Frequently Asked Questions about our Products
General Sump Pump Questions
- Why do I need a backup sump pump anyway?
- What are some of the reasons for sump pump failure?
- How do I calculate the amount of water coming in to my sump?
- Do the listed pumping rates include the municipal water that powers it?
- How much water does Basepump use and what about the environment?
- How do I know if I have enough water pressure and flow for Basepump?
- What if I have a "Frost-Free" or "Frost-Proof" spigot?
- Is there a maximum pressure and what happens if that is exceeded?
- Choosing among Basepump Models RB750, HB1000, and CB1500.
- Can I use 1/2" pipe to install a Basepump?
- Is a back-flow prevention device required?
- Can the discharge pipe for Basepump be connected to the discharge pipe from my primary sump pump?
- How long will Basepump operate during a power failure?
- How do I buy a Basepump?
- Can I install a Basepump myself?
- Does Basepump cycle quickly or does it run long enough to empty my sump?
General Sump Pump Questions
Why do I need a backup sump pump anyway?
Electric sump pumps fail for a variety of reasons. Such a failure can cause a great deal of damage. Insurance companies will often exempt this type of damage from their policies, charge extra premiums, impose higher deductibles, and/or severely limit coverage. Once you have had such damage, they will often exclude you from future coverage or raise the price and deductible to very high rates. Even when covered by insurance, it is YOU that has to deal with it all. The cleanup, removal, contractors, deductibles, insurance hassles, adjusters, paperwork, repairs, etc. will be YOUR problem.
What are some of the reasons for sump pump failure?
You name it:
- Sump pump burned out, unplugged, or jammed by mud or a stone
- Broken impeller or drive shaft
- Float switch broken, disconnected, or stuck
- Tripped circuit breaker, blown fuse, or damaged power feed line
- Too much water or a clogged sump pump intake screen
- Clogged or frozen sump pump discharge pipe
- Oh yes, and Power Failure, too.
How do I calculate the amount of water coming in to my sump?
An average sump is approximately 18 inches across and an inch of water is approximately one gallon. During a rainy period, place a yardstick or tape measure against the side of the sump immediately after the primary pump finishes a pumping cycle. Just touch the surface of the water with it, and hold it there. Using a watch or other timer, count off one minute and pull the yardstick or tape measure out. Take the number of inches the water rose during that time and multiply by 60. This will be a reasonable estimate of the amount of water that would come in during an hour of steady rainfall.
Do the listed pumping rates include the municipal water that powers it?
Only the water that is removed from the sump itself is counted when we list the pumping rates. The added municipal water is not counted, is never introduced to the sump, and is only used to power the pump. This water is ejected outdoors along with the sump water after going through Basepump.
How much water does Basepump use and what about the environment?
Basepump uses 1 Gallon of municipal water to remove 1.5 - 2 Gallons of sump water, depending on your water pressure and piping, etc.. Gallons removed from the sump per gallons used from the city will increase proportionately as the pressure increases. For most homeowners, the water usage is a minor issue. The cost of that water compared to a basement ruined by flooding, is an easy trade-off. The water ONLY runs when Basepump is activated by a high water situation.
Basepump doesn't destroy or change the water it USES into something useless. It is simply putting it back into the storm drain system to be recycled once again. It is not being contaminated except by ground water just like the water that falls in the form of rain and goes back into the water supply system. Don't misunderstand, we know it has to be put through the ecosystem again, but not through the sewage treatment system. Saving the basement certainly eliminates tons of waste materials that would have gone into your local landfill.
How do I know if I have enough water pressure and flow for Basepump?
A static pressure gauge will tell you if you have the necessary 40 lbs. PSI minimum required to run Basepump. It is more important that you have the necessary flow rate, or volume, of water to feed the pump. The best way to test the flow of water, is to use an outside hose spigot, a 5 gallon bucket, and a stopwatch. With the water fully on, carefully calculate the amount of time it takes to fill the bucket to the 5 gallon level, usually about 2 Inches below the brim. If it fills in 40 seconds or less, you have adequate flow to run Model RB750; 30 seconds or less for Model HB1000; and 20 seconds or less for CB1500. This test is done at your hose spigot because it is very likely that the pipe line to that spigot is smaller than 3/4", usually 1/2", and a standard spigot will normally have some restriction in it similar to the restriction inside a Basepump. This helps determine which Basepump Model will most likely operate when connected in the basement.
What if I have a "Frost-Free" or "Frost-Proof" spigot?
This type of spigot, or faucet, restricts water flow more than a standard spigot. In order to get a reasonably accurate estimate from this spigot, you will have to fill the bucket, calculate the time, and then reduce that time by 25%. This would give you a reasonable estimate of the time it would have taken with a standard spigot. Then you can apply those figures to the 5 gallon bucket test included in our Easy 3 Step Test to choose the correct Model.
Here's an example of the difference between a regular and a frost-proof spigot, or faucet as it is called in the photo:
Is there a maximum pressure and what happens if that is exceeded?
The components of Basepump are rated well above 100 PSI. However, when 95 Lbs. PSI is exceeded, the inlet valve may leak or "spit" slightly, but only momentarily during the closing process. While the valve is closing, there is a momentary surge in the pressure inside the valve and this may cause the valve to "burp" slightly to relieve the excess. A few drops of water may escape at that moment and spray out a little, but that is all. To avoid this condition, if your incoming water pressure exceeds 90 PSI, tie in the water connection after the Pressure Regulator Valve (PRV). You may also add a "point of use (PRV)" to reduce the pressure only for the pump. Any good quality, adjustable Pressure Regulator will do, available locally.
Choosing among Basepump Models RB750, HB1000, and CB1500.
Model RB750 is for use in private homes typically having less than 2,500 square feet of basement area and a minimum 1/2" water service. The Model HB1000 requires a minimum 3/4" water service. The Model CB1500 is a commercial model that is rarely used in residential applications because it requires a minimum 3/4" or 1" water service, a minimum 15 GPM of water flow through it, and a Licensed Professional Plumber should install it. Carefully consider the pressure and flow requirements indicated above when ordering. There's a lot more information about this on the Homeowners page and there is an Easy 3 Step Test to help you choose which model is best for your home.
Can I use 1/2" pipe to install a Basepump?
Yes you can, but only Model RB750 may be installed using 1/2" or 3/4" pipe and tied into an existing 1/2" OR 3/4" water line from the main water service. Model HB1000 must be installed using 3/4" pipe from the main service line, which must also be 3/4" minimum. Model CB1500 may be installed using 3/4" OR 1" pipe and tied into an existing water service of the same or larger size. All shutoff valves in any installation must be full-flow, ball or gate type valves, and full-flow copper or equivalent piping such as PVC, CPVC, PEX, etc. are recommended. Check with your local Plumbing Department if you are unsure about any of this. Do not use or connect to galvanized iron pipe. Do not use piping that is not approved in your area.
Is a back-flow prevention device required?
Most local plumbing codes require back-flow prevention devices on water fixture installations to protect the potable water supply in the event of a flow-reversal in the system. Check with your local plumbing department if you have any questions about back-flow. Typically a Dual Check Valve, an Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker, or a Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) device are industry recognized Back-Flow devices that can be added to the system during installation of your new Basepump. Basepump poses no threat to the potable water supply, when installed independently to the exterior and is open to the atmosphere on the discharge side. That being said, please look at our Backflow Prevention page for more details. It becomes more of an issue when the discharge shares the same discharge with the primary sump pump.
Can the discharge pipe for Basepump be connected to the discharge pipe from my primary sump pump?
Yes...and No! We recommend that Basepump be discharged separately to the outside, but sometimes, this is difficult or nearly impossible. The purpose of Basepump is to take over no matter what the reason for your sump pump failure. Keeping it completely independent of your primary sump pump does this. If a clogged or frozen discharge pipe causes your main pump to fail and you have used the same discharge pipe for Basepump, then Basepump will fail, too. However, if this risk is acceptable to you, then you may connect it with the Basepump discharge entering the main discharge at, or near, its highest point and avoid vertical runs of more than a few inches, whenever possible. If the primary sump pump has a horizontal run of more than 6 feet, make sure it runs at least flat or better yet, downhill to the exterior so gravity will work WITH the pump and not against it. Refer to the installation instructions for the correct way to make this connection. Many plumbing departments only accept independent installations. Also keep in mind that when you connect the discharges together, there is also the risk of a check valve failure on your primary pump which can then cause the Basepump to send water down that pipe and fill the basement.
How long will Basepump operate during a power failure?
Basepump will operate as long as your municipal water supply is available at sufficient pressure. It is designed to empty the sump nearly to the bottom each time before shutting off. It will turn itself on and off automatically, just like your primary electric pump, until the problem with the primary sump pump is corrected, i.e. the power comes back on or the dead pump is replaced.
Can I install a Basepump myself?
If you are handy and can make pipe connections, you can probably install a Basepump. If you are a little unsure of yourself when it comes to soldering copper pipe or fitting PEX plastic pipe, our newest versions of Basepump, the RB750-EZ and the HB1000-PRO are specifically designed for the Do-It-Yourself installer. It includes No-Sweat, Push-in type installation parts and so much more.
Does Basepump cycle quickly or does it run long enough to empty my sump?
Basepump can be pre-set to run long enough to empty your sump all the way to the bottom of the suction pipe. This means longer pumping cycles and complete pump-down to relieve hydro-static pressure under the basement floor. Some backup sump pumps have a float mechanism that turns the pump on and off with very short run times in between. This means the water in the sump remains at a high level and the pump is cycling on and off very quickly. Basepump operates more like your main pump that removes most of the water in the sump each time it runs and keeps the water level down low.