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  • Back-up sump pump

    So we just came from an emergency call from a regular customer. About 2 years ago, we installed a Liberty water-powered back-up pump, and customer calls and says it's running but only pumping clean water. He lost power for 6 hours and the power just went on as he called us.

    So when we get there, both discharges are pumping water like crazy. The main pump line has brownish water, and the water back-up discharge has clean clear water pumping out.

    Head to the basement, and the pit if full of water. Customer is irritated at the thought he paid good money for this set-up and it's not working properly.

    He asked why one was pumping clean water, and the other dirty water. I explained to him that the sump intake is sitting on the bottom of the pit (on rocks), and the back-up intake is much higher...right above the main sump. He couldn't wrap that concept around his brain, and basically insinuated that the back-up wasn't working at all. He told me that the pit never got that high since he was living there, and he didn't understand the concept of how a back-up pump works.

    His power was out for 6 hours, and massive amounts of water accumulated underneath his basement floor.

    So we shut off the back-up pump and let the main pump do it's job. After 20-25 minutes, the level in the pit started to drop, and he could clearly see that back-up intake is higher than the main pump, as it's supposed to be.

    Once again he started on "why is the main pump pumping dirty water..and the back-up isnt"? You could clearly see in the pit where the dirt line was on the pit walls, and I once again explained that this water back-up intake isn't as LOW as the main pump intake.

    Water was gushing into this pit from underneath the floor.

    He had the worse situation possible, with massive amounts of water coming into his pit, and I'm not sure if a battery back-up would of been much better.

    Now the one thing that did happen was..the float on the water powered pump, kept sticking for some reason. (liberty sj10) Of course I'll have to wait till monday to call Liberty and found out what the deal is with that.

    IMO..if we would of known for the beginning that his basement can get that type of water in his basement, I think I would of recommended him install a whole house back-up generator or portable generator instead. He needs the power and performance of a main sump pump to get rid of the water that could potentially get into his pit, and he doesn't live in a flood zone at all.

    The bottom line is..the water powered back-up was working, but not fast enough. Water never hit his basement floor, but the float sticking now and then concerned me. This was the first time since we installed the unit, it had to go into operation.

    Even though he's just out of warranty with the pump and our warranty expired, we are still going to stand behind this pump and correct that problem, wether we install a brand new one, or fix the current one. But with that type of water going into his pit and no electricity...that's a major problem for any back-up pump.

    If a battery back-up was used in this situation, 4-7 hours of continuous use before battery would be potentially dead, could of been a problem as well.


    What a heck of a situation we are in now.
    Last edited by Flux; 08-28-2011, 11:42 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Back-up sump pump

    I;m soo sorry He doesn't appreciate Your talent, and services. Hope You charge Him accordingly in the future! I've little experience with pumps, What are Your thoughts on water back up ones,please.
    I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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    • #3
      Re: Back-up sump pump

      I agree, but hindsight is always 20-20. A generator would have been a good option. And, a duplex pump set up would have made the system even more foolproof. Sounds to me like you designed and installed the system during the dry season. Since offering the option of a backup generator would have cost him a heck of a lot more than what he has now, do you think he would have gone for it at that time?
      Last edited by Plumbus; 08-28-2011, 12:17 PM. Reason: clarity

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      • #4
        Re: Back-up sump pump

        Well you could of explained to him the water powered back up pump also dilutes its water its pumping out with the fresh water it is using to run the pump. During the big rains we had, I have replaced 4 of the water powered pumps people spent good money on. They where not keeping up. I replaced them with the PHCC Pro series 2400 back up pump. Never had any call backs on them during an emergency situation. But did have call backs during non-emergency situations.

        What I like about the Pro 2400 is it monitors and runs the system on a set schedule and sounds an alarm if there is anything wrong. The few call backs where either due to a battery that no longer was taking a charge, or the battery cables had corrosion on them which was interfering with the charging, one time I did get an alarm that the back up pump had issues. A kids toy got caught in the impeller. The key here is these issues where brought to light before a real emergency happened.

        I have had a couple customers that have installed a whole house generator. These I have installed the Ion Genesis controller and switch system. When you plug in one or two pumps (auto duplex) it runs each outlet to see if one or two pumps are hooked up. During its little run of the pump it logs the amount of current the pumps draw. So now if the pump draws to much current down the road ( stuck impeller or motor needing more to run) it will sound an alarm. If there's not enough current being drawn (pump has an open circuit) it will sound an alarm as well.
        Last edited by SewerRatz; 08-28-2011, 12:34 PM. Reason: fixed spelling
        Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
        A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
        Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
        Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Back-up sump pump

          I know there are drawbacks to either back-up system, and when we installed the back-up system at the time, we gave him the option on what system to use. Now if the battery would of been dead, or would of went dead, he would of had a wet basement floor.

          I think the draw back to the water back-up is..the GPM/GPH. I saw I could of went with a battery back-up with a much higher GPM/GPH..but then again everything depends on the battery.

          But I believe this was a rare occasion cause, we just don't get hurricanes here. We will get a ton of snow that will melt extremely quickly and cause flooding, and that has happened since this back-up was installed, but he didn't lose power.

          But even if he would of gotten a back-up generator, there is the issue of the main pump itself. If that was bad, he would of needed a new pump, so IMO there is no fool-proof solution to these types of problems. When a customer spends good money on a system, in their mind they think no problems should occur, and that simply isn't living in reality.

          I have no clue what we are going to do, except fix or replace the current back-up system. If he tells us to rip it out, and put in a battery back-up with more GPM/GPH..we will have to work something out with him, even though I feel as though we are not obligated too. Like I said, he doesn't live in a flood zone, and his property pitches away from the house.

          I just think this was one of those rare occasions in where we just had a massive amount of water to deal with, with the water table being so high.

          If we did install a bettery back-up, and something would of been wrong with the battery, he still would of been ticked off. He spent a TON of money on finishing his basement, and I don't think I like the fact of being responsible for it in his mind.

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          • #6
            Re: Back-up sump pump

            Did I mention the PHCC Pro 2400 has alarms on it and it monitors itself? If there is an issue with the battery it will sound an alarm. Also during a power outage if the battery gets to 30% of its charge it will sound an alarm for him to get another battery. So when they get the 30% alarm they can go out and get a new battery if needed. They say this unit can pump continually for 7.5 hours. I can tell you that when it runs intermittently (Pumps water out turns off pit fills and turns on again) that I have seen it last 72 hours before the 30% alarm went off. You can hook up two batteries in parallel to double the run time. When you buy their batteries they are shipped dry, do you have to add the acid at the time you want to use them. Once the acid is added to the cells, the battery is 80% charged.
            Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
            A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
            Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
            Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Back-up sump pump

              i have 1 customer with that same battery pump setup i installed and they furnished. the only issue i've had is a bad cell battery water level sensor. the company said to ground out the sensor to stop the alarm. otherwise it seems to be working.

              rick.
              phoebe it is

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              • #8
                Re: Back-up sump pump

                Has anyone seen or installed this back up pump by Zoller? Aquanot® 580, 585 | Zoeller Pump Company

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                • #9
                  Re: Back-up sump pump

                  I never installed them but have removed many. The early Aquanot used a weighted switch and fishing line, it failed all the time. When Zoeller took over they have redesigned the switch. The big issue is if the home owner does not go down and check on the back up pump and look at the indicator lights, they will not know if the battery is dead. Also if they do not manually run the pump once in a while they will not know if the pump is seized. That is why I really like the PHCC Pro pump, it will sound an alarm if the battery is not charging of discharged, it will sound an alarm if the pump is not running to specs. Plus the standard the power is out alarm, and pump was activated alarm.

                  Some people joke wouldn't they know the power is out so why have a power out alarm on the unit. I tell them that whats not so obvious is when a fuse or circuit breaker blows. Now if Zoeller could make a computer controller for the Aquanot that self tests and has alarms for different conditions, it would be a great product.
                  Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                  A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                  Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                  Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Back-up sump pump

                    Well it sounds like the back up did it's job, the floors remained dry. It was given a true test. So add another back up pump battery powered maybe or add a genset with switch that he needs to fire up when power is lost and the first back up pump does it's job giving him time to fire up the generator. Maybe a look into outside drainage solutions is in order to lower the water table.
                    Seattle Drain Service

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                    • #11
                      Re: Back-up sump pump

                      New customer called today, and wants us to rip out Battery back-up system that was installed a few years ago, cause it couldn't keep up with the water coming into the pit. Pop asked him to hold that thought, until we get over tomorrow to see it. People around here need to realize, we had a once in a 30 year storm come through, and from what I've seen so far, no back-up would of handle all that water at once.

                      Also had 5 others calls today from people wanting back-up pumps....it's getting busy real quick around here.
                      Last edited by Flux; 08-30-2011, 10:10 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Back-up sump pump

                        The strongest back up pump I have ever seen that will keep up with the super heavy rains is a Trusty Warns Chicago Battery Backup Sump Pumps by Trusty Warns just wish they had the computer type monitoring system like the PHCC Pro 2400. They will sell direct to plumbers with a slight discount, just click on their partnership link and fill out the form.
                        Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                        A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                        Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                        Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                        Comment

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