Secondary or Backup Sump Pump Installation


Your primary sump pump is in place and is working like a champ. It’s already gone a few bouts with your basement and stayed dry because of it. Then the rain starts getting heavier and heavier, you think to yourself “I’m so glad that I did my own primary sump pump installation! Suddenly, you hear a crack of thunder and everything goes dark. “When do you suppose the power will come back on?”, you think to yourself. You tiptoe into the basement hoping, praying that your sump pit isn’t full when your socks are starting to soak through. Some might think this could never happen to them, however, the people that it does happen to wish it was only a nightmare. Don’t let the lack of power come between you and a dry basement. Secondary sump pumps are a necessity when the power goes out, and it’s a breeze to install.

Which Secondary Pump Type to Get?

There are two different secondary pump types to get. The first type is battery backup. The secondary pump runs off of a backup battery for the times when your power goes out. Depending on the size of both the pump and the battery will determine how much longer your basement stays dry. Typically, battery backup sump pumps will run for 18-24 hours before requiring a recharge. This is usually sufficient enough to prevent flooding from temporary power outages. What happens when the power is out for longer than 24 hours? Either make sure you have a backup generator on hand to solve the problem, or use a water powered sump pump system. Water powered sump pump installation does require quite a bit of experience in plumbing to get the system installed. The water powered system relies on the force of flowing city water to pump the water from your sump pit. This backup option is undoubtedly the most reliable and worry free backup sump pump system to use.

Installing the Secondary Pump Just in Case

Backup sump pump installation is just as easy as a primary installation. All it takes is a little variation in the discharge pipe above the check valve so that the secondary pump can operate after the primary fails. Just above the primary check valve install a 1 ” PVC Y adapter so that the discharge pipe line splits into two for the two pumps. Install a second check valve for the backup sump pump so that you don’t have water draining into the secondary pump while the primary is still operational. Then follow the same steps you would take in installing the primary pump only this time placing the secondary pump on a sump footing higher than the primary pump yet below the drain tile. With the second pump in place, install the second float switch above the primary as well so that the secondary won’t turn on until it is required. Remember that secondary sump pumps should only be used in emergencies and as always, test the pump regularly by filling the sump pit with buckets of water.

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