Water powered back up pump

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by RinconVTR, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. RinconVTR

    RinconVTR New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I just installed a 1" water powered backup sump pump this weekend and I thought I’d share my opinion today after a full day of moderate rain. It’s made (or just assembled?) by Tane Corp and they call it the Water Commander. There were a couple other brands, only one that came close to the flow rates, but it wasn’t made in America so I opted to buy from Tane for a bit more $$$.

    From prior posts, you’ll find I’ve been looking for ways to keep up with a very active pit and have a backup in place that can keep up with the high volume requirements should the power go out.

    I may also take the advice (from here I think) of installing a lower flow fountain type pump and 1/2" tubing to run more continuous vs the constant on/off of the main pump. We’ll see about this...I've never even heard of it being done before.

    Today made for a perfect day for actual testing of the water powered backup. (the video via the link was a manual test) We had a full day of moderate rain and lots of standing water in the yards. So I unplugged the main pump and WOW...this water powered thing is the real deal. It removed the high volume of water coming in as fast (or damn close?) as the main pump does. I feel so much better now having this installed.

    Some may think it costs a lot to run a water powered pump…but think again. The average cost of water in the US is $1.50 per 1,000 gallons. That’s water only FYI…not all counting the taxes and fee’s that we pay on our bill regardless of water use. So for about $1.50 my water powered pump (the highest flow rate pump available for residential use) could run CONTINOUS for an hour.

    To compare, my battery powered system cost nearly the same amount of money all said and done. But then, I had to replace the battery every 3-4 years for $90 and fill it with distilled water every 6 months. Of which I would learn it needed water via built in alarm going off at 1am. My biggest issue though, the vast majority do not pump the amount of water I needed it to and battery performance degrades over claimed run time.

    And on a side note, you’ll see in one pic my continued use of an electronic hi-lo switch. This too, although not commonly accepted in the professional world, has not let me down once in 2 years. All mechanical switches either failed or didn’t fit in the crock with my previous battery powered backup pump and pipe.

    Click here for pics and one video
  2. WellWaterProducts

    WellWaterProducts In the trades

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    Northwood NH
    To tell you the truth, I would have a hard time justifying one of these during a period of real emergency. If your water supplier is also out of power and unable to produce fresh water, these devices would serve to rapidly use up stored clean water.
  3. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    The biggest problem I have with most of them (not this one) is that you have to be in to use them.

    I far prefer a good battery back up.

    If I am in, and the power goes and the battery goes I'll just use a bucket.

    Actually, I'll swop the battery out for the car one and charge the first one in the car if I am really pushed because they are the same size.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  4. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    Quite honestly, I'd rather live somewhere that didn't require a bilge pump to keep my basement/crawlspace dry or to keep my house from floating away. I've never had such a pump in any of the houses I've lived in.

    As for the cost of operation...the first two places I lived based the sewer charge on the amount of potable water through the meter. Use more water and have a higher sewer bill. Using a venturi "pump" you need to flow about the same amount of water as what you pump, some much more "drive" water than water pumped. Where I live now the sewer charge is fixed regardless of how much water is used (and the water itself is cheap in comparison) so maybe the cost of operation would be less than that of a battery powered back-up pump. Still...(read first paragraph).
  5. RinconVTR

    RinconVTR New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Could you name one occurrence of such an example??? There may be parts of the country where this *could* technically occur, but even then, I would ask for an example to prove the point…other than those on well water where this device should never be installed.


    The point of this emergency backup in my case is twofold: Assume no one is home and the need for a high rate of water removal for an extended period (more than 8 hours).

    If one could assume you’ll always be home to fire up my generator this is a non-issue because my main pump can keep up fine and I have a back up main standing by. A battery backup will suffice for most people in such a circumstance, but if you saw the video I posted showing the very high rate of water flowing into my pit during a peak time, you’ll understand. See my video:

    http://s122.photobucket.com/albums/o250/rinconvtr/Sump/

    And I did not find one water powered back up pump that required manual intervention to operate FYI.
  6. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    I would worry about freezing with a system like that. And the huge level of discharge that would go with it.

    But with your levels of water intrusion I see why you went that way.

    For most people, without an indoor waterfall, a good battery-powered back-up works just fine.
  7. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Why do people want to live over a big hole just waiting for a chance to fill with water? Where they have stored all their stuff.... Build on piers and add a nice garage. Holes in the ground are for wine cellars - on hillsides.
  8. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    I've wondered the same thing Ballvalve. It is definitely an American phenomenon.

    I've put it down to the Cold War and tornados.

    Houses were built with basements just in case.
  9. RinconVTR

    RinconVTR New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    You're refering to a basement? Ummm...ok.

    I will say that there are only 2 other homes (that I know of) with in my neighborhood with sump pits that "flow" like mine and ALL others operate normally (pumps only run during the wettest of wet weather). Undergorund bodies or streams of water? Who knows.

    Only 10" of PVC exit the house and it pitched down, there is very little chance this will freeze. There is standing water in the pipe but it is well within the home at all times.
  10. WellWaterProducts

    WellWaterProducts In the trades

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    Northwood NH
    @RinconVTR - in New England we have some rather smallish public water supplies and a mix of nasty weather. We have had floods, ice storms, wind storms, etc that antagonize our power supplies. My company is contracted to
    operate some of the smaller systems (15 to 150 services). Only a few have standby generators. We do our best to encourage conservation during emergencies. The last thing we need is a collection of 15,000 gpd customers on those days.
  11. RinconVTR

    RinconVTR New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    That’s definitely a good example. A water powered back up would not be a good fit if you dont have a reliable source of water. Although 15,000 GPD use would never occur even with my extreme condition.

    And on that note, the high capacity pump I selected is not the best unit to compare and justify for use in other homes, but it does show off their capability.
  12. RinconVTR

    RinconVTR New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    That’s definitely a good example. A water powered back up would not be a good fit if you dont have a reliable source of water. Although 15,000 GPD use would never occur even with my extreme condition.

    And on that note, the high capacity pump I selected is not the best unit to compare and justify for use in other homes, but it does show off their capability.
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