If you have a quality French drain supplemented by the right sump pump, you’re already well-protected against basement water infiltration. Barring a 100-year flood or some other rainwater catastrophe, your basement should stay dry — as long as the power stays on. Unfortunately, unless you have a reliable backup system, all of your protection vanishes when the electricity goes out.
There are two ways to back up your sump pump: battery power and generator power.
A generator has an internal combustion engine that is powered by gasoline or diesel fuel. When your home’s electricity fails, you can manually turn on the generator to power your sump pump. For even better protection, the generator can be hard-wired into your home’s electrical system so that it automatically activates during a power failure. This option is particularly useful if you’re not at home when the electricity goes out.
It is important to make sure that your generator’s power output matches your pump’s requirements. No matter how good your sump pump, if it’s not getting enough power, you will likely end up cleaning out a flooded basement.
A battery back-up system requires that a second pump be installed in your basement, usually in the same hole that your first pump is in. The water level sensor for the secondary pump is slightly higher than that of your main pump. If the first pump fails, either mechanically or because of a power outage, the battery pump takes over.
Battery back-ups are great because they also protect against two types of failures – power and mechanical – but they only work as long as the battery lasts. Also, you must keep a fresh battery on the unit. It’s all too common for people to forgot about changing the batteries until it’s too late.
The ideal solution for many people is a combination of generator and battery back-ups. If your home suffers a prolonged power outage or 10 hours or more, this might be the only way to guarantee that your pumps keep working and that your basement stays dry.
But when it comes to sump pumps and back up systems, there is no one-size fits all solution. Much depends on your home, your basement, and your budget.
Gillece Services has expert plumbers that can evaluate your home and recommend a sump pump system that fits your needs and that will give you peace of mind during heavy rains (or melting snow). Gillece Plumbing can also quickly and painlessly install a pump, a backup generator, or an entire French drain system. We have experienced technicians in all of the trades, so whether its a backup generator or battery backup sump pump, we have the expertise to get the job done right the first time – and thousands of satisfied customers can attest to the quality of our work.