Water Powered Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are an essential defense against water accumulation in your home’s basement. If your home is an area or city that receives a large amount of rain or snow, then you need be careful about water in your basement. Water powered sump pumps is a good choice are one type of sump pumps in the market.

Homeowners should identify which kind of drainage system they have or intend to have in their basement. The sump is usually connected to drain tile that drains the water near the footings of the house.

The water that drains into the sump need to be removed and this is exactly what a sump pump does.

There are two types of basic models in sump pumps:

    • Pedestal or upright
    • Submersible

Both models are reliable and the choice depends on the size of the sump available. Proper maintenance is required to keep both models running.

A pedestal pump sits on a pedestal outside of the water collection well with a sensor dropped into the water. The submersible sump pump is self-contained and is designed to float in the water pit. A submersible pump can be expected to last anywhere from five to 15 years, while pedestal models may last twice as long.

A pedestal pump sits on a pedestal and this pedestal is outside the well (where water gets collected). A sensor would be inside the water. The submersible, as the name suggests, is inside the water well. The average life time for a submersible is from 5 to 15 years, while pedestal models last longer than that.

Sump Pump Backups

Your sump pump plays an important role in protecting your basement and your home from basement flooding. And it is a mechanical device, after all. Considering all this, it is paramount that your sump pump has a back up sump pump. Even if your pump is electrical, it is possible that you would lose even the electricity during a storm.

A backup sump pump is a sure way to project your pump and your home in any emergency situations.

For these backup sump pumps, there are two types of backup sump pumps: Battery-powered and water powered.

Decide Between a Water-Powered or Battery-Powered Sump Pump

Once you understand the need for a backup sump pump, you could either go for battery powered or water powered sump pumps. Both options would work even even if there is power interruption.

Both types have advantages and disadvantages. The choice is dependent on your plumbing system, usual amount of water accumulated, and other preferences.

Read below for further explanations:

Battery powered sump pumps

Battery Powered Sump Pump


This type of backup sump pumps are available for a longer time than the water powered. Battery powered sump pumps are run by battery. A couple of models available in the market are easy to install: THE BASEMENT WATCHDOG Model BWSP 2,600 GPH


    • Suitability – Suitable for most homes
    • Power – Battery powered pumps can very powerful oftentimes capable of pumping thousands of gallons per hour (GPH)


    • Run time – There is an upper limit where these battery powered backup pumps can keep working. When there is a power outage, and a storm, there is no easy way to tell how long you might need the sump pump to keep pumping water out.
    • Need for replacement – The battery must be replaced every 3 to 5 years. This means, you need to monitor the battery health from time to time. You will also have to run periodic tests to ensure proper operation of these pumps. Jump to the FAQ at the end of the is article to read more about the periodic testing

Water Powered sump pumps

Water Powered Sump Pump

Water powered backup sump pumps are another option to consider – arguably a better option.

It is a common assumption that water powered means more complex. However, it is very easy to understand how these pumps work – if the water is through a pipe at sufficiently high speed, that will create a suction. This suction is strong enough to empty the sump pit.

Water-powered sump pumps have a many advantages, the least of which being that they last longer compared pumps powered by battery.


    • Unlimited run time – since these backup pumps are powered by water, there is potential for these backup sump pumps to work for an indefinite period of time. Of course, this is possible only as long as there is water available
    • No battery replacement – With a water powered system, there is no longer a need to check, maintain or replace the battery


    • Suitability – May not be suitable for all types of homes
    • Plumbing system requirements – The plumbing system needs to have certain water pressure, water flow rate, types of pipes, etc.
    • Plumbing system requirements – The plumbing system needs to have certain water pressure, water flow rate, types of pipes, etc.
    • Pumping Volume – Water powered backup systems generally do not match the pumping rate of some of the highest volume battery backup systems
    • Installation – These backup sump pumps need to be installed properly since you will be connecting with your home’s water supply piping

Some of the backup pumps in the market do come with installation kits that would make it relatively straight forward.

Please watch the following video to understand how a water powered backup sump pumps works:

How to Install a Water-Powered Sump Pump

Required tools:

    1. Saw
    2. Dill/driver
    3. Phillips Screwdriver
    4. Propane torch
    5. Tubing cutter
    6. Saw to cut PVC pipe
    7. Adjustable wrench
    8. Screwdriver

The following videos goes into steps required to install a water-powered backup sump pump. Please ensure that you follow all the safety related aspects while you work in plumbing.

Steps in installing a water powered backup sump Pump:

    1. Take a 2 three-foot-long cleats and attach them to the wall above the primary sump pump.
    2. Use suitable screws to fasten the cleats
    3. Screw the backup sump pump to the cleats. The sump pump should have come with the mounting hardware
    4. Ensure that the float on the backup pump is dangling slight above the primary pump
    5. Identify a close by cold-water line that you can cut into.
    6. Cut the line and run a 3/4 inch diameter copper pipe. This copper pipe should reach the control valve on the backup sump pump
    7. Solder each connection. Ensure you are wearing proper safety gear
    8. Unplug the main sump pump and drain water from the discharge pipe
    9. Connect the PVD discharge pipe from the backup pump into the discharge pipe of the main sump pump
    10. Install a check valve onto the backup pump
    11. Ensure that you watch the video to complete the installation

Some frequently asked questions about backup sump pumps:

How far can a 1/2 HP sump pump push water?

A 0.5 HP pump must be able to push the water uphill 40 FT without much problem.

Should A sump pump sit on gravel?

Simple answer, it should not. Make sure that you sump pump does not sit on any small sized gravel or any other debris. Doing so, may result in a situation wherein this debris may get sucked up into the pump

How often should my pump sump run during heavy rain?

The sump pump should run for about 15 seconds every minute.

What is the average cost of putting a sump pump in a basement?

The average cost to install a sump is about $1000.

What is an ideal size for a sump pump?

If you have an average-sized home and in an area with average water tables, a 1/3 HP sump pump would do the job. For above average size homes, you should go for 1/2 HP sump pump.

Do water powered sump pumps really work?

They do work as long as there is adequate municipal water pressure. When there is electricity interruption (rendering your main sump pump ineffective), the water pressure from the municipality should sustain.

How do you test a water powered backup sump pump?

You need fill your sump pit with water enough that the float on your water powered backup sump pump activates the switch. This should turn the backup pump and begin its cycle. While the backup pump is operating, carefully listen for noise that could indicate water leak. Finally, check the valves, clamps, connections, and pipes are in good condition.


It is very important that every house is equipped with a sump pump in the basement. Basement flooding is a common occurrence and especially in the areas that have large water tables around. A backup sump pump is essential in order to protect your basement against flooding while there is a power outage during heavy rains or if the the primary sump pump stops working. We recommend a water powered sump pump for this purpose.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button