Sump Pump Backup Systems Explained

sump pump

Even with a sump pump installed, your basement may still occasionally flood, especially during the winter months. In such an event, you need a sump pump backup system. These floods occur when thunderstorms cause power failure in your home. To prepare for such emergencies, install a backup sump pump system that works independently on its own power supply. Should your primary pump not work, the backup sump pump kicks in automatically.

Why Do Primary Electric Sump Pumps Fail?

Sump pumps fail for a number of reasons. The most common among them are:

A frozen or clogged discharge pipe

Power failure

A tripped circuit breaker

A blown fuse

A damaged power feed line

Float switch problem (being stuck or broken)

A pump may burn out, become unplugged, or jam with mud

Impeller or drive shaft breakage

Too much water leaking into the basement

A clogged intake

The Importance of Backup Sump Pump Systems

In instances where the primary pump isn’t working, you will need to depend on the backup sump pump. That usually happens when there is a power failure or when the pump itself is damaged. The risk of having a flooded basement is always present if there is no backup pump in place.

Most flooded basements won’t be covered by homeowner’s insurance, so it’s a good idea to have a sump pump backup system.

Two Types of Backup Sump Pump Systems

12-Volt High Output Powered Back-Up Sump Pump

This backup pump system is easy to install almost anywhere around the basement since it derives independent power from any 12-volt marine or car battery. Most pump manufacturers make the battery backup pump model. Some of these models can pump for 8 straight hours at full speed while you repair the primary pump system.

Water Powered Back-Up Sump Pump

For those who can connect to a water source and maintain moderate pressures of 50-PSI to 80-PSI, the backup sump pump can operate on power from water pressure. Manufacturers like Zoeller sell such pump systems.

The emergency pumps prevent basement flooding while the primary pump is under repair. Although they are not as powerful as a standard sump pump (about 34-gallons per minute), or the battery-powered backup model (21.6-gallons per minute), water-powered pump systems will still pump 6.35-gallons of water per minute.

Back up sump pumps eliminate the risk of basement flooding throughout the year. It will cost very little to install one, but the potential damage that will be prevented is great. A backup sump pump should be used only as a backup and never as the primary sump pump. They are only designed to help you in times of emergency before the primary pump is repaired.