Basement Terms: Battery Backup Sump pump – what it is, what it does, and why so many people are confused.

Over this past week I must have fielded somewhere close to 1000 phone calls dealing with people’s flooding issues in places like Milton, MA; Warwick, RI; and Newton, MA. One of the questions that I’ve gotten from many, oddly enough, is what’s the point of having a battery back up sump pump installed in the first place.

2nd pump to help with volume.
First and for most, it’s a separate pump. Yes! It’s not just a battery that’s there to be hooked up; it’s a completely different pump from a standard sump pump. This means a couple good things for you as a homeowner!

First: It’s designed to back up the pump you have! Even some of the best pumps in flooding situations get overwhelmed with the amount of water they have to pump out of a basement. If the water comes in faster than a pump can pump it, then what’s to stop the water from getting in your basement? That’s where the battery backup can come in handy! It can act as a normal pump to backup the pump that’s installed; helping to handle volumes of water that 1 sump pump would normally fail to move.

Secondly, it can run on both battery power and normal electricity! This is the best of both worlds. You get a second pump to keep you dry when you’re power’s off, but you also get a pump that can operate when the Nor’easters cause the lights to go out in your neighborhood.

Depending on the type of battery backup sump pump you buy you can actually add power to it. The 2400s that Pioneer uses can actually carry up to 3 batteries to give you a combined total of approximately 21 hours of continuous pumping protection.

A Few words of caution:

I) If you’re in an area that’s prone to longer power outages of more than 2-3 days, a generator for your home might still be needed. Yes, a back up pump can help, but it can’t be guaranteed to work in a time frame that exceeds the power of the batteries it’s attached to.

II) A sump pump can’t solve all basement flooding issues. Moisture comes in the basement in a few different ways and a sump pump can only truly protect you against rising water under the slab of your basement floor. They aren’t designed to protect against foundation wall crack leaks, water coming over the foundation of the home, or water coming over the footing/wall joint and into the basement.

III) Size matters: A 1/3 HP pump can only do so much, having a pump that meets the same size as your standard AC pump is a good choice. For places along the shore or in areas that normally get high volumes of water during the rainy season, it’s possible that you’ll want to start with a stronger AC pump all together. Normal sizes for these are 1/3, ½, or Full HP. (1 HP).

Related Reading and Links

Read about the Top 6 Basement Mistakes that contractors and homeowners make.

Ask Jacob A question Directly on Pioneer Basement's Help Forums!

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