Sump pump alarm
- April 18, 2023
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A sump pump alarm is often considered an ‘accessory’ to a waterproofing system, but it is an integral part of the sump pump installation. A sump pump is a crucial component in homes, especially for those living in areas prone to flooding or excessive rain.
While the sump pump works tirelessly to keep water levels low in the sump pit or well, it can fail due to power outages, mechanical problems, or excessive water levels. This is where a sump high water alarm is critical.
What is a sump pump alarm?
A sump pump alarm is an alerting system installed within the sump well to advise you when the water level reaches the highest part of the sump pump well for it to effectively remove water. When the water level rises above the float switch on your sump pump, it will sound an alarm.
The sump pump alarm system acts as a water measurement device. It sits on the top part of the pump and sounds like a smoke alarm going off when two anodes get wet, triggering the float switch. When the float switch is triggered, the alarm emits a loud, beeping sound, warning homeowners that there is a problem.
What causes a sump pump alarm to go off?
A sump pump alarm may go off due to power outages, primary sump failure, a clogged or frozen discharge, depleted battery backup, or overwhelming of the sump pump during heavy rains and flooding.
- Power outage – If you only have a primary sump that runs off electricity and you lose power during a rainstorm, the water level will rise, causing the alarm to sound or to send an alert! You need to plug the pump into a generator and consider purchasing a battery backup sump, a backup generator for your home, or better yet, both!
- Primary sump pump failure – If your sump pump fails and you have not lost electricity and the water level rises, causing the alarm to sound or send an alert that your sump pump has failed, and you need to have it replaced pronto!
- Clogged or frozen discharge – If your sump pump cannot discharge the water due to a clogged or frozen discharge and the water level rises, causing the alarm to sound or send an alert that you need to unclog or unfreeze or reroute the discharge!
- Battery backup battery is out of juice – Sometimes you can lose electricity for so long during a prolonged weather event that your battery backup battery loses charge and stops pumping, causing the sump pump high water alarm to sound or alert you.
You need to either swap the battery or plug the primary pump and battery charging station into a generator to protect you until the power comes back on!
- Sump pump is overwhelmed – Sometimes, during states of emergency caused by prolonged heavy rains and flooding, a sump pump will get overwhelmed and will be unable to keep up with the amount of water being directed to it.
When this happens, additional redundant sumps (with their own discharges) can potentially be added to increase the pumping power. It is important to note, however, that in certain instances, there is no remedy for these situations. There are no number of pumps that can keep up with a river or tidal body of water if it is making its way into your basement!
NOTE: It’s crucial to have a backup plan such as a generator, battery backup sump, or redundant pumps to address the issue. However, in certain situations, no remedy may be possible, and multiple sump pumps may be ineffective against overwhelming water levels.
Is a sump pump alarm necessary?
A sump alarm is like a basement watchdog that helps you avoid water damage. It provides peace of mind by sounding an audible alarm or alerting you electronically that the water level is above the float switch and your pump is taking on more water than it can handle, you have an electrical outage, or you have a pump failure.
Some consider it an add-on, but it is an important precautionary measure to help ensure you can potentially stop a basement flood before it starts. Sometimes this happens due to localized power outages, and if your pump is connected to a power source, your traditional alarm won’t go off.
For this reason, we also believe strongly in installing a backup battery so that you have an extra layer of protection to keep your basement dry. Our inspectors will always recommend a battery backup with our systems. If money is no object, ideally, you would have both a battery backup sump and a generator that powers your primary pump during power outages.
What happens when a sump pump alarm goes off?
When you hear the sump alarm beeping, it means that your sump pit is full, and the water is getting to be too much for your pump to handle. When the water has reached the top of the basement sump pit at the alarm box, you could be looking at a potential basement flood if you don’t address the issue right away.
In order to hear the audible alarm, you must be home. If your home is prone to taking on water, or if you are a frequent traveler, it is time to invest in a smart alerting sump pump water alarm system.
The smart alerting system will notify you via text or through a smart app. At Value Dry Waterproofing, we highly recommend it for frequent travelers or homes that are unoccupied for extended periods of time.
Should I remove the sump pump alarm?
If you hear the alarm and find that water is filling up your basement sump pit, you can remove or silence the alarm temporarily while the pump drains the accumulated water. Stay near the system until all or most of the water drains to ensure it doesn’t overflow and flood your basement, causing costly repairs. Once the water has drained, you can reset or replace the alarm.
Why does my sump pump battery alarm keep going off?
Battery backup alarms can go off for a variety of reasons, but the most common is because of a failed primary pump. A false alarm can also occur due to loose wires, a tripped breaker, incorrect water levels, or a dying battery.
The battery backup pump can also get overwhelmed, and the alarm is alerting you of the fact. This is one reason having an additional pump system is so important.
You can stay connected to your sump directly from your cell phone with visual alarm indicators in a smart app or via a push alert sent directly to the palm of your hand. With a Wi-Fi-enabled smart pump, you can receive real-time alerts via text or email from your pumping station. This has become one of the smartest ways to keep in tune with your device and avoid annoying alarms.
Of course, sump pump well checks and regular maintenance also keep your system and alarm in tip-top condition. There is no doubt that yearly sump well maintenance is the best way to ensure your pumping station is effectively ready for a major weather event.
Should I be worried if a house has a sump pump?
Purchasing a home with a sump pit is not always cause for concern. With a smart plan in place to redirect water from its entry point into the sump well pit, a professionally installed and maintained sump pump can manage most of the water coming into your home.
With proper installation and maintenance, it is a great tool for homeowners to prevent basement flood damage. It’s always smart to have a high-water alarm in place so you know the system works and more importantly, when it doesn’t.
If someone installed a sump pump, that means there was water infiltration at some point. You may have cracks or holes in your foundation.
Water penetration in the foundation of a home can cause lasting damage. You should always have a professional inspect your basement or crawl space once a year to be sure your basement waterproofing system, sump pumps, and high-water alarms are installed properly and working as intended taking all potential water entry points into account.
Can you put an alarm on a sump pump?
Yes. Value Dry Basement Waterproofing offers 4 types of sump pump high water alarms:
Flood Alert Alarm – a simple audible alarm that goes on top of the sump pump well lid
PumpSwappers Audible Battery Back Up – the alarm is built into the battery backup system
PumpSwappers Smart Battery Back Up – Wi-Fi Alerting technology sends texts and alerts to you via text and a smart app on your smartphone
PumpSwappers Smart Outlet – Wi-Fi alerting technology that monitors your primary pump and alerts you via text and a smart app on your smartphone
Why choose Value Dry Basement Waterproofing for a sump pump alarm issue?
Contact the expert technicians at Value Dry Basement Waterproofing for a sump well check or for preventative maintenance. If your current sump installation did not include an alarm, we can provide the added assurance of an alerting option. Call today!