Intelligent Sump Pumps: A Smart Investment

dry basement

By Mike Dyer

Remodeling a basement? New sump-pump technology could save you big bucks in the event of a flood.

You’ve spent thousands of dollars remodeling your basement, making it into a show place for parties, or a retreat where the family can gather to enjoy games, movies and other forms of entertainment or relaxation. That investment and the time you plan on spending there can be wiped away by a thunderstorm or a power outage, causing you grief and a lot of expense. That is because a single storm or power outage has the potential to flood your basement and the treasures you may have stored there.

Most basement flooding occurs because of power outages that shut off a basement’s sump pump and a separate backup pump. The sump pump is usually the last thing a homeowner thinks about when it comes to basement protection until after the basement has flooded.

When remodeling a basement, consider a sump-pump upgrade in your plans. Sump-pump technology has made great strides in recent years, and there are intelligent sump-pump systems on the market that can prevent basement flooding and give you peace of mind even during long power outages.

“One of the best systems out there is designed so that the sump pump serves as both a primary and a backup system,” says Phil Mayleben, senior project engineer for Wayne Water Systems. “The pump can actually run off of the home’s electrical power or a backup battery. A controller automatically switches from electricity to the battery in the event of a power outage.”

A controller acts as the brains of the system. In addition to determining the power source, a controller can run a self-diagnostics test, detect pump jams, activate the pump to try free itself of any debris, and alert homeowners to problems with the pump as soon as they are detected. For added security, the controller is outfitted with an auxiliary connection for tying into a home-security monitoring system.

As to the backup power supply – the battery – a marine battery is ideal. With such a battery, the sump-pump system can pump more than 20,000 gallons on a single battery charge. That’s more pump power than you would need for the duration of a typical power outage, but it is there if you need it.

Another problem basements and sump pumps face is water that comes charging into a basement. Make sure you choose an intelligent sump-pump system that kicks into a high-speed mode if water is rising at a faster level than can be pumped in the normal mode. The pump returns to operating in a normal mode once the water level in the sump gets back to a manageable level.

A number of interesting and cost-saving features have been incorporated into today’s technologically advanced pumps. They are an essential to remodeled basements outfitted with sophisticated furniture and equipment.

“Some of the technology that has been incorporated into sump pumps include a shrouded impeller that is stiffer and more resistant to failure,” notes Mayleben. “I also recommend a pump that uses a large filter that enables water to flow through the pump with greater ease, plus there is less of a chance of the pump getting clogged with debris.”

Other sump-pump innovations include a seal-less design and a brushless permanent magnet motor that lasts longer than motors with brushes.

A remodeled basement can be a source of pride. It can also be a source of grief if you do not protect your investment against the ravages of Mother Nature unleashed through storms and other causes of power outages. A sump pump is an essential component to any basement outfitted with a sump. When using the right system, homeowners can have peace of mind that their investment will not go down the drain with the rainwater.

Editor’s Note: Mike Dyer is product manager with Wayne Water Systems.

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