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#1
Old 03-29-2010, 08:47 AM
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Backup Sump Pumps - battery vs. water powered

I'm in the market for a backup sump pump.
I assumed I'd be getting a battery backup system, and am considering getting this, which has an installed price of $1199.

On that same web site, I also saw a water powered pump. The installed price for this unit is about $700 more: $1899.

This is the first I've heard of these water-powered backups. Are they reliable? They are definitely more expensive for the initial purchase, but on the up side I will not need to replace a battery ($169 ?) every few years, and if I happen to be away from the house for an extended period, I don't need to worry that the battery will deplete while I'm gone.


Any experiences, recommendations, or pearls of wisdom regarding a water-powered sump pump backups?
#2
Old 03-29-2010, 08:57 AM
Just Lovely and Delicious
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 24,496
I just got a diaphragm-style sump pump and a water powered backup. Previously I had a float-arm-style pump that died (well, two of them, whee!) and no backup.

I went with the water powered one because I didn't trust myself to maintain a battery properly. Also it just made more sense to me to have, basically, a backup that would never run out of power.

My whole setup, including the pump, only cost $1300 installed. The diaphragm pump is a Stevens and the water backup is a Zoeller.

I read up about the backups a little bit before I went with the install. IIRC the main drawback was that a water pump can't extract as much water as fast as a battery one. I decided to take my chances, as I have never had a problem with water coming in too fast, just pumps that die.
#3
Old 03-29-2010, 12:39 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Hoosier Nation
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This is the water powered one I chose, when I added a backup a few years ago. Currently on sale for $319. I bought all the other fittings including dual check valves myself, and did the installation too. I chose water powered because I wanted something that would run for however long the power might be out during a storm. With the battery backup, if you lost the pump due to a power outage, the battery will run out if the outage lasts a long time. Then what do you do?

Last edited by Shark; 03-29-2010 at 12:40 PM.
#4
Old 03-29-2010, 02:08 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 27,503
I saw a water backup pump on "This Old House" and it was basically a float valve attached to a water venturi. I don't understand why it would cost $1,800.
#5
Old 03-30-2010, 09:05 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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The price in the OP for a water-powered backup seems really high- I've seen them for around $500-$600.

I don't need one at this house but if I did I'd definitely go with a water-powered unit. If you're gone for a week and the electricity is out the whole time, the water-powered pump will just keep pumping. I find it much more reliable than a battery backup.
#6
Old 03-30-2010, 10:43 AM
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Location: Southeast Michigan, USA
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That OP indicated he was given the installed price. Hopefully that includes a deduct meter and inspection.

Why the deduct meter (if your area allows)? Well, the water-powered pump uses your water. If you're on a municipal system, you're paying for that water.
#7
Old 03-30-2010, 11:02 AM
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If the water is being pumped outside and then to the storm drains, would it qualify for a deduct meter?

I'd happily pay for a week's worth of running water if it meant I avoided a flooded basement. My water bill is usually around $65/month in a house where four people shower daily, run the dishwasher daily, and do several loads of laundry weekly. If I'm running city water for a week, it's because I'm not there, so I'm not going through typical water usage for that time. If the savings from a dry basement meant I had to double, triple or quadruple my regular monthly bill, I'm all for it.
#8
Old 03-30-2010, 02:30 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Hoosier Nation
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My water backup pump has a float set higher than regular pump, so if I was gone and the main pump failed, the backup pump would only run when the level in the sump pit activates the backup float. If the power comes back on, or the rain stops it's only using water when it is absolutely necessary to keep the basement dry. Even if the power is out for a week, the water isn't flowing the whole time.
#9
Old 03-30-2010, 02:37 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Southeast Michigan, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corkboard View Post
If the water is being pumped outside and then to the storm drains, would it qualify for a deduct meter?
Probably, at least in Michigan, where sanitary sewers and storm sewers are virtually all separated now. It's also against current code to pump non-sewage water into the sanitary sewer system. We can run directly to the storm sewer system; that's where my sump pump goes. The water/sewer bill only charges for discharges to the sanitary sewer system, and thus we're allowed to use a deduct meter for water power sump pumps, as well as for irrigation and outdoor use.

Quote:
I'd happily pay for a week's worth of running water if it meant I avoided a flooded basement. My water bill is usually around $65/month in a house where four people shower daily, run the dishwasher daily, and do several loads of laundry weekly. If I'm running city water for a week, it's because I'm not there, so I'm not going through typical water usage for that time. If the savings from a dry basement meant I had to double, triple or quadruple my regular monthly bill, I'm all for it.
Oh, I hear you there. Also check with your insurance to see if you get a slight discount for having a backup system, otherwise they're on the line for a flooded basement.
#10
Old 03-30-2010, 02:41 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 24,496
I want to clarify from my post that I got a Stevens diaphragm sump pump and a Zoeller water powered backup pump both installed at once for $1300. The way I wrote it, it sort of reads that the price was only for the backup.

Nice tip about insurance, Balthisar. I will have to give my guy a call!
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