Is a Battery Backup Sump Pump Worth it?

Sump pump in a homeowner's basement - Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing

Water damage is a real threat to Cincinnati homes, even if you do not live in a flood plain. As groundwater levels rise due to heavy rains or melting snow, your sump pump works to remove excess water and protect your home – until it doesn’t. Battery backup sump pumps are necessary to ensure your home has the protection it needs, when it’s needed.

The licensed plumbers of Thomas & Galbraith explain why battery backup sump pumps are a benefit to Cincinnati homeowners. Learn about these important systems and why you need one in your home. Get an estimate for battery backup sump pump installation, as well as repairs and maintenance for your primary sump pump when you contact Thomas & Galbraith today!

A Sump Pump’s Purpose

A sump pump’s job is to remove excess water and expel it away from your home, which protects the home against water damage. As groundwater levels increase in volume, foundation cracks allow water to seep into basements and crawlspaces. This water collects in the sump pit, and the sump pump pumps it out through drain piping to ensure water does not spill out of the pit and into surrounding areas.

Sump pumps run off electricity. There are two kinds: manual and automatic.

  • Manual sump pumps must be turned on by the homeowner when they are needed. If you’re not at home or do not realize water levels are increasing, there is no water removal.
  • Automatic sump pumps have float switches, which detect when the sump pit’s water level reaches a set point – this is like the float that controls water levels in your toilet. When the float switch is triggered, the pump automatically starts.

Not every home needs a sump pump, but many in the Cincinnati area do. As sump pumps are designed to prevent water issues where the water table is above the home’s foundation, homes built on a slab do not need them, but those with basements or crawlspaces may. Sump pumps are typically installed (or should be added) in homes that:

  • Sit in low lying areas
  • Are in flood plains
  • Are in areas with heavy rains and/or snows
  • Have finished basements
  • Have experienced basement or crawlspace flooding in the past

Sump Pump Failures

Sump pumps fail because of various factors, but often homeowners do not realize they have a sump pump problem until it’s too late. Hidden away, sump pump checks and maintenance are often neglected. When sump pumps fail, homes are left vulnerable to rising water levels and the damage that can result.

Common reasons sump pumps fail include:

  • Mechanical problems
  • Switch failure
  • Power outages
  • Excessive use

Battery backup sump pumps help homeowners avoid the water issues that arise when the home’s primary sump pump fails.

What Are Battery Backup Sump Pumps?

Battery backup sump pumps are backup systems for water control in the basement or crawlspace. They are placed in the same area as the home’s main sump pump and control water levels within the same sump pit. Battery backup sump pumps use a float switch to detect water levels in the sump pit. As they are set a bit higher than the switch of the main pump, they detect when that main pump fails to work correctly and turn on to move water out of the home.

Battery backup sump pumps run off DC or AC/DC current. Some battery-powered models are also able to use the home’s utility power – they use the household AC current but switch to DC battery current if there is a power outage. Other battery-powered models only run off the unit’s battery. Typically, battery backup sump pumps use marine batteries that are maintenance-free. They charge on their own so the homeowner does not have to continuously monitor the system or recharge batteries.

As they turn on and off as needed, their battery life varies. When battery backup sump pumps run constantly for a lengthy period, battery life runs out sooner than it does in situations where the pump only has to cycle once per minute or less.

Installation for battery backup sump pumps is noninvasive. Since they use the same sump pit, there is no need to dig an additional one. Installation of a backup sump pump does not cost as much as installing a new secondary sump pump.

Battery backup sump pumps typically have an alarm that sounds when the system is triggered to turn on. This tells the homeowner that water levels are on the rise so action can be taken to protect valuable belongings and the home. Some backup units offer system monitoring to tell the user if battery levels are subpar or if malfunctions are present, so the system is able to receive repairs right away.

Why Install a Battery Backup Sump Pump?

There are many instances in which your home’s main sump pump can fail, leaving you with no reliable way to remove the water that seeps into your home. While a regular sump pump serves as the home’s main defense, battery backup sump pumps back them up in case of failure. Without them, water damage is more likely to occur.

Even if your home as a reliable sump pump that is well cared for, adding a battery backup sump pump is still smart. When a heavy rain comes with a severe storm that knocks out your power, it doesn’t matter how good that main sump pump is – it doesn’t work. A battery backup sump pump runs independently of your home’s utility power, so it is able to run when your main sump pump cannot due to power failure. 

Benefits of Battery Backup Sump Pumps

The benefits of battery backup sump pumps are extremely valuable to Cincinnati homeowners, as the costs associated with water damage are high. They offer protection for your home and peace of mind in the event your main sump pump fails or is unable to perform. With installation, gain these benefits of battery backup sump pumps:

  • Help for your primary sump pump
  • Backup in the event of a sump pump failure
  • Protection during power outages
  • Lower your risk of water damage

Battery Backup Sump Pumps Help Your Main Sump Pump

Your home’s main sump pump is made to clear a specific volume of water. Heavy rains or snow melting after a big winter storm have the ability to raise groundwater levels beyond your sump pump’s capabilities to remove. During these periods, homes are more likely to suffer flooding and damage even with a working sump pump.

Battery backup sump pumps are able to run alongside your home’s main sump pump to manage this excess water. When the backup system detects that water levels in the sump pit have gotten too high, they turn on and begin to remove water from the pit. This reduces stress to your main sump pump, protecting it while both pumps work to protect your home.

Backup Sump Pump Works When Your Main System Fails

Sump pump maintenance is often neglected and don’t receive annual service from a plumber as they should. This leaves the system vulnerable to minor issues that have the power to prevent it from working when needed. A jammed float switch or clogged intake screen go unnoticed without maintenance and stop the sump pump from doing its job.

With a battery backup sump pump, your home still has a way to remove water and protect against water damage when the main pump experiences issues. The battery backup system runs independently to direct water away from your home.

Battery Backup Sump Pumps Run During Power Outages

Power outages often come with the heavy rains and storms that cause water to seep into a home’s basement or crawlspace. When the power is off, water continues to fill the sump pit until it starts to run into the areas around it because the main sump pump is unable to work. Even a blown fuse or tripped breaker is able to stop a sump pump from running, which you may not even notice.

Because battery backup sump pumps operate on a battery and not the home’s electricity, they are able to work even when power to your home has been knocked out. They use their own float switch to detect sump pit water levels and turn on if the main pump doesn’t have power to do its job. Their batteries are able to run for hours to provide protection until utility power is restored.

Lower Your Risk of Water Damage

Water damage is expensive. The average water damage claim totals $10,234 in damages. As the second most common cause of loss claims, about one in 50 insured homes submit a water damage claim each year. Insurance experts say water damage is the top threat to homeowners.

With that, insurance carriers are seeing increasing water damage claims, but not all insurance policies cover it. Storm surges leading to flooding or poor plumbing maintenance causing sump pump failure may not be covered in your homeowners insurance policy, leaving you on the hook to pay for the damage.

Battery backup sump pumps help homeowners reduce the risk of costly water damage. They protect homes and their valuable contents to keep homes safer.

Battery Backup Sump Pumps from Thomas & Galbraith

Don’t leave your home and valuables at risk when your sump pump fails. Battery backup sump pumps installed by Thomas & Galbraith support main sump pump systems and provide extra insurance in the event of a failure. Contact us today to receive an estimate for installation.

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