Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

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General Sump Pump Questions

Why do I need a backup sump pump anyway?

Electric sump pumps fail for a variety of reasons as listed below. Such a failure can cause a great deal of damage. Insurance companies 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, 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, 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.

Another quick and easy way to make this estimate is to listen or watch for your main pump to run. Determine how long it is between each cycle, (i.e. from start of pump to next start of pump) and divide that into 60 to calculate how many times per hour it would operate. On average, most sump pumps remove 6-8 gallons of water each time they run. Example: say your pump runs every 10 minutes during a rainfall. That is 60 minutes ÷ 10 minutes = 6 times per hour. Multiply that x 10 gallons average per run. This accounts for the water that comes in while the pump is running and it makes the math easier. This example comes to 60 Gallons per hour pumping capacity needed.

Basepump Questions

Do the listed pumping rates include the municipal water that powers it?

No. Only the water that is removed from the sump pit itself is counted. The added municipal water is not counted, is never introduced to the sump pit, 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 2 Gallons of sump water, at 90 lbs. PSI. Water usage per gallons removed will decrease proportionately as the pressure increases. At 60 PSI it will use 1 Gallon to remove about 1½ Gallonsemergency backup sump pump, this water usage is somewhat irrelevant. The average cost of that water, (about 2.5 cents each minute it runs in most locales), compared to a basement ruined by flooding, is an easy tradeoff. This cost is actually very close to the average cost of the electricity used to run your primary pump. The water ONLY runs when Basepump is activated by a high water situation. As an extreme example, if Basepump were to run for 30 seconds once every 5 minutes for an entire 24 hour period, (288 cycles!) the average cost of operation for that day would be approximately $3.60! Compare that to the damage prevented or the replacement cost of batteries for a battery powered unit. The 3 Models of Basepump use differing amounts of water at various pressures. See the chart on the Basepump page to review those usage amounts. Keep in mind that Basepump doesn't actually destroy or change the water it USES into something else. 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 landfills.

How do I know if I have enough water pressure and flow for Basepump?

A standard static pressure gauge will tell you if you have the necessary 40 lbs. PSI minimum required to run Basepump. This is less important than than the flow rate, or volume, of the water. 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 where the handle is attached. 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" and a standard spigot will normally have some restriction in it. These limits are factored into this test. This helps determine which Basepump Model will most likely operate when connected right after the meter.

What if I have a "Frost-Free" or "Frost-Proof" spigot?

This type of spigot 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 30%. This would give you a reasonable estimate of the time it would have taken with a standard spigot.

Here's an example of the difference between a regular and a frost-proof spigot, or faucet as it is called in the photo:

Frost proof faucet vs regular

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.

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 requires a minimum 3/4" or 1" water service and a Licensed Professional Plumber should install it. Carefully consider the pressure and flow requirements indicated above when ordering. Thee's a lot more information about this on the Homeowners page.

Can I use 1/2" pipe to install a Basepump model?

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. We sell easy-to-use, solder-free installation kits (without the pipe) for both copper pipe and PEX plastic pipe systems. Click here for more information on our kits.

Is a back-flow preventive device required?

Most local plumbing codes require back-flow preventive devices on many 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 or a SVB (Spill-Resistant Vacuum Breaker) are industry recognized Back-Flow devices that can be installed in the water supply pipe before Basepump. Basepump poses no threat to the potable water supply, when installed independently to the exterior and open to the atmosphere on the discharge side.

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 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 main 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. If the main pump has a long (more than 6 feet) horizontal run, make sure it runs downhill to the exterior so gravity will work WITH the pump and not against it. Refer to 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. It is designed to empty the sump pit nearly to the bottom each time before shutting off. It will turn itself on and off automatically (just like your main pump) until the problem with the main pump is corrected (the power comes back on).

How do I buy a Basepump?

Click on the link for your state in the main menu at the top of any page where you can see if there is a dealer in your area or go directly to Online Purchasing to buy directly from us. We ship everywhere in the US via UPS and to Canada via USPS/Canada Post.

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, we have installation kits available. These kits use No-Sweat push-in type fittings instead of soldered, crimped, or glued ones. They are very easy to use and are approved for use everywhere! If this all seems too difficult or complicated, call a plumber! Our newest version of Basepump, the RB750-EZ is specifically designed for the Do-It-Yourself person. It includes the No-Sweat installation parts and so much more.

Does Basepump cycle quickly or does it run long enough to empty my sump?

With Basepump you get a pump that 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 hydrostatic 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.

Hydropump Questions

What type of battery will I need for Hydropump and is it included?

We do NOT include the battery. We recommend the use of a Size 27 Marine Deep Cycle Battery for all our Hydropump models. Check with the battery manufacturer about how long before it needs replacing. Generally, a standard type of deep cycle battery will last in this application for about 3 years and requires periodic maintenance, because the water portion of the electrolyte fluid inside the battery tends to "boil out" over time. About every 2-3 months the chambers need distilled water added to cover the plates inside. It is better to use a Sealed Lead-acid, AGM, or Gel type deep cycle battery. Check with the manufacturer of each type for information on its life, charging needs, etc. These typically cost more, but they last longer, and are maintenance-free. You may use a battery sized from 27 - 31, so ask for the best battery in that size range that you can afford. (Maximum size for case: 13-1/2" L x 7" W x 10" H to top of terminals.) Make sure the Manufacturer's Warranty information is available and covers you for an acceptable period of time; at least one year. We sell Gel Batteries and AGM Batteries. These are long-lasting, maintenance-free batteries. To purchase or for pricing go to Online Purchasing.

How long will Hydropump operate during a power failure?

There are many factors that affect this answer. Refer to the page for each model of Hydropump for a chart of pumping times for that pump model. Generally, 2 - 5 days on average, depending on how often it needs to run, the head pressure it is pumping against, the discharge piping, etc. Under continuous running, which we define as a 30 second run once every minute, starting with a fully charged battery, and pumping against 9 feet of head pressure. Under these conditions, each Hydropump model will run 12 or more hours. An extra battery may be added to any model using our DBC Kit to double the pumping times.

Is the battery charger automatic?

Yes. It senses when the battery has lost any of it's capacity and recharges the battery until it reaches a fully charged condition. If the charger senses that the battery has decayed to a level below 10 volts, it will determine that the battery cannot be slow-charged and will not go on. At that point, a high capacity charger must be used or it may be time to replace the battery.

Is the battery charger included?

Yes, a 1.0 Amp charger is included with your purchase. You will need to have a nearby ground fault protected outlet to operate the charger. The difference between our charger and some of the other chargers out there is this: Ours is a "finish charger" which monitors the battery much more closely and does not allow it to drop in capacity very far before it kicks in. Some chargers are in use that sound like they are more powerful because they are rated at, say, 10 AMPS, but in reality, they do not do the kind of job that our charger does. Many of them allow the battery to decay upwards of 50% before they turn on. If your pump needs to run during that "low power" time, it won't run very long. Some are called "trickle" chargers. These often send a constant, low-level charge to the battery, which can shorten the life of the battery.

How do I buy a Hydropump?

Click on: Find a Distributor to see if there is a dealer or representative in your area. If not, then you will be directed to click Online Purchasing to buy directly from Base Products.