pump. A water powered pump can be a backup pump.
- A primary sump pump is the main pump and should run on electrical current (AC). This is your main pump which pumps day and night unless it fails and another pump must temporarily act as a backup to your main pump.
- The size of a primary pump is defined by horse power. Horse power for primary pumps includes 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, 4/10, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 HP.
- The amount of water a primary pump can pump per minute is defined by GPM (gallons per minute) or GPH (gallons per hour). The vertical height of the discharge system causes friction or slows down the amount of water that can be pumped; therefore all pump manufacturers provide a performance chart which incidates how many gallon of water can be pumped at a given height in one minute and in 60 minutes (1 hour). It is important for you to know the rate at which water flows into your sump pit so you can know which pump will meet the pumping needs for your pit.
- Here's how to calculate approximately how much water flow comes into your pit during a heavy rainstorm. If your sump pit is 18 inches in diameter, place a wood yardstick or straight, narrow piece of wood in the pit just above the surface of the water, hold it there for one minute. Be sure to use your watch to time your holding of the stick for 60 seconds (1 minute). Remove the stick after one minute. Find the height of the wet surface on the stick, take a tape measure and measure the number of inches that were submersed in mater during the one minute period. Multiple that number by 60 to calculate inches per hour. This will tell you how many gallons of water must be pumped at a height of 0 feet. This is your GPH. Measure the height of your vertical discharge piping. Use the manufacturers performance table to determine which sump pump can pump enough water for you during your heaviest rainstorms. Example: if the water rose 9 inches during 60 seconds; then you would need a pump that can handle 540 gallons per hour at 0 foot vertical height. If your vertical discharge height is 10 feet check the performance chart for 540 gallons at 10 feet lift.
- If your pump cycles while you are trying to measure. here is another way you can determine what size pump you need. After the primary pump stops running, begin timing how much time occurs between the start of the pump to the next start. Keep track of how many starts there are in 60 seconds or fives minutes or ten minutes. Calculate how many times the pump starts in one hour (60 minutes). Example: If your pump start 3 times during one miniute, it will start approximately 180 times in one hour (3 times 60); the majority of pumps remove 6 to 10 gallons of water per run cycle. Thus 180 times 10 gallons equals 1,800 gallons at 0 foot height. Check the manufacturers performance chart for a pump that can pump 1800 GPH at a 10 foot lift if you rvertical discharge piping height is 10 feet.
- The material used varies for primary pumps. Installing a sump pump that has a thermoplastic pump housing, volute, impeller and shaft that are made of thermoplastic is OK if your pump hardly ever runs and even when it runs it does not run continuously for over ten minutes. However, if your sump pump runs a lot and continusouly every storm, a cast iron, stainless steel or bronze housing is recommended as well as a cast iron volute (base), impeller and shaft. Cast iron is strong, durable, and can dissipate heat build-up.
- The condition of your sump pit matters. If it contains some debris and small pebbles, a vortex impeller that can handle 1/2 to 3/4 inch solids is best. Those sump pumps that have bottom suction and screens require period cleaning.
- The diameter of your sump pit (distance from one side to the other) is important. A sump pump that is too wide will be crowded in the pit and have the potentioal of the float switch getting hung up on the pit wall. Tether switch floats require the largest pit diameter. An electronic switch requires no extra sump pit diameter since it is attached to the discharge pipe above the primary pump.
- Availablity of a replacement float switch for the sump pump you are interested in is good to check before you buy. Cast iron, bronze and cast iron/stainless steel sump pumps have the most replacement parts available. The flost switch is the first thing to fail on a main pump. It is cheap to buy a replacement switch. Check YouTube for switch replacement how to for the pump of interest.
- Helpfulness of the manufacturer matters. Talk with the technical support team for the manufacturer. If they are available and helpful, this will reduce your frustration if you run into a problem with the sump pump.
- A primary sump pump can either be submersible or pedestal. By definition a submersible primary sump pump is one that sits in water inside the pit (bottom of the pit). By definition a pedestal primary sump pump is one where the pump motor is not in the sump pit but sits above the top of the basin by several inches. A pedestal pump is easy to maintain since the motor is not in the bottom of the pit; however a pedestal pump is more noisy, not as safe if pets or children are around and does not have the same pumping capability as a submersible main pump.
- A backup sump pump is only to be used for emergency situations such as primary sump pump mechanical failure, loss of electicity, primary pump cannot keep up with water flow in the sump pit.
- The source of power used determines the style of backup pump.
- Power produced by a generator or an inverter unit can run a main (primary electrical) pump because it converts the energy into electrical current.
- Power produced by a battery can run a battery backup sump pump. Battery backup sump pumps are made specifically to run on battery power.
- Power produced by a water can run a water powered sump pump. A water powered sump pump is made specifically to use water pressure to operate.
- A combination sump pump is two pumps sold together with a single discharge PVC pipe extension. One of the pumps is a primary (main) pump and the other is a battery backup sump pump. The manufacturer makes it easy for the homeowner to install a combination sump pump because the aligning and connections to attach the two pumps together has already been completed. The homeowner is only responsible to make sure the sump pit is large enough to house both pumps are they are already assembled. The manufacturer, because of experience with sump pumps, know which backup pump size should be used with a specific primary pump to handle emergency water situations. The combination sump pumps are the easy to install, convenient style.
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