Sump pumps stand constant guard against water sneaking into your basement or lower level and ruining everything. It’s important not only to have a sump pump but to check it occasionally to make sure it’s still working properly. John Burke Plumbing offers the following:
- Sump Pit Installation
- Battery Backup System
It is important that your sump pump is properly sized and installed correctly so that it can handle any kind of moisture that comes its way. They make sure that they install a sump pump that can withstand the demands of pumping water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Sump Pump Battery Backup Installation
If you have a sump pump that has always worked, you probably don’t appreciate it as much as you should. heavy thunderstorms are not only common but expected. During thunderstorms, high winds and lightning have a tendency to knock out power. Unfortunately, sump pumps don’t work without electricity. Ironically, the time you need your sump pump the most, may be the very time it doesn’t work. That’s why you need a Sump Pump Battery Backup system. A backup sump pump is designed to start working when your main sump pump stops. Or it can work in tandem with your main pump when the volume is extremely heavy. The battery backup even has an alarm that goes off if there are any problems with the battery, connections, or a clogged pump. After all, a backup sump pump system with a dead battery, loose cables, or a clogged pump is like having no backup at all. The backup sump pump protects against loss of power, primary pump failure, excessive water inflow and float switch failures.
All backup sump pumps offer:
- Automatic operation and charging
- Monitoring of battery and pump conditions
- Monitoring of the battery fluid level
- Dual float switches
- Easy installation
- Reliability backed by a 3-year warranty
Backup sump pumps sound an alarm when:
- Power is out, or the circuit breaker has blown
- Battery fluid is low and water needs to be added
- Battery is dead, defective, or battery terminals need to be cleaned
- Pump was activated
Sump Pump Cycle Check
Makes sure your sump pump is working with this easy test:
- Lift the lid off the sump pit and slowly pour in water.
- The float should rise triggering the motor.
- The pump should run long enough to lower the water level and click off.
- If you add water and nothing happens, your pump may need service.
A sump pump is a pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a water collecting sump basin, commonly found in the basement of homes. The water may enter via the perimeter drains of a basement waterproofing system, funneling into the basin or because of rain or natural ground water, if the basement is below the water table level. Sump pumps are used where basement flooding happens regularly and to remedy dampness where the water table is above the foundation of a home. Sump pumps send water away from a house to any place where it is no longer problematic, such as a municipal storm drain or a dry well.
Pumps may discharge to the sanitary sewer in older installations. Once considered acceptable, this practice may now violate the plumbing code or municipal bylaws, because it can overwhelm the municipal sewage treatment system. Municipalities urge homeowners to disconnect and reroute sump pump discharge away from sanitary sewers. Fines may be imposed for noncompliance. Many homeowners have inherited their sump pump configurations and do not realize that the pump discharges to the sewer. If the discharge is fed to a laundry sink in the basement, it’s likely going to the sewer.
Usually hardwired into a home’s electrical system, sump pumps may have a battery backup. The home’s pressurized water supply powers some pumps, eliminating the need for electricity at the expense of using potable water, potentially making them more expensive to operate than electrical pumps and creating an additional water disposal problem. Since a sump basin may overflow if not constantly pumped, a backup system is important for cases when the main power is out for prolonged periods of time, as during a severe storm.
There are generally two types of sump pumps — pedestal and submersible. The pedestal pump’s motor is mounted above the sump, where it is more easily serviced, but is also more conspicuous. The pump impeller is driven by a long, vertical extension shaft and the impeller is in a scroll housing in the base of the pump. The submersible pump is entirely mounted inside the sump, and is specially sealed to prevent electrical short circuits.
Sump pump systems are also utilized in industrial and commercial applications to control water table-related problems in surface soil. An artesian aquifer or periodic high water table situation can cause the ground to become unstable due to water saturation. As long as the pump functions, the surface soil will remain stable. These sumps are typically ten feet in depth or more; lined with corrugated metal pipe that contains perforations or drain holes throughout. They may include electronic control systems with visual and audible alarms and are usually covered to prevent debris and animals from falling in.
Sump Pump Components
Modern sump pump components consist of:
A plastic, metal or concrete container forming a sump basin, approximately 2 feet (0.6 m) across and 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 1 m) deep, 15 to 25 U.S. gallons (60 to 100 litre) capacity. A sump pump, either 1/3 or 1/2 horsepower (200 or 400 W), either battery or mains powered (or both).
Your Pump selection
The selection of a sump pump will rest heavily on the application in which it is going be used. To select the appropriate sump pump, consider the following:
Automatic sump pump vs. a manual operation sump pump — Selection of a manual sump pump means that someone will turn the pump on and off when it is appropriate. Selecting an automatic sump pump means that a switch is wired to the sump pump to turn it on or off at appropriate water levels. Automatic switches include pressure switches, low level pressure switches and float switches.
Power Needed — The Sump pump power will vary from 1/4 horsepower to multiple horsepower.
The head pressure on the sump pump — The head pressure of a sump pump describes the maximum height that the pump will move water. For instance, a sump pump with a 15 ft maximum head, also called a shutoff head, will raise water up 15 ft before it completely loses flow. Technically, head pressure is defined as an expression of a pressure in terms of the height of fluid; P = yρg, where y is the fluid column height, ρ is fluid density and g is the acceleration of gravity. Other considerations may be added to overall head pressure, including loss from elbows/bends and friction loss from long horizontal runs.
Power cord length — It is important to consider the length of the cord of any special switches that may be connected to the pump. Running a more powerful electrical motor a long distance from the main service panel will require heavier gauge wires to assure sufficient voltage at the motor for proper pump performance.
Phase and voltage — Sump pumps powered from the AC mains are available with single-phase three-phase motors. rated for 110-120, 220-240, or 460 volts. Three-phase power is typically not available in residential locations.
Water level sensing switch type — Pressure switches are fully enclosed, usually inside the pump body, making them immune to obstructions or floating debris in the sump basin. Float switches, particularly the types attached to the end of a short length of flexible electrical cable, can get tangled or obstructed, especially if the pump is prone to movement in the basin due to torque effects when starting and stopping. Pressure switches are typically factory set and not adjustable, while float switches can be adjusted in place to set the high and low water levels in the sump basin.
Backup system and alarm — If redundancy and an alert system are vital for operation of your sump pump, consider a backup system and/or alarm.
Sump Pump Backup components
A secondary, battery-powered sump pump can operate if the primary sump pump goes out. A battery powered sump pump requires the following components in parallel with the others above:
A 12 volt battery sump pump with its own water level sensor, piping, and check valve (the pipes usually join after the check valves to prevent reverse flow through the primary when the secondary unit is pumping). It must be a marine deep cycle battery, or long-life standby battery. Standard automobile batteries are not suitable for this application. Auto batteries are designed to deliver a high current for a short period. Sump pumps need a smaller, smoother current for a much long time. A trickle-charge battery charger can alternately have a specialized controller to manage, monitor and test that the battery is holding a charge.
Alternative sump pump systems can be driven by municipal water pressure. Water-powered sump pumps are similar to backup battery-driven systems with a separate pump, float and check valves. One can also use an ejector pump that uses an ordinary garden hose to supply high pressure water and another garden hose to carry the water away. Although such ejector pumps waste water and are relatively inefficient, they have the advantage of having no moving parts and offer the utmost in reliability.
If the backup sump system is rarely used, a component failure may not be noticed, and the system may fail when needed. Some battery control units test the system periodically and alert on failed electrical components. A simple, battery-powered water alarm can be hung a short distance below the top of the sump to sound an alarm should the water level rise too high.
Sump Pump Maintenance
Typical recommendations suggest examining equipment every year. Pumps running frequently due to higher water table, water drainage, or weather conditions should be examined more frequently. Sump pumps, being mechanical devices, will fail eventually, which could lead to a flooded basement and costly repairs. Redundancy in the system (multiple/secondary pumps) can help to avoid problems when maintenance and repairs are needed on the primary system.
When examining a sump pump and cleaning it, dirt, gravel, sand, and other debris should be removed to increase efficiency and extend the life of the pump. These obstructions can also decrease the pump’s ability to drain the sump, and can allow the sump to overflow. The check valve can also jam from the debris. Examine the discharge line opening, when applicable, to ensure there are no obstructions in the line. Even a partially obstructed discharge line can force a sump pump to work harder and increase its chance of overheating and failure.
Float switches are used to automatically turn the sump pump on when filled to a preset level. Float switches must be clear of any obstructions within the tank. A float guard can be used to prevent the float switch from accidentally resting on the housing, and remaining on.