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Old 03-03-2009, 01:16 AM   #1
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generator alternative?


With the spring thaw coming, Im concerned about the powergoing out and the basement flooding...I dont like the price tag on most generators...Ive seen power converters for sale (for laptops and such) for use in the car (converting 12V DC to 120V AC)...Id like to know if they would be strong enough to power a sump pump (I actually have two)???

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Old 03-03-2009, 04:33 AM   #2
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generator alternative?


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Originally Posted by Leprichon View Post
With the spring thaw coming, Im concerned about the powergoing out and the basement flooding...I dont like the price tag on most generators...Ive seen power converters for sale (for laptops and such) for use in the car (converting 12V DC to 120V AC)...Id like to know if they would be strong enough to power a sump pump (I actually have two)???

No. Unless you pay about $900 for it. Normal convertors don't even come close to being able to handle a load like that.
Jamie

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Old 03-03-2009, 06:28 AM   #3
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generator alternative?


google " sump pump backup battery " and you will find what you need. hopefully at a price you can afford...($100 and up)

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Old 03-03-2009, 08:21 AM   #4
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google " sump pump backup battery " and you will find what you need. hopefully at a price you can afford...($100 and up)

DM
I Second that! definitely worth it if you are concerned about your house flooding during a power outage.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:32 AM   #5
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generator alternative?


Problem with a battery is that if the outage is extended the battery will go dead. You need to be able to recharge it or swap it with a charged one and take the dead battery away to recharge where power is available.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:36 AM   #6
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generator alternative?


I bought a 1500 W modified sine wave inverter at a truck stop for $150. It takes a big battery and alternator to run it at full load, but it works great for high amp power tools. I'm sure it would also run a sump pump.

I have one wired permanently into my truck. I have 120 V inside the cab and a connector sends it to the enclosed trailer when it's hooked up. I have a wind up cord reel that I can just open the door and run with, already powered.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:04 AM   #7
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So long as your car (or truck) engine is run and the alternator is supplying more energy than the sump pump is drawing, you can power the sump pump indefinitely.

It is possible to burn out the car alternator when an inverter is drawing a large load. To prevent this it would be necessary to alternately (no pun intended) turn the car off and the alternator on, and then turn the alternator off and the car on to recharge the battery, in between sump pump cycles.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:49 PM   #8
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generator alternative?


With an power inverter you still have the issue of running the battery low. But you would still be much better off with a battery powered sump pump. Using an inverter to power the sump pump would not be as effcient as a battery powered sump-pump. You loose some power by having the inverter running (not to mention the likely-hood of plugging in other things withe the sump pump). I have not actually bought a battery powered sump pump (there's not even a pump in the hole in the basement, it never gets any water), but I would imagine they would include the average run-time on battery power.

One thing to keep in mind, when the sump pump is on its own battery, its not running all the time (unless you have a serious water problem) and can run longer than if you had a battery and an inverter. The inverter has to be on all the time in order for the sump-pump to kick in when it needs to, using battery power in-between runs of the pump just to keep the inverter's fan running and the circuitry that makes it work.

You could always connect additional batteries to the sump-pump to provide extra run-time in the event of prolonged power outages. Though this may not be good for its internal charging circuitry as its probably only designed to handle one battery.
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by theatretch85 View Post
With an power inverter you still have the issue of running the battery low. But you would still be much better off with a battery powered sump pump. Using an inverter to power the sump pump would not be as effcient as a battery powered sump-pump. You loose some power by having the inverter running (not to mention the likely-hood of plugging in other things withe the sump pump). I have not actually bought a battery powered sump pump (there's not even a pump in the hole in the basement, it never gets any water), but I would imagine they would include the average run-time on battery power.

One thing to keep in mind, when the sump pump is on its own battery, its not running all the time (unless you have a serious water problem) and can run longer than if you had a battery and an inverter. The inverter has to be on all the time in order for the sump-pump to kick in when it needs to, using battery power in-between runs of the pump just to keep the inverter's fan running and the circuitry that makes it work.

You could always connect additional batteries to the sump-pump to provide extra run-time in the event of prolonged power outages. Though this may not be good for its internal charging circuitry as its probably only designed to handle one battery.
But if you have a big enough inverter, you can power the sump and a few lights or a TV. All you have to do is leave the vehicle at idle. I even used my riding lawn mower to power the TV once while the power was out. A large inverter coupled with a vehicle that can push it, is a very versatile tool.
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Old 03-04-2009, 12:28 AM   #10
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But if you have a big enough inverter, you can power the sump and a few lights or a TV. All you have to do is leave the vehicle at idle. I even used my riding lawn mower to power the TV once while the power was out. A large inverter coupled with a vehicle that can push it, is a very versatile tool.
Don't get me wrong, I own a 700 watt inverter that has come in quite handy more than once. I know how they work and that they require a certain amount of power just to run the inverter. I also know that they don't exactly produce the 110-120 volts that they should. I think mine is around the 95-100 volts range last time I checked it which is rather low.

All I was trying to say is that if the op is concerned about a long term power outage and having a sump pump ready to run during that time is an issue then the battery backup sump pump is probably the better way to go. For one you don't have to be home when the power goes out to switch the pump over to the inverter; the battery will kick in automatically when the power goes out. Also, the power lost in the inverter converting the power to run the pump is wasteful if its only purpose is to power a sump pump that doesn't even run all the time.

If for some stroke of luck the op happens to be home when the power goes out and happens to have a power inverter to plug in his sump pump to then I don't see a problem with that. But chances are you can't be that lucky and if you simply plan to plug the pump into the power inverter when the power goes out, you'll likely end up with a wet basement.

This reply went on longer than I expected, lets try to focus on the topic, the op is simply looking for alternatives in power for his sump pump if and when the power goes out. Personally I would think a requirement of this alternative source should be some sort of automatic switching for it to be a viable option.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:59 AM   #11
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generator alternative?


wow...thanx for all the great replies...I think the way that I will go then is to have a battery operated sump pump (when its needed)...a further question...If the power outage is prolonged...is it ok and is it possible to recharge the battery (for the battery powered sump pump) with an inverter for the car?
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:05 AM   #12
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generator alternative?


another option Ive heard about is a sump pump thats powered by the city water pressure...I imagine that alot of city water would be wasted (your bill would go up)...I also imagine that having it kick in automatically might be an issue...
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:11 AM   #13
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generator alternative?


Don't set up the water level detect on a battery back up sump pump
so that it goes on and off before the AC unit trips, so
of course the thing wore out prematurely because
it's only designed to work in the rare event of a power failure.

"I think mine is around the 95-100 volts range last time I checked it which is rather low."
The RMS and average values of square waves and sine waves is different, and meters may respond to them differently.
It may be OK.
The inverter should make an RMS value of 120v or so, whether the waveform is sine, sort-of-sine, or square.

1500w at 14.4 vdc is 104 Adc. That kind of current from a vehicle must be stressing everything. It's 1/3 rd of what a starter motor pulls.

If you have homeowner's insurance that covers water damage in the basement, this changes the cost/benefit ratio for having a sump pump, or whatever other options you choose.
If the premium just for this insurance is $50/year, a sump pump will pay for itself in (2?) years, unless flooding will cause absolutely catastrophic damage.



This book is about the best I've ever borrowed, for making "rational" decisions in these kinds of cases.
http://probability.ca/sbl/

You want the
"Decision making and utility functions"

It's a little "deep" in places, though. . .

Last edited by Yoyizit; 03-04-2009 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:35 AM   #14
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generator alternative?


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Originally Posted by Leprichon View Post
is it ok and is it possible to recharge the battery (for the battery powered sump pump) with an inverter for the car?
don't see why not, so long as it's rated high enough to do the job!
an "i'm all finished" indicator light at the pump/battery would be handy so you know when to turn off the truck... lol

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Old 03-04-2009, 12:22 PM   #15
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generator alternative?


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Originally Posted by Leprichon View Post
another option Ive heard about is a sump pump thats powered by the city water pressure...I imagine that alot of city water would be wasted (your bill would go up)...I also imagine that having it kick in automatically might be an issue...
I saw that on this old hose. You use about a gallon for every 2-21/2 you pump out. It will work, but only as a last resort.

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