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Is a Battery Backup Sump Pump Worth it?

Louisville homes with basements and crawlspaces need sump pumps to move water away from the foundation and prevent water damage. Unfortunately, when the home’s main sump pump fails, the home is left without protection and expensive water damage is a potential result. Battery backup sump pumps help residents protect their homes and valuables in the event of sump pump failure.

Flooding is an issue for many homes throughout the Louisville area – even if the home is not in a floodplain, groundwater levels are able to cause flooding in basements or crawlspaces. Learn about the function of sump pumps and battery backup sump pumps, and why these systems are so important.

The Purpose of a Sump Pump

Heavy rains and large volumes of snow melting saturate the ground with excess moisture. This water seeps into crawlspaces and basements through cracks in the foundation. Unchecked, flooding occurs as well as significant water damage.

Sump pumps are used to manage this groundwater infiltration and safely move excess water away from the home. A sump pit is dug at the lowest point of the home to collect incoming water. The sump pump sits within this pit and pumps out water when accumulation reaches a certain level. 

Sump pumps are either manual or automatic, and both run off a home’s electrical power. Manual sump pumps must be turned on and off by the user, whereas automatic sump pumps detect water level in the sump pit and automatically activate when levels are too high. Most homeowners choose an automatic sump pump, as rising water levels are difficult to detect and the manual sump pump may not be able to be turned on in time to prevent flooding.

Many homes throughout the Louisville area need a sump pump, but not all. Homes built on slab foundations do not require a sump pump, but these homes do:

  • Homes in Flood Plains
  • Homes in Low Areas
  • Homes in Areas That Receive Heavy Rain and/or Snowfall
  • Homes With Finished Basements
  • Homes That Have Had Flooding Issues in the Past

Can a Sump Pump Fail?

A sump pump can stop working or fail to turn on because of many different issues. Because the sump pump is installed in an out-of-the-way area, sump pump issues often go unnoticed until flooding occurs. When the primary sump pump fails, there is no way to remove water unless the home is equipped with a backup system. 

Common causes of sump pump failure include:

  • Switch Malfunctions
  • Mechanical Issues
  • Excessive Use
  • Power Failures

Battery backup sump pumps remove water when the main sump pump is not working to protect the home against flooding and resulting water damage.

About Battery Backup Sump Pumps

Battery backup sump pumps are secondary sump pumps that serve the same goal: removing water to keep your basement or crawlspace dry. They are a protective measure that serve as backup should the primary sump pump go out.

Plumbers install battery backup sump pumps alongside the home’s main sump pump, in the sump pit. The backup unit is equipped with a float switch just like the main unit, which detects rising water levels and activates the pump. Typically, the float switch on battery backup sump pumps is set slightly higher than the main pump’s float switch. This triggers the battery backup sump pump to turn on if water levels get too high because the main pump isn’t working properly.

Battery backup sump pumps have their own dedicated battery which uses either AC/DC or DC current to operate. Some models allow the backup sump pump to run off the home’s electricity and switch to the battery power in the event of a utility outage. Others just utilize battery power. Battery backup sump pumps use marine batteries built for wet environments. They are maintenance-free and automatically recharge to eliminate the risk of forgetting to charge the batteries.

Battery life in battery backup sump pumps vary between models and are impacted by the run time of the unit. If battery backup sump pumps must run constantly to remove water, the battery life is typically several hours. If the backup pump is able to cycle on and off, battery life is much longer.

A great feature of battery backup sump pumps is their built-in alarm, that alerts homeowners when they are in use. This tells the user not only that water levels are rising so belongings can be protected, but that there is an issue with the main sump pump that has triggered the need for backup pump use. Then, the homeowner is able to have repairs made so the primary pump is able to properly function in the future.

Installation of Battery Backup Sump Pumps

Battery backup sump pumps are installed with minimal hassle. Since they operate out of the same sump pit as the main pump, an additional pit is not required. This eliminates the expense and mess of jackhammering through concrete and digging an additional hole in the basement or crawlspace. Battery backup sump pumps are cost-effective and their installation costs much less than having a second main sump pump installed for protection.

Benefits of Battery Backup Sump Pumps

The most important benefit of battery backup sump pumps is their ability to reduce the risk of water damage in homes. A flooded basement or crawlspace typically leads to significant and costly damage. As many basements serve as storage, a battery backup sump pump helps homeowners protect the valuables and priceless mementos stored below their homes.

Water damage is the leading risk to homeowners across the country. The Insurance Information Institute reports that one in 50 homes protected by a homeowners insurance policy have a water damage claim each year. The insurance industry has also reported seeing a rise in these types of claims over recent years.

The average water damage claim results in $10,234 worth of damages. However, not all homeowners insurance policies protect homeowners in the event of a basement or crawlspace flood. Most policies do not offer coverage for flooding caused by rising bodies of water and often do not cover flooding caused by storm surges. If your sump pump fails due to lack of maintenance, you may not be covered either, as policies typically do not cover issues caused by neglect.

Battery backup sump pumps are an additional defensive measure homeowners choose to reduce their risk of water damage caused by flooding and sump pump failure. If the home’s primary sump pump fails or is unable to keep up, thousands of dollars of water damage may result, and this expense may come out of the homeowner’s pocket. Installing battery backup sump pumps costs much less than a single water damage incident.

Why You Need a Battery Backup Sump Pump

There are many scenarios in which having battery backup sump pumps installed benefits Louisville area homeowners. This equipment provides added protection in case the primary sump pump is unable to perform. Battery backup sump pumps deliver peace of mind in the following situations:

  • Too Much Water
  • Power Outages
  • Primary Sump Pump Failure

Too Much Water

A home’s sump pump is able to move out a certain volume of water over a period of time. During heavy storms or a warm period after a significant snowfall, the ground often becomes saturated with so much water, the home’s main sump pump is unable to keep up with the volume that seeps in. Even though the primary sump pump is in good shape and functioning properly, homes are still vulnerable to water damage in this situation.

Battery backup sump pumps are able to help the primary sump pump with the removal of excess water in these situations. When their float detects water in the sump pit has reached too high because the main pump is unable to keep up, they get to work. Battery backup sump pumps reduce the burden a home’s main pump experiences, which helps to protect the main sump pump and keep the home clear of water.

Power Outages

Strong storms that drop heavy rainfall and raise groundwater levels have the potential to knock out power, which may take hours to restore. As groundwater rises, homeowners don’t have the time to wait around without a working sump pump to address a filling sump pit. Water begins spilling into the basement or crawlspace as the pump has no power.

Homes that have battery backup sump pumps do have protection in the event of a power outage. Since the backup unit runs off battery power, it is not affected by an electrical outage. Battery backup sump pumps turn on and off as needed to manage water for many hours until utility power is restored.

Sump Pump Failure

Since sump pumps sit in out-of-the-way areas, homeowners often forget they need maintenance. Without an annual maintenance check performed by a plumber, the sump pump may have issues that prevent it from working when needed – without the homeowner’s knowledge.

When a clog or malfunctioning float switch stop the primary sump pump from operating, battery backup sump pumps kick into gear to do the job. They are truly backup protection and take over to keep homes dry when primary solutions fail.

Jarboe’s Installs Battery Backup Sump Pumps

Homeowners throughout the Louisville area need the protection and peace of mind that battery backup sump pumps offer. Jarboe’s licensed plumbers perform quick and reliable installation of these units to back up a home’s main sump pump and protect against water damage. Call Jarboe’s today to receive an estimate for battery backup sump pump installation.

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