Sump Pump Back-Ups: The Basics

Sump pumps are important devices for homes with above average ground water. However, like all mechanical devices, they sometimes fail. Having a back up sump pump system is important for the times when the primary pump has failed. This will help prevent water damage to property and belongings in a basement.

What options exist for sump pump back-ups?
Most sump pumps are wired in to a house’s electricity and pump failures are common during power outages. To avoid this, having a back up sump pump system is critical. Primary pumps also fail when they have broken or stuck floats or excessive inflow of water. Failure may not be noticed until there is already water overflow. There are 2 most common types of backup sump pumps:

Water-powered pumps are typically installed as back-up measures to existing sump pumps. These are powered by water pressure which is used to eliminate water from potential flooding situations. Water-powered pumps are integrated with the existing plumbing from the house. There is a float and switch triggering operation, but there are less parts inside the pump housing to go bad, causing failure. These pumps are good as a ready-installed back up measure but caution should be used when the pump is running for long periods of time, as it can elevate the water bill of a home.

Battery-powered pumps work similarly to primary pumps except they are run off a 12-volt rechargeable battery. The battery has a slow trickle charging system and this may not keep up with the flow of water. It will also not charge when the power is out, which can be problem if the power is out for a prolonged period of time. If the home is on city water, a water powered backup is a better option. Battery backups are ideal for well-water communities who do not have access to city water and still require a back-up sump pump system. These pumps are not able to move as much water as water-powered back up systems but will still get the job done in time of need.

In addition to the back up pump, sump pump alarms are also good tools for both main and back up systems. Sump pump alarms are sensors placed below the water hole and sounds an audible sound when water is too high and not being moved by the sump pump. Alarms can let owners know the main and/or back up pumps have or are failing and require service or replacement.

How do I decide which back up pump is best for me?
Not all back up sump pumps work with all homes and for best results a licensed plumber should be consulted. To set up an appointment for Eller Services to come out and discuss your sump pump options or to request service for an existing pump, contact our office at 248.652.6650. We service Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, serving cities of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Troy, Oakland Township, Bloomfield Hills, Shelby Township and surrounding areas.

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