Battery for backup sump pump

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The battery we bought to go with our "Basement Watchdog" backup sump pump about six years ago seems to be about dead and in need of replacement.
We bought the "official" BW battery, which is not "maintenance free" but has individual screw-in plugs for each cell. It was supplied dry and we had to buy the sulfuric acid to go with it. The alleged advantages are (1) it's not deteriorating while sitting on the dealer's shelf; (2) it has provision for an electrolyte-level sensor to remind the user when it needs topping up. But our charger/control unit must be an older model: it looks different from the ones on the BW Web site, and it has neither electrolyte-level sensor nor any place to connect one.
Any good reason to buy one of these "special" batteries (24EP6 or 30HDC140S) rather than an ordinary marine/starting battery from Interstate or wherever?
Perce
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6 years and it was probably basicly unused, it should still be good www.batteryuniversity.com should get you some good info to know if your charger killed it, which it might have.
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The following can kill lead acid batteries.
1) Overcharging. My grandfather used to overcharge to the point of heavily gassing off the acid electrolyte and or boiling the cells.
2) Undercharging, or leaving uncharged for long periods. Cells need either a short 'refresher' charge every so often. Or a carefully controlled trickle charge, sometimes called a carefully adjusted 'float' voltage charge. Often used commercially for batteries that must be instantly ready upon power failure. e.g. telephone systems.
3) Excessive heat. Batteries last much shorter time in hot conditions than cool. However batteries that are very cold, e.g. car batteries in winter, have less capacity than when same battery is at say 'room' temperature.
4) Age, batteries plates can eventually sulphate and/or active material drops off the plates and one or more cells lose capacity.
5) Physical damage; physical loss of of acid etc.
6) Misuse. e.g. short circuiting it, or taking too high a current, or running battery absolutely 'flat' so that it takes many many hours to recharge it. Cells deteriorate as in (4).
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On 12/31/09 10:17 pm, terry wrote:

The manufacturer says battery life is 5 to 7 years.

The wall-wart charger that came with the sump pump would be incapable of overcharging the battery -- if by overcharging you mean using too high a charging current.

The controller is supposed to keep the battery topped up: the indicator LEDs would switch between "charged" and "charging" from time to time.

The sump pump and its battery are in an unheated (but not very well insulated from a heated area) laundry room.

The battery is now about six years old.

Has never suffered such damage.

Has never been run flat, nor short circuited, nor had any current drawn from it except for the occasional test (lasting only a minute or so) to make sure everything is working OK.
The abuse it probably has suffered is not having had deionized water added often enough. I don't recall whether that is likely to result in sulfated plates.
For the last few hours I have had it connected to a "Smart charger" that says it is "full" and will occasionally switch to "float" mode at 1A or less, although the hydrometer says it is seriously discharged: SG50 or less, depending on the cell.
This charger has a "Recondition" mode that is supposed to deal with sulfated plates. I may try that tomorrow.
Perce
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On Thu, 31 Dec 2009 23:47:13 -0500, "Percival P. Cassidy"

An unregulated wall wart CAN kill batteries from overcharging because they can continue to try to put a charge into the battery long after it is charged if line voltage is higher than the wart was designed around. The float voltage gets too high, the battery is damaged (over time)

If the plates are exposed to air they are damaged - keeping the battery watered is critical, and the crappy charger supplied with the un it makes battery maintenance doubly important.
Also, the battery should be cycled part way every once in a while for best battery life (draw down 1/4 capacity every 6 months or so)

Good luck - I think it's too late for that battery, but use the "smart charger" on the new one.
I'd stroingly lean to an AGM, starved electrolyte type deep cycle replacement battery.
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CY: There are several different types of lead acid batteries. Starting batteries are used in cars, and used to, you guessed it. Start the engine. They do FAST loads, for a brief period of time, and then recharge. Trolling batteries are used to provide gentle loads, for a longer period of time. Trolling batteries can be discharged more deeply than starting. For a sump backup, a trolling battery is the way to go. Walmart has them, in 12 volt. The larger one is $15 or so more, and worth the extra money.

should get you some good info to know if

CY: I had a marine battery, which I foolishly killed by use of a harbor Freight float charger.

An unregulated wall wart CAN kill batteries from overcharging because they can continue to try to put a charge into the battery long after it is charged if line voltage is higher than the wart was designed around. The float voltage gets too high, the battery is damaged (over time)
CY: That's what happened to me, the cheap junk Harbor Freight float charger over did things. By the time I noticed, the float charger had electrolyzed a quart and a half of water out of the battery, and it never worked right after that.

CY: I'd have been better off to put the float charger on one day a month.

CY: And probably on the cool floor. The earlier batteries, you couldn't store them on cement floor. Supposedly that's been taken care, but I still put a piece of wood under any battery stored in a cellar. Also, freezing can kill a battery. I had one in unheated shed, one time. The starting battery in my van stopped working, so I got the battery out of the shed. Which was frozen solid, and useless.

CY: Should be "distilled", not deionized.

Good luck - I think it's too late for that battery, but use the "smart charger" on the new one.
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On 12/31/09 11:47 pm, I wrote:

I put it through the standard 24-hour "Recondition" cycle. After that the charge rate stayed at approx. 10A for about 4 hours, whereas previously it dropped quickly, then showed "Full" and then went into "Float" mode. This time it was at least passing current, although the SG did not seem to be increasing.
The instructions for the smart charger say that the "recondition" mode can be run five times, so I've just started another cycle.
However, it seems likely that this battery is beyond resuscitation. The "official" battery is no more expensive at HD than the supposedly equivalent battery at Interstate, which is 20 miles away.
Perce
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On Thu, 31 Dec 2009 19:57:34 -0500, "Percival P. Cassidy"

You do NOT want a Marine Starting battery - for sure. You want a good "deep Cycle" battery - from Interstate or whoever. I'd sure consider an Optima YelloW Top or a Trojan T105 or something along that line.
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On Jan 1, 2:17am, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Agree with the deep cycle recomendation, at least in principle. By "marine/starting battery" he may have meant the marine batteries that are targeted at both starting as well as some deep cycle use. These are a compromise for that application. Since he doesn't need the high starting amps, a battery that is made for deep cycling would be the better choice than either a regular starting battery, which is not meant to be deep cycled at all, or the combined usage type.
Of course, like everything, there is a tradeoff. The common starting battery is usually cheapest and the deep cycle the most expensive. And if it's only there to be fully discharged in an emergency, like a couple times every 5 years, it may not matter that much. If you expected to regularly cycle it, then it would make a big difference. Depending on price, the marine dual usage battery might be a good choice.
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On 01/01/10 02:17 am, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

OK, perhaps "marine/starting" was the wrong term.
If I enter the manufacturer's battery number (24EP6) in the search box at Interstate Batteries ir shows me the SRM-24, which is described as:
"MARINE R/V - 30 MONTHS - 550 CCA The #1 Marine/RV replacement deep-cycle and cranking power battery available today. These batteries have a unique new chemistry that makes them ideal for the demands of seasonal use and added charging."
This does not have individual screw caps that would allow the use of the electrolyte-level sensor if I had one. It's about the same price as the official BW one from Home Depot. The nearest Interstate outlet that sells marine batteries is about 20 miles away,
Perce
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I would put the float recharger, or whatever it is, on a mechanical timer that just connects the recharger to the power line once a day for maybe two hours. That way, you would be recharging it if needed, but would avoid the possibility of overchaging it if the charger should go bonkers.
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Make that "marine trolling" battery, and you've got something. Store the battery off the cellar floor (piece of wood under it). Plug in the float charger once a month for 24 hours or so. Fill the cells with only distilled water. Do not fold, bend, spindle, or mutilate. Should give you years of service.
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wrote:

A wall wart charger can put out anything and everything incorrect, the only way you know is by testing it with a V meter. You cant expect that company to have sold a commercial high quality charger - float charger since they cost near what the whole pump costs. Your charger could be undercharging it a few 10ths a volt, which sulfated it to death, or it could have kept it overcharged cooking it. Your battery has certain parameters of voltage you need to keep to make it last 20 years and I dont think your charger is doing it. 12.8 to 13.5 could be the battery manufacturers recommended voltage, you also have to calculate in the temperature of the battery in figuring out charge. alt.energy.homepower used to be a good group until the chinese sales took over, but try it, alot are on battery power there. The downside of a cheap system like yours is when it floods, the battery might be a dud, and you get wet. If you have city water look at www.basepump.com its water powered, out performs battery, its cheaper to maintain, and works when needed.
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

no.
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On 12/31/2009 07:57 PM, Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

They make a backup pump that runs off of water pressure. Never worry about batteries again. Good for public water supplies. Won't work if you are on a well pump.
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On 01/01/10 11:55 am, Van Chocstraw wrote:

When a major cause of flooding around here is that the sewers get overwhelmed, any system that involves the discharge of more water is contraindicated.
Perce
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Are you a physician? Contraindicated?
Of course, you're correct. The water flow backups use venturi effect, and LOTS of domestic water from the mains to the sewer.
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On 01/01/10 12:32 pm, Stormin Mormon wrote:

No, but why use three words when one will do?
Perce
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Succinct!
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You discharge it outside
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