From the Forum – Water Powered Back-Up Sump Pump – Work in DC?

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Water Powered Back-Up Sump Pump – Work in DC?:

“We renovated our basement a few years ago after dealing with a flooding problem by installing a life-saving french drain system that has been great. The electric sump pump comes on when the water table rises…and we haven’t had a drop in the basement since.

However, the system is 100% dependent on having power to run the sump pump, and I am concerned about big storms that might knock out the power for even a few hours (or days), thus no sump pump.

I’ve contemplated generators and also battery-powered sump pumps, but came across a “Water Powered Back-Up Sump Pump” (see link below) that simply uses water pressure to run a back up pump in case of a power outage. It’s cheap, looks easy to install, and only requires “an uninterrupted municipal water source to operate”.

So my question is…any reason why DC water might get cut off in the case of a storm or power outage? Anybody have any good/bad experiences with a sump pump of this kind?”

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6 Comment

  • I’ve had this question as well. I’ll be interested to hear what others have to say

  • Pablo Raw

    Can you have an emergency battery system attached to it? Like a car battery?

  • I have a sump pump fed by a french drain that. The basin has two pumps in it: one is fed by regular AC from the wall, the other is fed by a boat battery attached to a power inverter. The inverter both keeps the backup battery charged and alerts us when we lose power (thereby signaling that the sump pump is running on the battery). At installation, I was told the battery could power the pump for a couple of days of *continuous* operation, meaning that if your pump goes off every 10 minutes or so during a heavy storm, it would last for days. You have to periodically agitate the battery to make sure it doesn’t dry out inside. If you let it dry out, I can explode – I had one explode on me and it wasn’t pretty. This system has been working since 2006 and I’m still using the same two pumps originally install. The backup system is called a Basement Sentry and the battery can be had from Sears for $100 or so.

  • Just like moving water from your own home, DC Water relies on electricity-powered pumps to move water to residences. Should DC Water lose power, that would reduce its ability to pump water and keep pressure in the system. Should there be a water main burst, this can also affect the pressure level and ability to serve customers. I would think DC Water being down for an extended period of time, however, is unlikely so this sort of system should be in most situations. For instance, I don’t remember the last time I was without water service.

  • Considering that some parts of Shaw just lost access to water for over 3 days due to a “funny smell,’ I would not rely on DC Water to ensure continuous operation.
    In a storm, drinking water supply could potentially be tainted by overflow sewage. If that happened, I could envision DC Water shutting off the water supply for a day or two to flush the system. Backup marine battery is your best bet; those things are beasts and will last for days. Be self-sufficient.

  • Yes it works well, we renovated our basement and install a french drain and sump pump. We didn’t have the additional space to install a battery back up and our contractor installed a sump pump that works with the water pressure. Before you consider this make sure you have access to a water line to run the unit, because the system is dependent on water pressure. For every gallon of water it discharges it uses a gallon of DC water, this is sort of like a siphon.

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