Can a Sump Pump Battery Backup Save Your Basement?

sump pump battery backup

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Basement flooding often occurs during a thunderstorm. Your electrical power can go out, which means a loss of electricity to your primary sump pump in your basement. If a sump cannot turn on when water enters your home, you could be facing extensive and costly water damage. It may be time to consider a sump pump battery backup system.

The Sump Pump Battery Backup Advantage

Savvy homeowners know the importance of battery backup systems for sump pumps. Primary sump pumps rely on electricity. Unfortunately, when the power goes out basement flooding can occur within a few hours. There is not much time before water damage takes its toll. Battery backup systems provide sump pumps with the electricity that is needed to power a backup sump pump during a power outage.

Battery backup systems use heavy-duty batteries that act as a power source in the event of an electrical outage. Should an electrical outage occur, the battery backup system will automatically power a backup sump pump. There is always a connection between the backup battery and the sump system, which means the battery will remain charged until it is needed.

Sump pump battery backup systems are often called two-stage systems. When your home’s power is on, the primary sump pump will use electricity for power. However, if a power outage occurs, the battery backup system will kick in and provide the energy needed to power the backup sump pump.

Full perimeter waterproofing system with sump pump battery backup
Full perimeter waterproofing system with sump pump battery backup.

Can Homeowners Install Battery Backup Systems and New Sump Pumps Themselves?

A homeowner with skills in the intricacies of working with electricity and water may be able to install the battery backup system. However, most homeowners prefer to leave this task to professional sump pump installers, or electricians. Sump pumps are better off on a dedicated GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlet. A GFCI outlet halts power if a ground fault occurs. When shopping for a GFCI outlet, ensure the switch can handle the increased power consumption when the pump turns on.

The battery in a sump pump’s battery backup system should be in a water-resistant protective case. This case allows the battery inside to go alongside the sump without worrying about an electrical short occurring if you experience a leak. Backup system batteries can withstand six to eight inches of rising water.

Only use extension cords for the battery backup system until you get a proper GFCI outlet. The pump should be plugged directly into a GFCI protected outlet located above the high water line. The GFCI outlet has a test button and a reset button. The outlet should be tested annually to ensure the ground fault circuit interrupts power when the test button is triggered.

Because sump pumps rely on electricity, many backup systems have an alarm that will sound if the battery backup is activated. This alarm alerts the homeowner that the sump is not getting power from the home’s electrical wiring system. If the alarm sounds, the homeowner should immediately contact their sump pump installer, so the risk of water damage can be avoided.

Can Battery Backups Be Added to Existing Sump Pumps?

If you have an existing sump pump without a battery backup, you can have a battery backup added to your system. The backup system acts as a sensor between a sump pump and the current electrical supply.

The installer will plug the primary sump pump and a new backup pump into the battery backup controller. Then the battery is connected directly to an electrical outlet. This setup provides a trickle charge for your backup battery. If the power goes out, the sensor will activate the battery to ensure the backup pump can run when needed.

The battery used in a battery backup system should be replaced every two to three years. The continuous recharging of the battery can cause the battery to become less efficient. Call your contractor or the manufacturer if you require a replacement.

Electricity and water do not mix, which is why a sump pump installation and a battery backup system is better left to professional installers. Sump pump installers have received the training and have the experience needed to install, repair, and maintain your sump system.

Sump pumps ensure your house remains dry; however, if the power goes out, the primary electrical pump will not be able to work. Installing a battery backup system with a backup sump pump can keep your home safe even when the power is out.

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Useful guide: General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater