Finding the Best Backup System for a Sump Pump: Our Tips & Advice
Let’s talk sump pumps.
If you are the proud homeowner of a basement like the one pictured above, you may not notice or pay much attention to the sump pump over in the corner. But having that pump working 24/7 may be the difference between a wet or dry basement.
So here’s a quick sump pump 101—and why a battery backup may be a smart solution if you live in an area prone to power outages.
Sump Pump 101
Sump pumps are designed to move water out of a catch basin. If you have a perimeter drain around your house, the water may collect in this basin. (Some basements also have seepage from below, where water is also collected).
Sump pumps typically come with a float switch—when the water rises to a certain level in the basin, the switch turns on the pump.
The big issue with sump pumps is whether they are designed to move water up and out (referred to as lift—or in feet to lift, like 10 foot lift) or just out (zero lift).
What happens if the power goes out?
As you might imagine, sump pumps are designed to work on your standard house power. But if the power goes out, the water still needs to be removed, right? In that case, a battery back-up system can keep your pump working. And that can be the difference between a dry or flooded basement.
How much water do you need to move?
Sump pumps are rated by the number of gallons they remove per hour (gph). The same goes for backup sump pump systems—so the first order of business is determining the size of the system. Some systems can remove 1000 gph; others are rated to 5000 gph.
Backup Systems 101
Most backup systems incorporate a transfer switch (aka, a power inverter) that automatically detects a power outage and safely switches the pump to battery power. That way you don’t have to be there to switch over the unit.
We should note that many “sump pump battery backup systems” don’t include the actually battery to power the system. This is a separate purchase (we will link to the batteries below).
A few of these systems include a sump pump itself, while others are just the battery backup and transfer switch (that is, no pump). We know, it can be confusing. See below for more details on the best bets.
After spending several hours researching sump pump battery backups (including interviewing our parent readers with real-world experience with these systems), here are the ones we recommend. best sump pump battery backup