Back-up sump pump battery


I have a four year old battery for the back-up sump pump. Instructions say to change it every three years (yeah I noticed I was behind), however, the lights on the pump itself indicate that the battery is still in good shape. So, should I trust the lights or just replace the battery?
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To quote Clint- "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' "
Obviously it isn't someplace you trip over it every day-- not is it the top priority in your life- or you would have asked the question last year.
Murphy's law says that the day after you install wall to wall in the basement the batteries will die. . . and the next day it will rain 6" & your power will go out.
Chances are the battery you want is cheaper now than it was when you bought the backup 4 years ago. You thought it was necessary & worthwhile then. What changed?
Jim
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the real need to change it before.
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The risk you take is that when called to run the battery is not able to keep the pump running long enough.
Charlie
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What kind of battery is it? Lead acid batteries like being topped off all the time and will get damaged if left discharged. Nicad and nimh batteries will lose capacity if not discharged every now and then, however, running the battery after the weakest cell is completely discharged will destroy it.
Best bet is to test the thing and you get to discharge it too. Just make sure that if it isn't a lead acid battery, that it shut offs automatically, or you turn it off when it is showing signs of being discharged, instead of slowing to a halt.
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Batteries deteriorate over time by slowly losing capacity, especially lead acid. Why do you think yours are any different? The amp-hour capability will not be shown by a simple voltage sensitive lamp. If you don't replace the battery pack, at least restructure your household to minimize water damage from the inevitable system failure.
Joe
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I'm not one to follow directions exactly. If it were my sump. I'd check the battery volts and amps. It's probably 12 volt sealed lead acid. I'd research the price of the factory battery, and check the price of similar replacements. And I'd seriously look at using a marine trolling battery. A marine battery may be close in price, but a lot more amp hours of storage.
Others have asked what's the possible damage, etc. Do you have an over flow alarm? Are you home most of the time? Do you have backup sump for when the primary breaks? One to plumb in and drop into the sump? Do you have a generator for power cuts?
I'd want a newer battery for the sump, and that one might be used for other things.
From bitter experience. A Harbor Freight "float charger" with the wall wart plug and two clips. Will over charge a marine battery, until it's out of water, damaged, and will never work again. This, I know from having it happen to me. Your sump probably has a built in float charger, which probably is fine for your use.
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Over night a few other times a year. Although there may be 2-3 weeks in a row when we don't have a reason to go down to the basement.


Do

we have lived here. (knock wood)
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wrote:

Did that battery backup sump pump ever do you any good? I've had water in my basement once in the 13 years here. Power was out for a day. About 3"' of water in the basement. In that case and maybe 4 or 5 other heavy rains where the power *didn't* go out, a battery pump would have been a joke. When it rains hard enough here to saturate the ground and fill the storm sewers there's no way in the world a battery pump will do any good. Both my sump pump (1/2 hp) and lift system pump (1/2 hp) are running almost full-time. A generator would keep the water out, but I won't go there. I spent about 400 bucks for big lidded plastic containers for my wife to keep all her crap in and get everything else off the floor if it gets worrisome. They containers keep the dust off things too.
I guess there are basements where the battery pump might work, but I never heard of a case where one actually kept water out of a basement when it was time for the circumstances that actually flood basements. But maybe somebody here has a different idea about that.
--Vic
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On 9/14/2010 2:07 PM, Vic Smith wrote:

Agreed. Battery back up sump pumps are a joke. Compare the ratings to your 120VAC one.
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Back-up-sump-pump-battery-505247-.htm Liz Watkers wrote: I agree with the suggesting you go find a replacement. You've already extended it's life by 25%. If you test the limitations too long, you're going to have a wet basement and be kicking yourself for the decision to squeeze more life out of it.
The plastic tub idea is great to keep your belongings dry, but what about your washer/dryer? hot water heater? Water can also cause structural damage and mold.
None of these issues are worth the couple hundred bucks you're inevitably going to spend in the next year or two.
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CY: Good idea to.

Over night a few other times a year. Although there may be 2-3 weeks in a row when we don't have a reason to go down to the basement.
CY: Sounds like typical people in the world now days.

CY: For sure. after my parents had water in the cellar a couple times, Dad bought another sump, so he'd have one on hand for when this one broke.

CY: Bad choice of words, maybe. A new sump in the box, that you can install (yourself) any time day or night when the sump pump breaks.
Do

years we have lived here. (knock wood)
CY: That's very good. I'd still want to replace that battery.
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the back up.

I probably will. Especially considering the other post of about $20 a year
Thanks to all who answered.
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If the charger is working right and keeps it fully charged without dropping low for to long, it could be fine for years. What will kill it is over discharging and a bad charger. Test it to see how long it pumps or take it to an auto store that will load test it free. If it is keeping voltage at around 12.7-12.8v it should be fine. Test the batterys voltage, if it isnt fully charged sulfation has ruined it by now. This battery isnt getting heavy constant use that cars give it, in theory if charged right, and maintained, it should out last you. But the cheap chargers that come with pumps are known to ruin batteries in less than 1 year.
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On 9/14/2010 9:29 AM, Kurt Ullman wrote:

I bought a battery load tester when I was doing a lot of standby generator work. At the time a good name brand unit was $50 and up. Harbor Freight has a copy for $25. You will find it quite useful.
http://www.harborfreight.com/50-amp-6-volt-12-volt-battery-load-tester-93784.html
http://preview.tinyurl.com/29kr992
TDD
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Kurt Ullman wrote:

that will draw 4-5 amp. and if that lamp stays bright for 4 hours, the battery is oke. If less then an hour , the battery is kaput. In between those, its your choice whether to replace. The spare lamp from your car kit would do nicely, to test.
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Bring a chair and a book to the cellar. Unplug the primary sump, see how long the secondary keeps water out of the cellar.
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I just paid $80 at Sears for a replacement Marine Deep Cycle battery for my backup sump pump. Amortized over 4 years, that's $20 per year. I think you can afford to replace your battery even if it isn't needed, at $20 per year. Small price to pay for lower risk of basement water damage.
You get insurance even if you don't need/use it.
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