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Is a water sensor better than a backup sump?

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  • Aug 14th, 2021 1:06 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2013
4935 posts
8132 upvotes
Canada

Is a water sensor better than a backup sump?

Hey all, I have a Honeywell water sensor by my sump pit. My sump doesn't run continuously or anything, I don't live on a swamp. My house is 2015 built and when we got the possession we noticed the sump power cable was covered in dried mud, we are pretty sure it was used to pump out a flooded basement after a rainstorm before the framing was complete. The thing has worked perfectly fine despite this. But I have been finishing my basement and always wondering whether I should get a backup sump.

There is the secondary sump pump option in case the first one fails. Then there is the battery backup option which seems like it only works for a short period if the power goes out. I'm not sure either is worth it because in the rare instance of a failure or long power outage, my water sensor should go off and I can go down and manage the water myself.

Part of the reason I ask all this is I am also looking to get my radon mitigated because I am averaging about 100.

What do you think?
13 replies
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1993 posts
1723 upvotes
GTA
For sump pits I would usually spec the following:

Primary Pump
Secondary Pump
At least 6 hours of backup power.

In regards to "dealing with it yourself", what if you're not home? Do you have a spare pump elsewhere?

The risk factor is more so what is your sump connected to. A sewer? Which Sewer? does it pump to the surface? Does it just collect the weepers? Is your grading good around your house? Does it pick up any drains etc etc.

By safety standards, 100 isn't that high. 200 is really the limit. What are your peaks, and whats your CO? Perhaps better air exchange would do the trick as opposed to a mitigation system.
Jr. Member
Apr 8, 2013
180 posts
82 upvotes
Toronto
Yes, a water powered or battery back up sump pump is well worth the extra cost. There could be a situation where you're away from home, the power goes out and you're hit with a rain storm. I installed a Liberty battery back up sump pump three years ago. I accidently shut off the circuit breaker powering the primary sump pump a few months later. The battery back-up kicked in when we had a rain storm. Best $1,000 that I've spent.
Deal Addict
Jun 8, 2004
2014 posts
1084 upvotes
Oakville
Having an alarm is good to notify you, but it isn't going to help you if the sump pump fails.

How exactly are you going to manage the water if the alarm goes off when you are at home?

My sister was home without an alarm when their sump pump failed during a rain storm, and the water kept coming up the hole. They grabbed towels and tried for hours trying to keep ahead of the water. In the end, they had a few inches of water in their entire basement, and a costly insurance claim to clean up and replace everything.

Having one or two backup sump pumps is cheap insurance to have when you need it most.
Member
Feb 20, 2019
313 posts
106 upvotes
I am in the market for backup sump pump. Any recommendations? is water powered better than battery? any specific brands or are they all kinda same?
Deal Addict
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Jul 4, 2009
1593 posts
961 upvotes
Windsor, ON area
The cheapest and easiest backup would be a battery backup. The downside with the battery backup is that the limited run time based on the size of your battery. For prolonged outages, it could be a problem.

A water backup doesn't rely on electricity, but may more costly to install, and uses your municipal water to run. Also, cannot be installed if you're on a well.

If money and space is no object, I would have a backup battery system and a backup water to back up the battery system.
Jr. Member
Apr 8, 2013
180 posts
82 upvotes
Toronto
Liberty makes excellent sump pumps (both primary, water-powered and battery back-up). We installed a Liberty Pumps PC237-441 - a primary and battery back-up combination system and have been very happy with the unit.

A water powered back-up sump pump is advantageous from the standpoint that it will never run out of power if there's an extended power outage (assuming that you're on municipal water). You also don't need to replace the marine battery every 3-4 years. The primary disadvantage is may be some higher installation costs to connecting the supply line.
Deal Addict
Sep 6, 2017
4484 posts
2966 upvotes
get a second pump instead of a back up sensor. what are you going to do if your sensor trips and water is rising? get a bucket or buy a second pump now?
Member
Nov 13, 2019
315 posts
104 upvotes
Toronto
Gonna piggy back off this one, in a similar situation as OP

Approximately how much am I looking at for having a secondary backup pump installed? In Toronto
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1993 posts
1723 upvotes
GTA
timofeewho wrote: Gonna piggy back off this one, in a similar situation as OP

Approximately how much am I looking at for having a secondary backup pump installed? In Toronto
The scope will vary a lot here, are you going with a duplex system, with a full battery backup and top of the line everything?

Or are you just going with a $99 pump from the hardware store and paying a pumper a minimum charge to show up and wye it into your existing discharge line?

So the answer is $99 + $20 of fittings/pipe + plumber min charge, to $2500+
Jr. Member
Apr 8, 2013
180 posts
82 upvotes
Toronto
The total cost for my system was approximately $1,100. This included the Liberty 441 combination primary and battery back up unit, a marine battery from Canadian Tire, installation and taxes.

I purchased my unit from H20 Plumbing (Kipling & Queensway) - I arranged for a local plumber to install the unit.
Member
Nov 13, 2019
315 posts
104 upvotes
Toronto
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: The scope will vary a lot here, are you going with a duplex system, with a full battery backup and top of the line everything?

Or are you just going with a $99 pump from the hardware store and paying a pumper a minimum charge to show up and wye it into your existing discharge line?

So the answer is $99 + $20 of fittings/pipe + plumber min charge, to $2500+
Haha, is there no middle ground? My current one works just fine, but I kinda want some reassurance, thus the backup of some sort
F22Raptor wrote: The total cost for my system was approximately $1,100. This included the Liberty 441 combination primary and battery back up unit, a marine battery from Canadian Tire, installation and taxes.

I purchased my unit from H20 Plumbing (Kipling & Queensway) - I arranged for a local plumber to install the unit.
Gotcha thanks!
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Sep 27, 2006
4933 posts
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Not so easy there Ma…
cba123 wrote: Having an alarm is good to notify you, but it isn't going to help you if the sump pump fails.

How exactly are you going to manage the water if the alarm goes off when you are at home?

My sister was home without an alarm when their sump pump failed during a rain storm, and the water kept coming up the hole. They grabbed towels and tried for hours trying to keep ahead of the water. In the end, they had a few inches of water in their entire basement, and a costly insurance claim to clean up and replace everything.

Having one or two backup sump pumps is cheap insurance to have when you need it most.
Just an FYI for someone gets in that sort of situation tying to bail water without a backup sump pump. Have a shop vac at home, they can suck up water very fast, I think mine would fill in 45 seconds.
Deal Addict
Jun 8, 2004
2014 posts
1084 upvotes
Oakville
fergy wrote: Just an FYI for someone gets in that sort of situation tying to bail water without a backup sump pump. Have a shop vac at home, they can suck up water very fast, I think mine would fill in 45 seconds.
Good suggestion, but if you don't have one, would you spend the money on a backup sump pump or a shop vac?

This reminds me of when I was renting a place back in university, and we had a sewer backup on new years eve (as a person flushed a feminine pad down the toilet and plugged the sewer line as we had to get the lines snaked the next morning). The house had the downspouts still tied into the sewer lines, and it was raining outside, and the water was coming up through the floor drain. We used a shop vac to suck up the water, but we couldn't pour it down the drain since it was blocked and would come right back up the floor drain. We passed the shopvac canister out through the basement window and poured it outside, but then realized it just added to the water entering the weeping tiles and eventually came up the floor drain, so we had to dump the canister out much further away. It was still a long battle with nature that new years eve.

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