Backup Sump Pump (battery)

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by fjacky32, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. fjacky32

    fjacky32 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    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. bubb1957

    bubb1957 New Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Northern Ohio
    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. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    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: Apr 28, 2008
  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    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. fjacky32

    fjacky32 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    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. krow

    krow Plumber

    Messages:
    906
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    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. fjacky32

    fjacky32 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    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...


    But I think I'll try the daisy chain method first... If I can find the proper cables and info on it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2014
  8. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    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. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    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. fjacky32

    fjacky32 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    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 a moderator: Apr 29, 2008
  11. carmel corn

    carmel corn New Member

    Messages:
    52
    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. fjacky32

    fjacky32 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    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. vitaminj

    vitaminj New Member

    Messages:
    15
    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!
  14. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    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. fjacky32

    fjacky32 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    I'll check for true deep cycle batteries. Never realized that the marine weren't true deep cycle. Thanks
  16. fjacky32

    fjacky32 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    I actually modified my sump pit and it is quite large and the motor does run for 45 seconds to a minute and then at peak time will sit for 5 minutes. (is that good enough?)

    But maybe I should go for a 'lighter' pump next time.... But the lifetime warranty sure helps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2008
  17. carmel corn

    carmel corn New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Deep cycle batteries are most often found in golf carts. They are usually a 6-volt, not 12 volt. They tend to have thicker plates and can withstand the constant charging/draining better than 12v batteries. You can buy 2 6-volts and wire them in a series (not parallel) to create a 12v system. This will not double your amp hour rating, but it will make them compatible with a 12v backup pump system. Generally, Trojan is one of the better known 6-volt brands. They require maintenance (water). If you want to go the maintenance free route, the best 12v deep cycle battery I know of is the Lifeline AGM made by Concorde. They are very pricey, but generally have thicker plates and are a higher quality battery vs. your cheaper marine options. Their 31T size has an amp hour rating of 105.

    I don't mean to question you, but I would be extremely skeptical that you have a true 3/4 HP pump if it takes 45 sec to 1 minute to complete a pump cycle. Unless you have a double float pump switch and/or a pit the size of the Grand Canyon ;), then your pump rating is overrated IMHO. A Hydromatic VS33 1/3 HP can pump 40 GPM at a 10' head. A good 3/4 HP sewage pump would do around 150 GPM. Is your pump really doing 100+ gallons a cycle? A lifetime warranty won't do much for you if you flood again.
  18. vitaminj

    vitaminj New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Never mind. You win :) My pump runs for six seconds then is off for 30 seconds during heavy rain or thaws. I'm still surprised that your pumps die so quickly.
  19. fjacky32

    fjacky32 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Well the pit is quite big. I have a submersible, column, and battery backup pump in there, with still enough room to fit a bucket in there to bail water if needed. Also, it may not be a 'true' 3/4 horse, but that's what it says on the motor.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2008
  20. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    Are you sure it's not a swimming pool you have down there?
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