Storm Ready Basements: Generators vs. Battery Back up Sump pumps.

Pioneer Basement has always suggested battery back up sump pump units be installed when you have a waterproofing system installed. It’s good common sense. If your power goes out you have a window of safe operating time until you need your power turned back on or emergency service. Keeping your basement from getting wet is a top priority.

However, it is still highly recommended that you also have a generator for your home.

If I’m already protected with a battery back up sump pump, why should I get a generator?

A totally reasonable question. If your battery back up unit has 1 or more batteries that are chained together to provide you with power, simply weigh your options. What’s the back up time on that battery? 7, 8, 16 hours?

If a battery has a limited operating time to provide power a generator can add to that protection. Most battery back up sump pump units use AC power when the power is on in the home and automatically switches to Battery Power once the power is out. By having a generator you allow your battery back up to stay charged longer and continue to run off AC power.

A battery provides a finite amount of power for a finite amount of time. It’s always best to have another plan. Generators are good for the whole home, not just for the sump pump.

Why buy a battery back up then if I’m going to be protected with a Generator?

Another excellent question. Generators also have limits. Most have fuel that needs to be added and can only maintain a particular power level for so long. Once the fuel runs out, the power it can generate runs out. You still need a battery back up sump pump in this case to run off battery power rather then just fully rely on AC power to operate.

With these past storms Pioneer Basement had many customers call whom still required battery back up units. Some of whom called with water in their basements now realizing that it’s a smart choice to have a battery operated sump pump installed.

Now, granted, most places don’t lose power for over 8 hours, however there were places in New Hampshire, Vermont and Northern Massachusetts these past two weeks that did loose power for over that time. The combination of Generator and Battery Back ups can give you a better fighting chance than just relying on an AC power sump pump alone.

Safety Tips for Dealing with Generators:
*like any type of motor powered equipment that emits CO2, run it outside. By running a generator in the basement with the windows closed you’re introducing carbon monoxide into the air supply. Basically it’s the same with running your car in a closed garage.

*When running an electrical line make sure that it’s properly insulated and that there are no kinks in the line and that the entire cord is covered with the plastic. (i.e. make sure there aren’t any cuts or openings you could walk on or touch while your generator is running.)

*When refueling the generator make sure to wear eye-protection and gloves to protect your hands. Make sure to turn the unit off when refueling to protect you and your home from a fire hazard.


Anonymous said...

Another reason to have a backup pump is that a generator doesn't help if the primary pump fails. A backup pump will protect against power failure and pump failure.

Jacob L @ Safe'n'Dry said...


Very true. That's the whole idea of having a second pump in the first place, but having it not be 100%dependant on AC power is a plus for ether situation.

Thanks for the responce!