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Sump pumps help keep a home dry during floods. For areas with heavy groundwater, sump pumps regularly activate to expel water before it enters the home.

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Electrical supply is a weak point for sump pumps since pumps need electricity to operate. Yet storms often down power lines or disable transformers. Sump pump battery backups cost an average of $900, with high costs of $1,200 and low costs of $600. Installing the system by yourself will cost between $160 and $600.

What a Sump Pump Battery Backup Is

A sump pump battery backup system consists of a sump pump, a 12-volt marine battery and electrical and plumbing accessories. The system acts as a secondary, backup system for your primary sump pump. So, backup systems are not used alone. Instead, they are used in conjunction with another working system.

If the primary sump pump system fails, due to a lack of electricity or for other reasons, the battery backup system seamlessly takes over. Most systems issue a piercing alarm so that you’ll be aware that your home is now working off of battery power.

Smart sump pump battery backups allow you to receive notices on your phone, telling you that your backup system has taken over from the primary system.

Reasons for Sump Pump Battery Backup Systems

Sump pumps are tied to your home’s electrical power system, which itself is tied to the electrical power grid. High winds, tropical storms, hurricanes or any event capable of bringing down power lines may also bring catastrophic water events that challenge your home’s sump pump system. So, a battery backup keeps your sump pump system running at the very time when it is most likely to fail.

Sump pump battery backups offer other advantages such as a power outage alarm, pump failure alarm and a stuck float switch warning.

Another advantage to a sump pump backup system is that it provides your home with two sump pumps instead of one. If your sump pit is inundated with more water than your primary pump can handle, the secondary backup pump works alongside the first one to provide the home with a greater pumping capacity.

Factors That Influence Sump Pump Battery Backup Cost

  • Type of Battery: A standard lead-acid vehicle battery will help control the cost of the sump pump battery backup system. These batteries provide a great amount of electricity, but only for a short period. Generally speaking, the more expensive a deep-cycle lead-acid battery (or marine battery) is, the better it is for sump pump backups, as this usually means it has a longer run time.
  • Pumping Capacity: Higher capacity sump pump backups cost more than lower capacity units. High-capacity pumps can pump 2,200 GPH (gallons per hour). Lower capacity pumps can pump 1,000 GPH or less.
  • Inclusion of Battery: Some backup systems do not include the battery. Standalone backup batteries cost between $120 and $200.
  • Professional vs. DIY Installation: Installing your own sump pump battery backup will help you save hundreds of dollars. The highest priced, higher quality unit (about $600) costs the same as professionally installing a low-cost, lower-quality sump pump backup unit.

Sump Pump Battery Backup Maintenance

Since a sump pump battery backup is a sump pump, it requires the same type of maintenance as does the primary sump pump.

The unit should be removed from the sump pit at least once a year. The pit should be cleaned out and the backup sump pump’s screen should be cleared of debris.

If you have a particularly dry basement or crawl space, you should occasionally test out the sump pump by pouring water into the sump pit.

Many sump pump batteries require that you check battery fluid levels at least every three to six months. You may be required to top off the battery with distilled water or with acid, depending on the type of battery. Some batteries are maintenance-free, requiring no additional fluid. Be sure to check with your backup system’s instructions before adding any fluids.

How to Find the Right Pro For Your Sump Pump Battery Backup Installation

A waterproofing contractor or plumber can install a sump pump battery backup for you. Any contractor or professional who installs sump pumps should be able to install a battery backup system. The systems can be DIY-installed, too.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long can a sump pump battery backup run?

While it does depend on the type of sump pump battery, most backup systems can be expected to run continuously for about five to seven hours. For intermittent service, a sump pump battery can last about 60 hours.

Can you back up your sump pump system without electricity?

Electricity stored in batteries is the main form of energy for most sump pump backup systems. Some sump pump backup systems, though, are water-powered. They use the pressure from your home’s municipal water line to drive the system, much like a water wheel.

Can you add a battery to your existing, primary sump pump?

You can, but it is not common. Some battery backups are available that plug in between the primary sump pump and the GFCI outlet. These batteries will allow the primary pump to operate in the event of a power failure. But they do not give you additional pumping capacity, as with a sump pump battery backup system.

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