Zoeller Aquanot vs. Basement Sentry?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by wwtma, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. wwtma

    wwtma New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Had a close call with the sump pump last night, so am planning to replace the primary pump, and also adding a backup with battery. I've seen several references to the Aquanot, but not many mentions of the Basement Sentry -- is one clearly preferable to the other? Our house has an 18" diameter sump basin, I think about 2 ft tall, so I'm concerned that fitting two pumps in there would be tight with some risk of the switches getting tangled up either with each other or the (ribbed) liner of the basin. The Basement Sentry setup where the backup sits on top of the primary would maybe be an easier fit.

    Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
  2. stay away from the sentry

    the Aquanot and the sentry are as different as night and day....

    I can almost guarantee you that the Aquanot will last forever and pump out a ton of water..

    the Sentry is good till the year warranty runs out..thats it and it only pumps
    maybe a one-fifth of what the Aquanot can do.

    if you put the aquanot on a separate drain out the side
    of the house into the bushes, you have added extra security
    in case the main sump line were ever to freeze..


    both pumps will fit down in the hole, its no big deal

    I do it all the time

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/sumppumps/
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  3. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I prefer the Basment Watchdog myself. I just came from a homeowner that had one installed 10 years ago. It was pumping his 15 year old primary pump had died. The unit I recomend to everyone and the unit he had was the Basement Watchdog Big Dog. http://www.basementwatchdog.com/basement_watchdog_bigdog.htm
  4. wwtma

    wwtma New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Basement Watchdog combo?

    Thanks for the replies and suggestions. In looking at the Basement Watchdog website, I noticed that they have something that sounds perfect for what I need -- a combo primary & backup together that's pretty compact and pre-assembled. Any thoughts? Are their primary pumps good? (Haven't heard them mentioned much.) Does anyone else make a similar combo that would be as easy to set up? Our current setup is an 18 diameter/2 ft deep basin with a pump that runs probably 3-5 times a day for maybe 5 minutes.

    Thanks again!
  5. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Just do not get the one with the yellow Basement Watchdog Emergency back up system. I am not a huge fan of their back up pumps. The Big dog pump will sit right next to the primary pump. You can tie the discharges together or you can drill a new hole out the wall and run the back up pump out on its own line(my preferred way).

    [​IMG]. .[​IMG]


  6. I put my first Zoeller backup pump a couple weeks ago and I just cannot say they match up to the likeability factor to the basement watchdog.


    That keyboard on the watchdog will tell you absolutely everything and anything that's going on with it.


    The zoeller doesn't have many of the features like low battery acid, a default audible alarm that stays on whether it is no long engaged or not. That and the battery charger is HUGE when the BWD just has a simple trickle charger to keep the battery up.


    I go with the emergency/yellow BWD as it is more than enough for most if not all residential applications.

    If there is a large amount of water entering the building, then a larger pump volume along with a larger battery is a good recommendation.

    I'm still a strong advocate for Zoeller products, just in awe of the differences to the two mentioned.
  7. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    BWD Big Dog uses a 20 amp charger as well it has an ac/dc switch meaning if the ac power is on and the primary pump fails the BWD Big Dog will run off the AC saving the battery for a true emergency. The unit also gives 7.5 hours of nonstop pumping time,which is a lot longer than it seems since the pump does not run nonstop. I had a lady with the Big Dog model in her home, she had no power going on 72 hours and the unit finally sounded the battery discharged alarm, meaning there is about 3 hours left of continuous pumping. So I showed up with a brand new battery filled it with acid as I was walking into the basement the power came on. So we opted to use the BWD battery extender cables which hooks up both batteries for extend run time.

    Oh and one other feture the Big dog has is it can hook up to an alarm system like ADT
  8. I always put the bigger 7.5 hour standy battery in, instead of the recommended one for the "emergency" model.


    Do they sell the big dog at HD? If so, what's the price difference? I believe the total for everything including battery/pump and acid runs around $228-$278...can't remember.


    Sometimes these setups can hinge on price alone; had a customer call just yesterday saying he was shocked not realizing how expensive the BBU units cost.


    Last thing I deal with are price shoppers on those types of installations.

    I don't consider the task easy, especially the way I install them. I allocate 3 hours minimum for the install with a primary pump replacement, 2 new check valves.
  9. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    HD web site shows the Big Dog model at $474.00 plus the battery and acid. The other feature I like about it is that it auto tests the unit once a week. I seen many of the emergency units fail due to inactivity of the pump running. The minerals build up around the impeller and cause the pump not to run when it is activated. Where since the Big Dog tests itself, if there is any trouble with the pump itself not running properly it will sound an alarm for it.
  10. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    One thing I will share with you is the bigger is not better when it comes to charging a deep cycle battery. 10 amps is it! Faster charging will kick the batteries butt! Also the charger needs to know when to stop or it is just killing the life of the battery. Most batteries require opening the caps to check the electrotite level and refill if needed batteries. But, if your customer is not so inclined you should provide an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) or, Gel battery. AGM & Gel batteries are maintenance free and require no watering.

    Another tip if you really want to drastically increase the storage capacity of your battery system is to hook up 2-6 volt batteries in series. Lets just say that on my boat I run a 24 volt trolling motor with 4 of the 6 volt batteries and I can point the bow into the current on the river and fish for a good 2 1/2 days without running low on juice while a lot of my friends barely make it through one day with the same motor using 12 volt batteries.

    On a final note I like Trojan Batteries!

    Trojan AGM product sheet

    Trojan Deep Cycle Gel product sheet

    Click here to locate a Trojan Battery Dealer near you
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  11. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    The Basement Watchdog Big Dog system monitors the electrolyte level, and will sound an alarm if water is needed. Also the charger is rated at 20 amps, the computer in the unit prevents overcharging, and another note is marine batteries need to be discharged and recharged every so often to maintain them. The Big Dog does this automatically every 30 days. This unit covers all the bases that is overlooked on most systems. Yesterday we had lots of flooding in the Chicago area, I seen 4 Basement Watchdogs working perfectly sounding the alarm that the primary pump had failed. I seen 5 AuqaNot/ Zoeller systems where 3 of them never turned on. Two of the AuqaNot systems had bad batteries, with out an alarm telling the home owner this they suffered the consequences.
  12. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    As I stated better batteries do not require montoring of the electrolite.

    How does the big dog handle a bank of bateries?
  13. the biggest problem with watch dogs

    This is all just my opinion but
    I will stick with the Aquanot II with the

    maintaince free gel battery and the three year warranty
    and the alarm that will wake the dead
    over the watch dog, and the sump pro too.

    the reason you had failures in Chicago is because no one
    takes the time to check their battery......
    that is why the GEL BATTERY is the only way to go


    I read the big dog site and it claims that it
    will automatically come on once a month to run
    that pump....which is a very good feature
    that the Aquanot does not have...

    I just dont trust that little
    pump sitting down in the water..




    also the rigid pump is poor quality and is
    bound to fail some day with the switch and pump
    all on one wire...



    I have had the watch dogs kits that had the special check valve built
    into the side of the pump and installed above the other pump
    fail and totally flood a basement out more than once...

    the pump kept pumping but went back into the pit through a defective
    check ball in the back up pump....




    the best way is with separate check valves like in
    the picture


    yes the Aquanot and battery runs about 800
    bucks plus installation ......but it is well worth it...

    Personally, I would rather have someone beat the hell out
    of me over having a flooded 45k finished basement.





    [​IMG]


    [​IMG] Note how bad this sump pro looks like from
    just sitting down inthe water for a year or two and its considered
    better than the watch dog...
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    If you want a wimpy plastic pump why not save money and get one of these rather than one of those overpriced "Backup Sump Pumps"

    [​IMG]

    Its the same pump only here it's called a bilge pump!:cool:
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  15. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I have been installing the basement watchdog system for 8 years now. They are real good strong systems. I do not recommend the BW Emergency , or the special, for best peace of mind the Big Dog or the PHCC Pro 2200 is the way to go. Yea the pic you showed its grimy on the outside, but all pumps that sit in a pit gets looking like that even the AuqaNot pump. Glentronics has maintenance free batteries as well, they just do not last as long, you take the water sensor probe and put it with the positive terminal to silance that part of the alarm. A battery that has all its electrolyte in place is already breaking down. What this means to the consumer is a shorter than normal life. Let me clarify, an average lifespan for a battery is 5 to 7 years once the electrolyte is making the electricity in the battery. So the battery is on the shelf at the manufacture, then the distributer then the reseller, who knows how long its been sitting around detarating. With the basement Watchdog batteries they are shipped dry so once the consumer puts the acid in they should ideally get 5 to 7 years out of them with minimum maintenance of putting water in the battery when the alarm goes off. The Big Dog and the PHCC Pro 220 both maintain the battery with its computer testing the pump itself weekly and discharging and recharging the battery monthly.
  16. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    5-7 years? I believe you are way overestimating the life of the battery.:eek:
  17. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    A battery's useful life is about 3 years...after that the run time starts to drop off, yes the battery will run but not as long...so I tell all my customers to replace battery's every 3 years...
  18. bubb1957

    bubb1957 New Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Northern Ohio
    Pro Series 2200

    I have had the Pro Series 2200 for a couple years now, which is the professional Glentronics brand for the Big Dog. It has done everything it promised to do. Tests itself on a regular basis, will warn you if the batteries need fluid, good pumping capacity in my very active pit. You want a seperate check valve for the main sump and the back up. It has been tested during several outages and has never let me down. I would not get the smaller models such as the special. Pay more for the 2200/2400. Piece of mind is priceless.
  19. Pretty bilge pump


    that is also something I have seen on the cover for swimming pools with a garden hose comming off them,,,, I call them swimming pool pumps...


    Honestly now, I do admit that I like the feature on the BIG DOG that makes their pump run once a month...

    I just dont like seeing that pump all the way down in the muck...and perhaps I am wrong abou that....

    no battery is going to last 5 years, even the GEL battries I put in I telll them to change them out every 3-4 years..

    the stupid home owner will not maintian the battery, or even think to check the system out once a month....that is the downside to all of these back up pumps....


    the advantage to the big dog is the fact it comes on once a month...

    this would be a great feautre on the Aquanot except for that nasty ALARM going off...

    Zoeller needs to come up with the Aquanot pump and the big dog diagnostic board all together in one...








  20. carmel corn

    carmel corn New Member

    Messages:
    52
    IMHO - my 2 cents goes to the Aquanot II. The simplicity plus pure raw pumping ability is what I like. It can still fit in a narrow pit and the only unusual thing I have done is to customize a flat bottom to the pit so the Aquanot stands perfectly straight. You can also vary the level and length of the pumping cycle due to the long float rod.

    I also agree with Mark on the batteries. Maintenance free, specifally AGM type batteries are the best in that they require no maintenance and hold their charge much better than regular wet cell batteries. No fumes or spillage either. You can keep extra ones on hand and simply charge them once a month and have extra battery life for long power outages. I personally prefer Concord Lifeline AGM batteries....expensive, but well made....available in a 105 amp hour size 31. I replace it every 2-3 years and keep the older ones around as spares.

    As far as the bilge pump referenced above, consider the Rule brand 1800 with the automatic switch. It turns itself on once a minute and checks for water. If no water, it will turn itself off until the next minute. This requires no separate float switch and operates on a mere 100 watts of AC power... can easily be operated by a battery and small power inverter in an emergency or can also be bought in a 12v model. The discharge is a 1 1/8 size and will need to be adapted to conventional 1 1/2 piping. Ones equipped with the internal automatic switch are not cheap. I have one that I am planning as the "back-up to the back-up".
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