Is your sump pump installed properly? Are you replacing your pump every two years? Sump pumps must have a proper run cycle. If a pump is installed in a smaller sized sump pit, the pump will run for a short period and then shut off, then turn back on within a couple of minutes or even seconds. This type of operation can cause a pump to fail prematurely. Most pump motors will last many years and can run for hours. The pump switch is the first component to malfunction. If the switch is stuck on, the pump will burn out as the sump pit empties. If the switch doesn’t turn the pump on, the consequences will be obvious.
At Basement Waterproofing Solutions, the minimum size sump pit we install is 15 inches in diameter and backfilled with clean crushed stone. This creates a sufficient volume of water to give the pump an appropriate run time creating the proper on-off cycle. Every pump installed by our company is set up per the exact water flow into a specific sump pit in each basement. We now offer full a line of Pro Series Sump pumps. These top-of-the-line units offer features not found on your average sump pump.
All pumps come equipped with a DC2 controller. This controller will sound an alarm when power has been interrupted, when the pump has run for more than 10 minutes continuously, or when the 9V battery is low. The 9V battery (sold separately) runs the controller during a power outage, allowing it to sound an alarm if the circuit breaker trips, the controller is not plugged in securely, or the homes power is interrupted. Note: The 9V battery will only power the switch, not the pump. The Deluxe Controller has a dial (located in the battery compartment) to adjust the number of seconds that the pump will run after the float drops. The Deluxe Controller will also run the pump once a week for approximately four seconds. This test will ensure the pump is working properly and exercise the pump which will keep the internal parts moving minimizing pump seizing resulting in a longer pump life cycle.
Dual Float Switch
The dual float switch contains two large floating rings enclosed within a protective cage. Water will lift the bottom float by a 1⁄4“, which will activate the pump. If for any reason the lower float does not activate the pump, the water will rise and activate the second switch. As the pump evacuates the water from the pit the floats will drop. The pump will run for an additional 10 seconds to extend the cycle after the lower float drops. Note: When mounting the float switch, position the bottom of the cage at the height you want the pump to activate.
Battery Back-Up Sump Pumps
Be aware-not all battery back-up sump pumps are the same. A battery backup is composed of 3 items:
- An additional sump pump separate from a primary pump.
- A deep cycle marine battery
- An electronic box. The box will keep the battery at maximum charge and there are several warning lights and an alarm to keep you informed. The lights will let you know if your battery is low on power, if you lost power, if your battery backup pump was activated, and if the battery acid is low.
Battery back-up sump pump prices can vary from $119 to $850. There are 2 main things to be aware of when shopping for a battery backup sump pump:
- What is the minimum protection time? Minimum protection time is, how long the pump will run continuously without shutting down. Not how long someone thinks it will work for.
- How many gallons of water per hour (GPH) will the system pump at a 10ft. vertical rise? The vertical rise is also referred to as head height. Some battery backup pump systems can pump 200 gallons of water per hour (GPR) while others will pump as much as 2400 GPR. Battery back-up systems are needed most during big rain events and 200GPR will not cut it for most homes.
- Most pumps are installed 2ft. below the floor and the discharge piping raises another 6 to 7 ft. higher before exiting the basement.
Some battery backup systems will advertise a very impressive 2000 GPH capacity. Be aware of what the head height is. A common system with a big price advertise 2000 GPH at only 5ft. head. When jumping up to 10ft. head the 2000 GPR drops in half. Other companies rate their pumps at zero ft. head.
Once a year your sump pump should be properly maintained. This will help prevent and catch problems before they happen. 10 % of the sump pumps we perform a maintenance on do not even work.
Sump Pump Maintenance Checklist
- Approx. Pump Age
- Pump Size
- Switch / Clearance
- Pump Noise Level
- Cleaning Pump and Sump Pit
- Flush Impeller
- Iron Level
- Discharge Restrictions
- Treatment Shock or Iron-out
- Drill Breather Hole
- Discharge Freeze Hazard
- Check Valve Ok
- Piping Leakage
- Piping Interior Build Up
- Sump Pit Size Sufficient
- Battery Backup Maintenance
- Top off Water in Battery
- Clean Pump