Water Powered or Battery Backup Sump Pump

hehatemeMarch 10, 2011

I live in a 4 year old house. I have never had any water issues in my basement. My sump pump does run frequently in spring, summer and fall. I do live in a city with high water table.

I have drain tile, sump pump and proper drainage. My builder is reputable and the city inspectors do inspect the drain tile for all the new homes as they are being built.

I am finishing my basement and want to add backup sump pump. I have been looking at options and found that there are 2 options:

1. Battery powered sump pump

2. Water powered sump pump

Both of them are allowed in my city. We rarely have powered outage but I don't want to take any chance.

I called a basement water proofing guy today and he told me that last year was very wet and if I did not have any water issues I will be fine. I asked him about backup pumps and he told me that water backup pumps are wasteful and they should be outlawed. He also said that they can only pump around 750 gallons of water. He also made a comment that water powered pumps are expensive to install.

He said that he only sells battery backup sump pumps. These pumps can pump up to 2400 gallons of water and that is much closer to my current sump pump. He gave me a quote of $1500 for his backup sump pump.

If price was not an issue would you choose water or battery backup sump pump.


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It's certainly a good idea to have some kind of back-up plan. Battery powered and water powered pumps each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage to the battery system is that it has a finite capacity because the battery has a finite capacity. You can use a bigger battery or multiple batteries but there's still a finite limit. There is also an ongoing maintenance cost because the battery needs to be replaced at regular intervals. The advantage is that it's completely independent and there's no operating cost (beyond the cost of recharging the battery).

Water power pumps will operate, in theory, indefinitely but their performance and efficiency is directly related to city water pressure. The greater the city water pressure, the more water the pump can remove. If you have very low city water pressure, it may not be able to remove enough water to keep your basement dry. The drawback is there is an operating cost in terms of water required to operate the pump, which is difficult to calculate because you don't know how long the power will be be out or how much water the pump will be required to remove. If a major catastrophe occurs and you loose city water pressure (or experience a significant decrease in city water pressure) you could be in trouble.

The choice is a matter of personal preference, comfort level, and a bit of speculation as to what your worst case scenario might be.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 7:03AM
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