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Thread: Backup Sump Pump (battery)

  1. #1

    Default Backup Sump Pump (battery)

    Hello,

    I have a battery backup sump pump that runs along side of my powered sump pump. It is a 12V pump that uses a deep marine battery. It's that time of year when I am constantly worrying about my finished basement being flooded. Is it possible to 'daisy chain' 2, 3, 4 marine batteries together to make a larger capacity? I am in Canada by the way.

    Also, how costly would it be to have a generator hooked up to my electrical panel, and have it run automatically when the power goes out? Are we talking $300, or more like $8000.

    Thanks a lot in advance

  2. #2
    DIY Member bubb1957's Avatar
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    Default generators

    A generator that runs off of natural gas or propane with an automatic transfer switch is what you need for piece of mind. Prices vary depending on what you want to run in a power outage situation. Do a google search for Guardian generators, check out the guardian web site. I checked locally here in Northern Ohio, and I can have the 10k nat gas with transfer switch installed for around $3800.00. If you can get by with the 7k, it would be less and if you have the ability to install it yourself, much much less.

  3. #3
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    I would first check whether you are worrying needlessly.

    How often do you experience power cuts? I have a battery backup system and it has never been used.

    How often does your sump pump run? I had a power cut once when it was raining, but by the time my sump filled the power was back on. Hence the backup pump was not used.

    If you do not have many power cuts and the sump does not run often when its raining then you are being paranoid. It may be that with the battery backup system you already have, you have taken adequate precautions.

    If, on the other hand you are regularly drawing on the backup pump (let's say twice a year) for prolonged periods (let's say an hour or more at a time) then it might be prudent to consider other options.
    Last edited by Ian Gills; 04-28-2008 at 12:33 PM.

  4. #4
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Yes, you can hook multiple batteries up in parallel to increase Ah capacity.

    Make sure your crock is large enough that the pump does not cycle on and off excessively (motor killer). Improving the drainage around the house by raising the grade around the foundation and extending the downspouts is a much better fix than spending $$ on a generator.

    Unless your local power supply is a common problem you would be wiser to install primary and secondary pumps running off the grid and then add single battery backup which will pump for 6 hours on a good quality battery.

  5. #5

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    i am definitely not worrying needlessly. We have already flooded twice in our basement (costing us over $8000 in damages). I already have modified my pit size and have 1 submersible pump, 1 column pump and then the battery pump hooked up... I know it sounds nuts, but believe it or not we almost flooded last year with this set up. Our power is not very reliable out in 'the boonies'.

    Our house is in between 2 other houses and we are the lowest house of the bunch so we get the wettest. I have already put over 100 feet of O pipe in too.

    My set up is good now, I just need to re-position the 12V backup pump and I 'think' I'm set. I was just hoping the daisy chaining of batteries would help. Someone mentioned that he wasn't sure if the charger would charge all batteries or just the battery that was hooked up to the charger. What kind of cabling would I use for the daisy chain?

    As far as the transfer switch idea.... I like that the best. And all I need or care about to run in a power outage situation is my sump pump, so I am not sure how powerful I'd need to go. My main sump pump is 3/4 horse.

    Thanks all for your help/guidance.

  6. #6
    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by texasdontholdem View Post
    Hello,

    I have a battery backup sump pump that runs along side of my powered sump pump. It is a 12V pump that uses a deep marine battery. It's that time of year when I am constantly worrying about my finished basement being flooded. Is it possible to 'daisy chain' 2, 3, 4 marine batteries together to make a larger capacity? I am in Canada by the way.
    I'm going to install one tomorrow in Ontario (Myers). I found that by the time you need to use it, the cells on the battery will probably close enough that you won't be able to use it. (the reason I'm replacing the pump that I mentioned.Old and decrepid)

    As long as you do periodic maintanance checks to the battery system, then it should be ok. At best, you may want to keep a spare pump, ..... just incase.

  7. #7

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    Well my main pump was running all winter long..... water wasn't coming in too quick, but it was still coming in. I always test out my battery sump pump just to make sure it's up and running. My last battery lasted me almost 5 years, so not too bad.

    And I found good info on Guardian gens...

    http://www.guardiangenerators.com/Co...type=1&src=top

    But I think I'll try the daisy chain method first... If I can find the proper cables and info on it.

  8. #8
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    The 12vdc pumps don't draw a great deal of current so wire size remains fairly small. Make up some leads about 18" long (just enough to hook your 2 batteries together yet move things around a little without unhooking everything). I would use automotive or marine grade wire, 12 or 14 gauge will be more than sufficient. Crimp or solder ring terminals on the wire ends that fit properly on the battery posts. Parallel hookup is positive to positive, negative to negative. DO NOT hook up positive to negative, (series circuit) which would create a 24v system and ruin both the pump and charger in short order.

    With this set up, the charger WILL take twice as long to charge the batteries. Also, if one battery fails, it can drain the other. Marine batteries tend to be good for 3 years when using a good quality electronic charger. After 3 years your risk of failure increases greatly in my experience.

  9. #9
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Wow, it sounds like you have serious water issues. A 3/4 hp pump plus all the others. Wow. It sounds like you're living in a boat.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Gills View Post
    Wow, it sounds like you have serious water issues. A 3/4 hp pump plus all the others. Wow. It sounds like you're living in a boat.
    I bought a 'high end' 3/4 horse submersible with a lifetime warranty.... which is great because I have gone through 3 in the last 4 years. This last time I went with a different brand name. Bad luck huh?

    As far as my 'daisy chain' battery idea.... Our power went out yesterday and the single battery did very well, but the water isn't come in as quick as it would it March/April. I just don't know how long the single battery would last if the pump was coming on every 5 minutes and running for 2-3 minutes.
    That's why I think (hope) 2 batteries would be better than one.
    Last edited by texasdontholdem; 04-29-2008 at 04:54 AM.

  11. #11

    Default

    Some good advice above. If you are going to use multiple batteries, I would further add that you should:

    1. Make sure they are as similar as possible (same amp hour rating, age and don't mix AGM's with wet cells even if they are both 12v).

    2. Make sure each one is desulphated individually before hooking them up together.

    3. Make sure your charger unit can handle recharging in a series. You would want one with at least a 10 amp charging power.

    Also, I would not put much stock in "lifetime" warranties or the horsepower ratings. A true 3/4 HP pump would pump too quickly and cause your pump to short cycle. A good 1/3 (preferred) or max 1/2 HP is all you need. IMHO - the best pumps you can buy are Hydromatics or Zoellers and they do not offer such warranties. If you bought your pump at a big box store (ex. flotec, simer, wayne, etc.), I would reconsider your purchase.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by carmel corn View Post
    Some good advice above. If you are going to use multiple batteries, I would further add that you should:

    1. Make sure they are as similar as possible (same amp hour rating, age and don't mix AGM's with wet cells even if they are both 12v).

    2. Make sure each one is desulphated individually before hooking them up together.

    3. Make sure your charger unit can handle recharging in a series. You would want one with at least a 10 amp charging power.

    Also, I would not put much stock in "lifetime" warranties or the horsepower ratings. A true 3/4 HP pump would pump too quickly and cause your pump to short cycle. A good 1/3 (preferred) or max 1/2 HP is all you need. IMHO - the best pumps you can buy are Hydromatics or Zoellers and they do not offer such warranties. If you bought your pump at a big box store (ex. flotec, simer, wayne, etc.), I would reconsider your purchase.
    I just bought a new battery earlier this year. Would it be best to buy 2 new batteries at the same time?

    What does desulphate mean?

    And I'll make sure to check on my charging unit.

    Also, I am in Canada and we do not have Hydromatic or Zoeller brands.

    Thanks

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by texasdontholdem View Post
    I just bought a new battery earlier this year. Would it be best to buy 2 new batteries at the same time?

    What does desulphate mean?

    And I'll make sure to check on my charging unit.

    Also, I am in Canada and we do not have Hydromatic or Zoeller brands.

    Thanks
    I may be wrong, but you should still be able to get Zoeller or Hydromatic in Canada, but you may have to go through mail order or a plumping supply warehouse. Big box home improvement stores don't carry those brands. Neither do most local hardware stores.

    I second what a previous commenter said about your 3/4 HP pump. You are probably killing your pump motor because it doesn't run very long. Its counterintuitive, but its better for your pump to run longer, rather than shorter periods of time.

    I know my comments didn't answer your main question, but I know how frustrating the whole sump pump thing is. If I ever buy another house, its going to be at the top of a mountain in a desert Monkey hate sump!
    Jason Baker

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    Engineer Furd's Avatar
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    Marine "deep cycle" batteries are not the best for this application. A "marine" battery is not a true deep cycle but rather a compromise between a "starting and ignition" (automobile) battery and a true deep cycle battery.

    While it is certainly possible to parallel batteries for increased capacity it is far better to use a larger battery. Charging batteries in parallel is a compromise and can under certain circumstances lead to over charging of one battery and undercharging of the other.

    I suggest that you do a Google search for deep cycle battery and read up on them. Then find a local battery store that carries deep cycle batteries. You may find that a golf cart battery is just what you need.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Furd View Post
    Marine "deep cycle" batteries are not the best for this application. A "marine" battery is not a true deep cycle but rather a compromise between a "starting and ignition" (automobile) battery and a true deep cycle battery.

    While it is certainly possible to parallel batteries for increased capacity it is far better to use a larger battery. Charging batteries in parallel is a compromise and can under certain circumstances lead to over charging of one battery and undercharging of the other.

    I suggest that you do a Google search for deep cycle battery and read up on them. Then find a local battery store that carries deep cycle batteries. You may find that a golf cart battery is just what you need.
    I'll check for true deep cycle batteries. Never realized that the marine weren't true deep cycle. Thanks

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