Sump Pump Design Feedback

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pipeGRX

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Hi all,

After some recent misadventures caused by an aging sump pump system, I'm planning to replace our current setup with a "spare no expense" system to hopefully last 5-10 years of worry-free pumping.

Attached is a diagram of the planned system, with a photo of the location and current setup for context. I’d appreciate any feedback you all have, and am particularly interested in two questions:

1. Will 1/3 HP pumps be sufficient?
The current pump is 3/4 HP, which seems like overkill. During the wet season, it runs for ~10 seconds every ~15 minutes. I estimate that it is pumping about 50 gallons per hour. The total vertical from bottom of the sump pit to street level where the outlet is located and gravity takes over is ~7.5ft. The horizontal run outside the house is about another 8-10ft.

2. Should I install a catch valve?
I have read mixed reviews of these. On the one hand, they prevent some water from draining back into the pit, which means less work for the pump and a longer lifespan. On the other hand, they can be another point of failure, particularly when the pump sits idle for part of the year (true in my case). Given my 1.5in PVC and a 7.5ft run, it seems like my setup might drop 2.75 gallons back into the pit each cycle, meaning about ~20-25% more work for the pump, but not sure if my math is right.
 

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breplum

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Do install check valve on each pump. Read instructions for whatever particular equipment as to drilled hole or factory hole below the check valve.
Do get a Duplex system control to alternate the pump's operation, and maybe add a high water alarm, which is just another float switch connected to a noisemaker or a text notifier system.
Use the chart for whatever pump you want, but off the top of my head, any good brand of sump pump like Meyers or Liberty ought to do the trick
 

pipeGRX

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Thanks very much for the quick reply and helpful feedback!

I've generally heard that it's helpful to have the check valves above the sump pit so that it's easier to service them. I'll try to do that here, and have updated the diagram accordingly.

I was planning to use electronic float switches with built-in alarms. By placing one higher than another, it should sound an alarm that the primary pump has failed, while still allowing the secondary pump to function.

I was initially interested in a duplex system, but it seems like it would add a lot of complexity. Instead, my thinking was to simply run one pump for a few months, then the other pump. Do you think a duplex system would provide a big advantage over that approach?
 

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Skyjumper

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GR hey that's my hometown.

the hydrocheck switches are the best. I have the dual probe version where you can precisely set both turn on and turn off levels, but the single probe should be fine too. mine has been in service for at least 6 years, probably 500,000+ cycles.

i've had Zoeller pumps, but I prefer StormPro. the 1/3hp BA33 is plenty for your water load if that's truly all you get. especially if you have 2 pumps. https://www.sumppumpsdirect.com/iON-Products-BA-33-Sump-Pump/p8195.html

I also have a Menards Barracuda 3/4hp in and outdoor sump application to pump away standing water in the backyard, and it stays out all winter. the whole thing freezes solid every winter, and 7yrs later its still pumping like a champ. at $145 with the 11% rebate its probably the best deal you will find in sump pumps. build quality is similar to storm pro. you can tie up the switch and use it with your hyrdocheck if you want. (actually you don't need to tie it up like a zoeller float since the pump has its own power cord). Barracuda 3/4hp pump

running them through that Yeti is a good idea in theory, just be careful. you may want to keep one pump plugged directly into house power in case the Yeti shuts down for some reason when you're not home. I've had that happen with similar backup power systems (Tripp Lite APS2012) the dang thing would randomly shut itself down for no apparent reason even when house power was still live, and when it did it would cut off power to the pump. total fail. so I have my own homemade auto transfer switches now that will always deliver house power to the pump no matter whats going on with the inverter or batteries.
 
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pipeGRX

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Hi @skyjumper, nice to meet a GR native, and thanks for the feedback!

Thanks for the perspective on the Yeti battery backup! I think maybe the diagram wasn't clear: I'm only planning to run one pump through the battery, and the other would be directly plugged into the wall.

Can you expand a bit on what you like about the StormPro pumps? It looks like they are a bit more energy efficient (lower running amps), so maybe a good choice to run off the battery. Any thoughts on how they compare on durability/lifespan vs. a Zoeller or Liberty?
 

Gagecalman

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@gagecalman, we are located in an urban area, so are on public water and sewage.
Have you thought about a water powered back up pump?
I've installed several Basepump water powered backup sump pumps and they work great.

I've also had excellent results using the HydroCheck HC6000 "Hi-Lo Sump Pump Controller" with a manual pump. No floats to hang up and no mechanical switches to go bad. There are two sensors so you can set the on/off height where it works best for your situation and to reduce short cycling.

I've installed Liberty Model 230 pumps (manual, no switch) that are powder coated aluminum without any issues.
Look into the Zoeller pumps. I've seen some complaints.

I hope this helps.
Jim
 

Skyjumper

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Can you expand a bit on what you like about the StormPro pumps? It looks like they are a bit more energy efficient (lower running amps), so maybe a good choice to run off the battery. Any thoughts on how they compare on durability/lifespan vs. a Zoeller or Liberty?
I had both a 1/2hp Zoeller and 1/2hp storm pro in my pit at my old house. the zoeller is a bigger pump and took up more space, and consumed more power for the same pumping performance. I don't immediately recall which one pumped more, but there was no discernable difference, and that shouldn't be the deciding factor anyway. plus the storm pro is stainless body whereas the zolller is cast iron so it will eventually turn into a rust heap. i'd also read stories of of the zoeller switch failing, which I never experienced but I could see that being a problem, although you wouldn't use the switched version. also, around me all the professional "basement flood proofing" guys use storm pro exclusively and a bunch of my neighbors had them with good results.

I have no experience with Liberty pumps but I hear they're very good too. but I'll say that stainless barracuda from Menards has been a reliable powerhouse too, its just a bit overkill for you perhaps.
 

Skyjumper

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one other thing I'll add is it's best practice to have each pump on a dedicated circuit breaker. that way if one breaker trips it won't take out both pumps. this is also a lesson I learned. you've got the yeti in there but I'm assuming it plugs into house power; if possible put it on a different circuit than the other pump, especially if you're going to be running a furnace from it.
 

pipeGRX

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Hi all,

Thanks very much for the feedback! I've updated the system diagram based on your input.

@breplum - thanks for the advice on check valves and weep holes. Based on some further reading, I also added ball valves above each check valve to make it easier to remove the check valves or pumps for maintenance without making a mess.

@gagecalman - interesting idea about the water powered pumps. I did consider that, but not in detail. Since I need a backup battery for the furnace anyway, I figured a second electric pump might be simpler to install and maintain.

Thank you both @gagecalman and @skyjumper for the feedback on pump brands. Based on that, I'm thinking about going with one Liberty pump, and one StormPro pump, each on a dedicated breaker. Since I'm planning to run them both about equally (by switching which one is primary vs. backup every few months) this could be an interesting comparison test.

For the float switch, I was planning to use this: https://www.hydrocheckproducts.com/product-page/hc8000t-sump-pump-controller-float-switch. It looks similar to the dual probe version, but uses a programmable timer instead of a second probe to stop the pump. Seems like a little more effort upfront to calibrate, but then one less wire and one less sensor to potentially fail.
 

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Skyjumper

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sounds like a good plan. please keep us updated on the performance of the pumps, and the Yeti.
 

Martin Boring

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I will add my experience with sump pumps. We bought this farm back in 1998 house was built in 1916. About a foot of water in basement. Put gutters on the house did some dirt work still water in basement. Added a five gallon bucket for a pit and pump. Still couldn't get basement dry. Finally cut floor and put drain tile in with a plastic sump. Kept wearing out box store pumps. Went to Zoeller pumps. Switches wouldn't last on them. Always had a backup with pipe on it ready to go in the pit. Ten years ago I bought a AMT model 523D-98 pump not cheap but it has ran over ten years now with zero issues. I haven't even changed out the switch. My sump pump runs year around as our water table is very high and in the spring it runs a bunch. We pump so much water that we ran a four inch pipe 800 feet from our house to a W ditch to get the water away from the house. I do run a Zoller check valve above the pump out of the pit and have a 1/8 bleed hole in the pipe in the pit to keep the pump from short cycling. Basement is always dry now. I do have gen set for back up power. We are lucky and don't lose power often around here.
 
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