Power Outages Contribute to Sump Pump Failure

Sep 27, 2012

Power Outages Contribute to Sump Pump Failure

  • Electrical

Our last post discussed one method of protecting your home from flooding due to sump pump failure. However, the sump pump system in most homes typically relies on electrical power to function properly. So, how do you protect your home from flooding in the event of a power failure?

Power outages can be a common occurrence during a severe rainstorm. If electrical power reliability is a concern, then you should consider a standby natural gas generator that will automatically turn on in the event of a power failure. A standby generator will give you added fringe benefits of working lights, heat, air conditioning and refrigeration in addition to operating your sump pump system when the power goes out. If a standby generator is not an option, you may want to consider a battery operated alternate power source to power your sump pump.

Most people are familiar with the standard system that uses a small plastic DC (battery) pump, a 12-volt deep cycle battery, and a charging unit. These systems are readily available at most home centers (Home Depot, Menards, Lowes). Most DC pumps used as part of a back-up system were designed to be bilge pumps for boats and are not heavy duty. A characteristic of a DC (battery) system versus an AC (electrical) system is the sump pump’s ability to discharge water.

Keep in mind in such a system only the secondary pump remains functional in the event of electricity failure. The major disadvantage of such battery back-up pumps is that the DC (battery) pump is incapable of handling the same water volume as the main sump pump. During heavy rain, the consequences of this kind of situation can be a flooded basement when electricity becomes absent. Also, the DC pump battery supplied with the system is usually small resulting in limited back-up time.

Short of a standby generator, the best method of protecting your home from flooding during a power outage is with the use of an AC (electrical) based back-up system. With this type of system electricity to the main sump pump is maintained, allowing the main sump pump to keep operating at full pumping capacity.

An AC (electrical) based back-up system typically consists of the home’s primary sump pump, a 12-volt deep cycle battery or two (2) 12-volt batteries in a 24-volt system as well as an inverter with a charging unit. An inverter converts the DC power of the battery into AC power which allows the home’s sump pump system to function as if it were under normal conditions. The battery charger monitors the batteries over time and will perform full charges when batteries become depleted after a power outage, and also performs trickle charges during times of full power to maintain maximum battery life.

The main advantage of a sump pump battery back-up, which powers an existing main pump is it enables the sump pump to function at full capacity during a power outage. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking a glorified bilge pump is adequate flood protection for your home in the event of sump pump failure or power failure.

Call Quality Plumbing Services at 847-259-0200 and let one of our highly skilled plumbers assess your home’s sump pump needs and give you options on how to best protect your home from flooding due to sump pump failure or in the event of a power outage. Visit our website at www.qualityplumbingchicago.com.

By zachadmachinescom