My Sump Pump Backup Saved Us

Have a basement with a sump pump? A sump pump backup, is a cool set-up, where you install a special system in your sump well. If your electricity goes out, or your sump pump system fails, you have a backup. Kind of like wearing suspenders with a belt. Last night, an alarm went off in our basement, indicating our primary system failed, and the backup kicking in.

Last night in Columbus Ohio a large storm system passed through, dumping about 3 inches of rain. If you have a basement, and a sump pump system, it probably kicked on. Ours did all through the night, until the 12 year-old pump failed. It quit pumping, however since in August I installed a backup system, it kicked in, to keep the water flowing out of my basements sump well. Had I not, we would have had a flooded basement.

A backup system consists of a battery-powered pump that you install alongside your current pump. The kit comes with the necessary electrics, aux. pump, float switch, marine battery box, but not the battery. In addition, you have to buy a battery and the acid to fill it (use rubber gloves, wear old clothes, and eye googles). Your shopping list should also include PCV pipe (get same diameter of your current system), check valve, glue and cleaner for the PCV, and buy a Y connector of a few different configurations (return what you don’t need). Talk to the hardware store’s resident plumbing expert, and ask him or her tons of questions- I did. Watch a few Youtube videos is helpful too. The only tools you usually need are a hack saw, and a nut driver for the check valve clamps, and plenty of rags. I recommend you buy the battery from the hardware store and not some other place, since the one’s they have seem to last longer, than the one my brother bought at Interstate Battery, the cost is about the same.

Do not buy the cheapest backup system, but one that matches your house’ size, rainfall in your area, and if a lot of water tends to run towards your home. I spent over $300 on a backup system, yet it saved me thousands of dollars. Years ago we rented an apartment that flooded, and sadly we lost most of our wedding pictures. A local company advertising basement repairs and backup systems would not give me a quote over the phone. Since I installed this at our previous home, and didn’t want a salesperson’s pitch, I decided to do this again myself.

It kind of felt good going to Home Depot today, to buy a new sump pump. Again, I interviewed the expert for the best and right new pump. I tested the old one and it definitely was bad. Although I am $200 poorer for the new pump, at least I don’t have insurance companies to call (we have a sump pump failure and sewage backup rider on our homeowner’s policy), no mess to clean up, and a no flooded-basement$500 deductible to pay. The new one took only 10 minutes to install.

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