Hi,... I would appreciate advice on a backup sump system. I've owned a home for 2 years and am a moderately handy plumbing amateur, but I've been researching this issue a lot the past few weeks.

Had 1" of water in the basement 4 weeks ago due to a frozen discharge line. The line is about 60 feet long leading to a pond. I'm pretty sure it sags in the middle and water collected there and froze because it's not below the frost line. (We're in Ottawa, Canada area.) I think the bedrock is close enough to the surface that it's difficult to get a proper slope.

Insurance company required a plumbers report so I told the above to a plumber and he wrote my words into report and recommended replacing the whole line (and adding a backup pump). I decide that's probably too expensive and disruptive to our lawn (and doesn't protect against an obstruction or freezing in new line) so I propose a redundant system where the battery backup sump pump has it's own line discharging 10-15 ft away from house. If/when the main line freezes again, I'll add a temporary hose to get water well away from house.

I'm not entirely sure if plumber is competent in sump pumps. I keep getting surprised that plumbers I ask seem to know little about hot water heater anodes, especially the segmented type we probably need for our raised HWH in basement. I'm half tempted to build my own system now that I've learned as much as I have... Although I suspect a plumber would at least have to inspect the system to avoid future troubles with insurance.


Q1: Would it make sense to have two completely seperate pumps, each with their own discharge line, or is there some robust method to tie the two lines together such that the primary pump could also discharge through the above ground line? I was imagining a valve activated from the backpressure of a frozen line.

Q2: I imagine the backup discharge line would be PVC, but have read that it might not last long above ground. Should this line be galvanized steel or something else ?

Plumber has finally come through with a verbal quote. High end option is a Hydromatic A+ battery backup sump system for about $1200 US + $200 US for labor and other materials. I think he also mentioned cheaper Hydromatic products but I haven't found info on their website: $280 US for FG/100 or $440 US for FG/200. Q3: Any info on these lower end Hydomatic products?

I don't like the Hydromatic A+ because it seems to have a continuous run-time of only 1.5 hours. It's a fully automatic 12V -> 120 VAC inverter system and I guess this is much less efficient than a DC motor system.

I've found things to like about the Basement Watchdog Big Dog (like 7.5 hr run time continuous) but apparently only the smaller Basement Watchdog systems have CSA approval for use in Canada. Q4: Is this a lower quality consumer grade product ?

From posts here I guess I should consider a Zoeller Aquanot II, assuming I can get that here in Canada. I'm concerned about the reports of Hydromatic quality dropping due to outsourcing to Mexico. I'm also concerned about the issue with Zoeller switches only lasting 100,000 cycles or so. I'm not sure how many cycles we'll get in a year, but I'd prefer a product that can last a LONG time.

Q5: What's my best best for a reliable battery backup system that can last at least 7 hours continuous or so? Can/should I replace the switch on the Zoeller Aquanot II ?

Q6: Primary AC pump is a 1/4 HP cheapie and due for replacement I guess since it's 6 years old. Any advantage with going with the same brand (Zoeller?) for the primary?

Q7: Any issues with a system such as this where the main line may freeze and the primary will be "spinning it's wheels" when the backup kicks in?

Q8: Any issues with hydrogen from the batteries in the semi-enclosed area under the stairs? Oild furnaces is 5-6 feet away.

Q9: I'll need a generator if the power is down too long. Is it safe to use a cheaper generator for the AC pump and DC pump as well as perhaps the furnace motor or should I get one of the much more expensive inverter generators that are better for electronics ?


Thanks much for any help or feedback !
Mike.