Even a short term power outage can lead to a flooded basement. Strong storms often leave residences without power for a few hours or even a few days. Keeping the basement dry is an immediate concern during heavy rains, and sump pumps often run frequently. It doesn’t take long for the sump pit to fill with the water that drains from around the foundation, and if the pump isn’t working, it won’t take long before it overflows and begins to flood the basement.
Take a drive around the neighborhood after a strong thunderstorm combined with a power outage and you’ll see the result out by the curb―carpeting and boxes of belongings, all ruined by water that flooded someone’s basement. In a finished basement, at least some of the drywall will have to be replaced.
Backup systems can help to prevent flooding by keeping the sump pump running.
The best line of defense against flooding is to make sure the pump continues to operate. A home generator system can make that very easy, even for extended periods of time. Standby generators are ready to go, 24 hours a days, 365 days a year and they operate automatically, without operator intervention even if you are not home. An automatic transfer switch changes the source of power from the utility lines to the standby generator.
Standby generators have service intervals of 100 to 200 hours (check oil level every 24 hours while operating) and operate on municipal natural gas supply or on the home’s LP gas tank. They keep your pump and other essential appliances running even if you are on vacation. Be sure to check the owners manual for the service intervals on your generator.
A second option is a portable generator. Portables connect in two ways: through a manual transfer switch or by plugging essential appliances directly into the generator. During an outage, the homeowner fills the generator with fuel, starts it, and connects the appliances that need power. When appliances are plugged into the generator, it is the operators responsibility to ensure the portable generator is not overloaded and to keep the load balanced.
Portable generators require continual attention. They need fuel at fixed intervals and the oil must be checked and topped off regularly. Before refueling or adding oil, they must be shut off and allowed to cool.
Backup Sump Pumps
An essential part of any sump pump system is an emergency pump that operates off a battery. These pumps provide more than backup during a power outage, they keep your basement dry in the event the main pump fails―not an uncommon occurrence. They are especially important in finished basements where damage from flooding may easily run thousands of dollars.
Battery operated sump pumps are an essential compliment to portable generators. They give the homeowner time to get home from work and start the generator. Most battery backup pumps will operate for up to seven hours or longer provided the battery is in good condition. Older batteries will not last as long.
The battery operated backup pump uses a deep-cycle battery connected to a maintenance charger. The charger keeps the battery at peak charge when it is not being used. The pump itself sits above the main pump and only operates if the water level rises above the point where the main pump starts and empties the pit. It pumps water through the same pipes as the main pump. Installation will take a professional about an hour, and a do-it-yourself handyman experienced in plumbing will need two to three hours.
The security, protection, and peace of mind provided by a home generator and transfer switch can easily pay for itself the first time it is used. Norwall Power Systems can help you choose the right generator to fit your needs and your budget, while keeping your basement dry and other essential appliances running.