INDIANAPOLIS – This Home Zone is about safety and security and it affects anyone who has a concern with a flooded basement or downstairs.  I had a sump pump that was about eight years old. It was still working but on its last leg.  Too many people I knew had their basements flood, ruining thousands of dollars of furniture, walls and personal items. 

That’s where a sump pump comes in.  They pump water out of sump pits when the water level gathers.  When the water level gets too high, the pumps ejects the water up and outside the house generally into a drainage system.  It’s simply a way to prevent flooding. 

Even though my sump pump was still working, I felt it was time to replace it before it went bad. I also wanted to add a battery backup system in case the electricity ever went out. 

There are many ways you can go about this.  You can simply add a back-up battery supply for when the pump goes out or a separate pump that’s purely run on battery power.  For safety, I added a back-up battery powered pump.  The main reason is because it seems whenever the power fails is most often when it’s pouring rain outside and the water starts to raise under my home.  It’s obviously not good when the power goes out and your electric pump won’t work.

If you have a sump pit and a pump, consider getting a battery backup pump to protect your basement from flooding. 

Goodbye, old sump pump!

The first step is to unplug the pump you have and disconnect the PVC pipe that shoots the water out of your house.  This can also be a good time to examine the check valve that may be attached to the PVC pipe.  It prevents some of the water from falling back into the pump pit once it’s ejected up and out.  The check valves are fairly inexpensive and can make it easier to work on the pump, if ever needed. My new check valve came with the system.

The sump pump system I chose combined a primary pump and a battery back up pump all in one.  I chose it versus two separated pumps for simplicity.  There’s only one ejection pipe and the back up is made and measured to kick on when the main pump fails.  I also replaced the old worn out sump pump lid. 

Hello, new sump pump!

There are a variety of pump systems and lids available.  As far as the lid, I chose one that has three holes already pre-drilled in the top.  Two are for ejecting water, and the third provides gas relief for a radon system which I put in at the same time.  The lid system has a base that gets screwed into the cement floor.  It’s centered over the sump pit. 

On top of the base, there’s a removable lid that bolts on top.  It makes it easier to take on and off in case service of the pumps are ever needed.  I also chose this particular lid because it has a plastic window so you can see into the pit to check if the pumps are working. 

The next step is to put the pumps into the pit.  Spin the pumps so the PVC ejection tube lines up with the PVC pipe above, so it’s a straight shot up and out.  And be sure to pull out the cords that power the pumps and connect them according to the instructions.  The primary pump will plug into an outlet, and so will the trickle charger for the backup battery.  The battery did not come with the system and they generally run around $200.  The lid was about $110 and both pumps together were around $240. 

I bought the suggested battery, as it fit and connected easily with little bolts.  From there, put the battery near the sump pit.  On the floor is fine, although I built a little shelf that rested on the floor to keep it off the floor just a bit.  Then, just connect the power cable to the outlet, and the rest into the battery box connectors.  With this all in one system you can’t mess up the connections as they will only fit together one way. 

You can test the backup battery pump simply by pushing the red button on the battery box.  If activated, the alarm sounds.  It’s loud but effective.  The battery backup pump evacuated the pit in seconds and was quiet.  Still, I wanted to make sure it worked without pushing the test button.  We simulated failure of the primary pump, simply by unplugging it.  Then I poured water into a nearby drain that flows into the sump pump.  The only pump left that could work was the battery backup and it did.

From there, plug everything back in, pretty up the cords with ties and it was done.  The final tip is instead of using one long pipe out of the pit, consider using two pieces, connected by a rubber coupler or check valve.

That way you can take it apart without having to cut a pipe in the future. 

As always, email me at SJONES@FOX59.COM if you’ve done a project and want to share, especially if you’ve video taped it and we can show it on air.