Nothing strikes the heart of a homeowner quite more than a flooded basement.
Noticing an inch foot of water in your basement is the worst nightmare you can experience.
It is one of the most dreadful problems that can bring a sinking feeling and worries about what to do next.
But flooding is common, especially if you are living in an area with heavy rains.
That is why you need the right equipment to pump water from your basement fast, and surface pumps are great options that promise to give you peace of mind.
In this article, we will provide details we think any homeowner should know about sump pumps, how they work, and more.
A sump pump is a machine that pumps water out of your basement. It is usually a naturally constructed pit, mostly carved beneath your home’s basement floor.
A sump pump has essential components such as valves, which help escalate water from the basement.
When the water level rises, it automatically pumps water out of your basement through a discharge pipe known as effluent.
How does a sump pump Solar work?
A sump pump is perfectly designed to detect water pressures and source levels to ensure they don’t rise too high.
When the water levels rise, these pumps automatically switch on to direct away from your home’s basement via a discharge line.
A sump pump can be powered by electricity or a battery. Primary sump pumps are wired in, but today’s sump pumps come with a backup pump that can be powered by a battery in case the power goes out.
What Do you need to know about sump pumps:
1. Not all types of sump pumps are the same
Many people think that all sump pumps can cater to all your flooding needs. In fact, sump pumps are built differently, each with its own pros and cons.
For instance, some sump pumps are made of iron, others of plastic. Some have screens, others don’t.
2. Always have a backup
A solar-powered backup can ensure your basement remains usable in case of a power outage. Usually, it is advisable to have one or two sump pumps installed next to each other.
3. Your sump pump will fail to work
Sump pumps aren’t meant to work forever. No matter how much you can maintain them, they will fail at a certain point.
Often, sump pumps have an average lifespan of 10 years, so consider replacing newer ones after this date.
There are many reasons why your sump pump can fail, including installation and machine errors.
These problems can cause continuous cycling or switches to get stuck on and off.
Related >> How to Connect a Solar Panel to a Water Pump
How to make my sump pump solar?
As mentioned earlier, your sump pump may fail to work in case of a power outage. But what if it is a blackout that can last for a few days?
It is a complete mess, especially during rainy days and big storms.
But it is even worse if you don’t have a backup. So, how to create a backup solar pump?
A simple 12-volt solar-powered sump pump can make a great source of electricity.
Here are three components required to make this backup solar sump pump;
- Solar panel
- Charge controller
- A power inverter
It is recommended to use a deep-cycle battery instead of a car battery.
Deep-cycled batteries are perfectly designed to accommodate low discharges compared to car batteries.
Lead-acid batteries are inexpensive, easiest to find, and can withstand a test of time on a single charge.
A bonus: a deep-cycle battery can charge up to five times faster than standard batteries.
So, you can be sure of your booster pump running forever with just a few rays during a sunny day.
But if you decide to add batteries to pump out much water quickly, you have to increase the number of solar panels.
As far as solar panels are concerned, add them in parallel if you want to maintain constant voltage in the controller.
You can add more batteries if you want an excellent total storage capacity. But ensure they are added in parallel, too.
Also, they should have the same voltage. You can use a set of two 12 volts batteries in series for 24 volts system. But you can add more sets in parallel as needed.
The solar panel
Solar panels are available in different types, sizes, and wattages. Because you will not pump water directly using solar energy, there is no point in investing in something enormous.
A 30 watts solar panel can just work pretty fine.
Also, there is a wide range of mounting options available for solar panels.
For instance, if you want to attach it to your house to avoid wirework hassles, a satellite dish mounting pole with a mounting arm can do well.
To make it sturdier, attach an adjustable support rod. The result is a strong and stable mounting option that can serve many years, even in severe weather conditions.
The charge controller is the heart of everything. It is a crucial component responsible for controlling the power entering the battery.
It works to ensure that a solar panel does not over-charge the battery. There is no doubt that today’s charge controllers are equipped with LED lights to signal you when the battery is fully charged.
Even better, they are designed with electronic features, including short circuits and overload, to ensure excellent performance.
That said, most charge controllers are a complete kit with a panel, mounting tools, wiring, etc. Others are even perfectly configured for easy use with wind turbines and other additional wires.
A simple 12-volt power source inverter can do a nice job. But you can use a higher-rated inverter if your setup system contains more than two sets of 12 volts batteries.
A 12v device is capable of converting direct current into 120v AC. This amount of power can sure run your sump pump without any fuss.
How to create a backup sump pump:
To create a backup sump pump, you must incorporate the solar backup system with your sump pump, controller, and other essential components.
For a 12v solar backup system, submersible pumps can work well. Submersible water pumps are designed with a waterproof case sitting on the pit to pump water out of your basement.
When fixing the new components, make them as sturdier as possible. A stable sump pump can pump water away from your basement without any issues.
The cabinet you choose to fix your solar water pump system also matters.
Some people often fix everything on simple plywood mounted on a wall. If you want to be creative, a rolling cabinet can work well.
Ensure the cabinet you choose offers excellent compartments that can accommodate everything.
These include a section for components such as volt meters, relays, charge controllers, volt meters, and even batteries.
Choosing a cabinet over standard plywood is a viable and safe way to protect your setup system.
A guide on how to connect a battery-operated backup sump hand pump
These ultimate tips can help you keep your home basement dry when the power goes out
Mounting the unit on the wall
Unplug the old sump pump from the pit. Using tape, tie the threads on a check valve tightly into a new 120v sump pump and set them into a sump pit.
Cut an appropriate diameter of PVC pipe to create a discharge line. Fix the pipe and fittings and connect the discharge pipe with hose clamps.
One of the benefits of a sump pump is that it takes no space, so it can be conveniently mounted on the wall. It can be fixed at any distance from the grounded AC as long as the AC cord reaches it.
Also, ensure a short distance between the pump and battery for proper connection.
Don’t use the different battery cables apart from the ones provided, as this can adversely impact the performance.
For this reason, the battery system must be enclosed in a box near a cabinet shelf to ensure safe usage.
When making connections, follow the following steps;
- Ensure the on and off switch is in the off position.
- Connect the black battery cable to the positive (+ve) terminal and the black cable to the negative (-ve) terminal. In most cases, red means positive, and black is negative.
- Connect your pump to the AC outlet
- Connect the pump to a 120v AC outlet
- Switch on
- Testing your installation
After setting up your sump pump properly, it is time to test the installation to see if it works.
Always begin by switching on your sump pump to ensure it functions well under normal conditions.
The next thing is removing the pump power cord from the AC outlet to stimulate power system failure.
Repeat the test in battery backup mode. Once you are sure the pump is working, plug the AC power cord back into normal.
One of the pros of sump pump battery backups is that it enhances greater reliability than the hassle of installing other auxiliary pumps.
Signs that you need to replace your normal sump pump
There are a lot of things that can signal your sump pumps need replacement. Here are the common ones;
A well-maintained sump pump operates quietly. If you notice loud noises coming from your sump pump, it means a serious problem is happening with your pump.
And this especially happens when your pump is approaching the end of its lifespan. It will begin making roaring sounds while pumping water from your basement.
Although sump pumps make sound, they should not reach you upstairs.
Loud noise can also signify a damaged impeller, especially if it is choked by sticks, dirt, debris, and tree branches. The pump will screech as it strives to suck water out of the basement.
If the pump kicks off and on irregularly, something is not going well with it. If it takes a long time to pump water away from your basement, your pump probably doesn’t have enough power to function well.
If you notice your pump running constantly, it means your pump has seen the old days. A well-maintained sump pump doesn’t cycle continuously.
Also, a smaller pump tasked to push away a large volume of water from the basement will struggle to perform the task placed.
And this will overwork the motor, making it exhaust and cause premature failure. So, replacing the pump with a new one is a great idea.
Conclusion: How to create a backup sump pump
Basement flooding can make remote areas unusable, can damage your personal belongings, and even cause a serious health risk.
So, owning a battery backup system pump can save your basement from water floods during a power outage or an emergency.