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Sump Pumps

Sump pumps: stay dry

Don't take a dry basement for granted.  A flooded basement can be a nuisance or an expensive mess.  A sump pump is great as long as it works.  An investment now can mean big savings later. 
A reliable sump pump installation should have these features:

  • The power for the pump should be a dedicated circuit so it doesn't get overloaded when you need it.

  • The pump should be in good operating condition.  Have you tested it and seen it work lately?

  • The float switch operation should be clear of obstructions.  If the switch can not turn on, the pump won't work.

  • The piping should be unobstructed so the water can flow freely.

  • An alarm if the water level reaches a certain point to alert you to the problem.

(A minimum cautionary step is a battery operated water alarm to alert you if the floor by the pump, water heater or furnace (a/c condensate) is wet.  We can mail you a sensor for $55 each.)

With all of the above in good order, what do you do if:

  • the power fails?

  • the float switch fails?

  • the pump fails?

The solution to these problems is a back-up sump pump.  This is a secondary pump that is triggered if the water level gets above a certain point, indicating that the main pump is not working. 

  • Battery-powered: This uses a special 12 volt (sometimes 24 volt) battery  which is tested and kept fully charged by a monitoring/controlling equipment. Typically, the pump can run continuously for 10 hours without recharging.  Need more time?  A 2nd battery doubles the coverage, and if the power is still out, the 12 volt batteries can be recharged by simply connecting to your car with battery jumper cables.  We install a typical battery back-up system for about:  $1200.00

  • Water-pressure powered:  If you have city water (not well water), there are pumps that use the house water to turn a turbine which pumps out the sump water.  All the water is pumped outside.  There are different brands and research to pick a good one is necessary.  A plumber is used for installation.

     Helpful Hints:

    • Check your sump pump occasionally to be sure it's ready to work..

    • Be sure you have the battery powered water sensors near the sump pump and hot water heater.

Overview of some options to protect your basement.



Alerts you if the water level is high

Helps even if regular sump pump is defective

Works if there is no power

Works if you're not home

Notes / Other functions

Water sensor (sound only)






Use for water heater leaks, a/c condensate leaks

Battery back-up Sump Pump







(City) Water powered sump pump $1200.00 No Yes Yes Yes Installed by plumber

Backup generator

$5000 (manual) - 
$10,000 (fully automatic





Power for the heating system, refrigerator, lights, well pump, ejector pump...... you get the idea.

Comparison chart of backup pump specifications: click here.

A different problem is if you have a finished basement with central a/c, or an a/c unit in the attic.  If the a/c condensation leaks, you have a problem.

Finished basement, and/or a/c air handler in attic.



Not applicable

No, but system is already Off.


Shuts off the a/c if condensation backs up or starts to overflow.     Click here for more info.