Any opinions out there regarding a water powered sump pump as a back
up for an electrical sump pump? In theory, an independent back up
system sounds excellent, as opposed to a battery and/or generator.
A water powered backup sump pump is no more independent than a battery
or generator powered one. In all cases the pump is dependent on an
external power source. The main advantage of the water powered one is
the lack of maintenance required i.e. maintaining batteries or a
generator. Of course you have to have city water, if you have a well the
water powered pump isn't an option.
Since the backup pump is primarily applicable in a power failure
(assuming you maintain the regular pump properly so it doesn't fail), a
generator, particularly one of the little residential automatic units
can backup not only your sump pump, but also your refrigerator, freezer,
lights, heat, etc. so while it costs more than the water powered pump
it's worth considering. Those water powered pumps are kinda expensive
too. Those little automatic generators run on nat. gas or LP so if you
don't have those they aren't an option.
It's independent of the power source for the first sump pump.
But a different one.
Almost everywhere, water pressure fails a lot less than electric power
does, and in the last 24 years here, the water has never failed when
the electric is out. They're independent of each other.
ideally all sumps would drain to daylight by gravity. amazing so many
people use pumps when they could have a ditch dug to a low area on
their property or near the street, even if its just a overflow for a
That depends entirely on where you are. A lot of areas have 100yr+ old
infrastructure that isn't as reliable as you claim. The main thing is
not that city water is so miraculously reliable, it's the odds of both
the water and power being out at the same time and that usually only
happens under conditions where the sump pump is the least of your
YOu're proving our point. If the sump pump is the least of our
concerns, let's not consider those times. So that means according to
you, we're not considering most of the times the water and power are
out at the same time. That's what we want, the water to be working
when the electric power is off.
I would hope that the people considering buying a water powered sump
pump know if they live in an area like that. They should know when
they open the faucet and water doesn't come out.
Not clear on that! But not familiar with water powered pumps! What are
they; some sort of venturi jet?
Our municipal water supply, is gravity fed.
The only thing that 'might' fail is the chlorine injection at the main
control station near the lake that supplies the town.
In other words we never lose water pressure? And the main lines are
sized for fire fighting hydrants.
So would it not be true, in our case anyway; a water powered pump
would not be reliant on external power?
Yes. Something like a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of water pumped to water
Gravity feed only lasts as long as the pumps filling the tank are
operational. Those tanks don't last very long if they aren't being
Water mains have been known to break, be damaged by construction work
and otherwise fail. When that happens, if you are downstream of the
problem you don't have water, even if the rest of the town still does.
The duration of the outage is usually pretty long due to the need to
isolate / shutoff the water upstream of the damage, pump out the area to
get to the damaged main, repair the damaged main and then turn the water
back on and go around to nearly every fire hydrant purging the
contaminated water out. In some cases the flooding from a broken water
main can also take out underground power utilities.
So, yes, the water powered pump is indeed dependent of an external power
source, and it is also possible to loose both water and power at the
same time. Though the probability of both utilities failing at the same
time is very low in most areas, it is not zero.
Regardless of the type of sump pump and backup sump pump you have, if
you are dependent on the sump pump to keep your basement from flooding
i.e. the sump pump operates regularly you should plan "C" prepared. Plan
"C" should consist of at minimum a battery powered flood alarm with the
sensor located in the sump pit an inch or two above the backup pump
operating level, and a stockpile of wood 4x4s, milk crates or similar
that can be used to rapidly elevate valuable items above the soon to be
flooded floor while you work to move things to higher ground.
A flooding basement is a known, predictable hazard and you should have a
good plan to deal with it, just the same as a house fire, a blizzard, a
tornado or a hurricane as applicable for your area.
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