Archive for Monday, March 25, 2013


Fix-It Chick: Install a backup sump pump

March 25, 2013


Any home that is dependent on a sump pump to stay dry should have a good backup plan. Installing a battery powered backup sump pump is a great solution.

Step 1: Choose a battery backup sump pump with an effective monitoring system and enough capacity to pump water up and out of the basement. Watchdog brand pumps offer alarms for battery and power issues as well as other common causes of pump failure.

Step 2: Purchase a deep-cycle marine battery to power the pump and enough acid to fill the battery.

Step 3: The backup pump can drain into the home’s current drainage system, but installing a separate discharge path directly outside is preferred. Create a drainage plan and purchase the additional pipe and fittings needed for proper installation.

Step 4: Read the backup pump manufacturer’s instructions completely before proceeding.

Step 5: If the sump pump pit is wide enough, install the backup pump inside the pit alongside the existing pump. If the pit is too narrow, use two stainless steel hose clamps to mount an L-shaped metal bracket onto the existing discharge pipe slightly above the existing pump. Attach the base of the backup pump onto the “L” bracket with stainless steel nuts and bolts. Secure the new pump into place above the old sump pump.

Step 6: Install a 1-foot section of PVC pipe straight up and out of the new pump. Attach a check valve at the top of the pipe. Set up the discharge path for the new pump, running the discharge pipe from the check valve to the outside or into the existing drainage system. Create a path with the least amount of turns possible and angle all horizontal sections of pipe down and away from the pump. Do not glue any pipe or fittings together until later.

Step 7: Once the drainage system has been installed and the pump is securely in the pit, place the deep-cycle battery into position and fill it with acid. Wait 20 minutes and check the acid level. If necessary, add more acid. Press the cell caps into place and proceed with the final steps of pump installation, per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 8: When everything has been properly installed, test the battery system, the float system and the drainage system. Glue the PVC fittings into place and let the rain begin.


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