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abbyqueue 10-23-2011 09:59 PM

Sump pump woes
Hey everyone. I have sort of a general question about sump pumps.

My house (built in 2006) is the first house I've ever lived in that has a sump pump (and pit, obviously) in the unfinished basement. That pump failed twice in the first couple of years, both times due to my builder's error -- not cleaning out the pit after construction and things like that.

However, it seems to me that installing a sump pump is an unwise thing. I mean, I understand that if you build below the water table the water needs to go elsewhere other than your foundation, hence the need for it, but here's the thing -- the pump runs on electricity. When it storms around here, the electricity occasionally goes out -- therefore the pump doesn't work. Generally speaking, when it's storming, it's raining, and that's when I need the pump to be working.

I live in fear of losing power to the pump and having my basement flood again. How would I ever finish the basement?

I know there are some battery backups and stuff out there, but I've heard mixed reviews -- some say they don't last long enough for them to really be worth it. A couple of years ago I saw something about water-powered backups -- which I really don't understand, but I guess someone out there has to.

Any thoughts or possible solutions to this? Now I'm thinking that buying a home with a built-in flood waiting to happen may not have been the best idea... thanks!

Just Bill 10-24-2011 06:24 AM

It does sound like an alternate power source pump is needed here. Have you considered a generator, automatic or manual?? If the power is that unreliable, there are other things that need power during an outage, like heaters in winter, refrigerators, etc.

Battery backup pumps are OK if you keep a careful check on the battery status and maintenance. I have never used a water powered pump but see them advertised. Also not sure how they work.

oh'mike 10-24-2011 06:43 AM

I checked into the water powered pumps and they seem like a fine idea----

With a few 'if's'-----

Here is how they work----when you loose power a water valve opens---sending city water to a turbine in the pump---turbine spins the pump impeller---causing the water in the pit to be pumped out.

Used city water is sent to the sewer---Every thing I've read about them says they work well and can be depended on.

Here are the 'if's'---If you have city water and sewer---a well needs electricity to power the pump--

'If'--your city allows the use of water powered pumps---The one town I wanted to install one did not allow their use.

abbyqueue 10-24-2011 08:55 AM

Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. I'm not looking to spend thousands of dollars or anything, but I would like something to generally ease my mind so that every time it rains I'm not constantly listening for the pump to sound that it's working.

Do either of you have recommendations/websites for the generators/battery backups/water-powered backups that you mentioned? I'd like to take a look at what you guys were looking at if possible.

leungw 10-24-2011 09:16 AM

This came up when googling "water powered sump pump":

Sounds like a neat idea. The site claims that it uses 1 gallon of clean water to pump 2 gallons of sump water out.

oh'mike 10-24-2011 09:18 AM

I've installed many 'Basement Watchdog " brand over the years---never a call back for problems.

I recently installed one of their combination units---primary pump and back up pump---very simple installation---

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