Are Battery Backup Sump Pumps Worth It?

Homeowners rely on their sump pumps to bail them out in wet weather or light flooding – literally. These handy devices are essential to protecting homes with basements or any dedicated space below ground. For properties in rainy climates or floodplains, owners simply can't afford their sump pump to fail. Enter the battery backup sump pump, but does everyone need one?

What Is a Battery Backup Sump Pump?

These secondary sump pumps are powered by deep-cycle batteries and supplement your home's primary sump pump. Battery backup devices aren't designed to replace the primary sump pump; they turn on when the main device fails or water levels rise rapidly.

Battery backup sump pumps operate in much the same way as a traditional pump. Sump pumps turn on when triggered by a float switch, which is raised by water levels around your home's foundation. When the float switch rises to a specific point, it triggers the pump to turn on.

Primary sump pumps have one glaring vulnerability: power. Most pumps are plugged into a nearby outlet or wired directly into the home's electrical system, which means the sump pump stops working when the power goes out. In regions with powerful storms or high flood risk, that's a big problem.

The Benefits of Battery-Powered Backup Sump Pumps

As the name suggests, battery backup sump pumps are powered by a dedicated deep-cycle battery that can last for years. Some of the benefits of battery-powered backup sump pumps include:

  • Power (only) when you need it. Backup devices only run as a last resort and aren't connected to the home’s electrical system, which means they aren't drawing additional electricity or contributing to energy costs in any way. 
  • Easy to maintain. Battery backups for sump pumps are very easy to maintain and install. When choosing a battery-powered sump pump, check the box for information on battery capacity and how often you should replace batteries. Try to keep track of your current sump pump's workload: The more often your primary pump turns on, the higher battery capacity you'll need.
  • High-tech features. Modern battery backups are getting increasingly sophisticated. Some devices can monitor battery life, track changes in water levels over time, and even send homeowners alerts about water risks or maintenance needs. If your backup sump pump is beeping or buzzing, the primary pump has failed or water levels are rising quickly. Call your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing before the pump well floods.

How Long Do Sump Pump Batteries Last?

The operational life of most backup systems depends on the unit's battery capacity and the use rate. A backup battery sump pump that runs every twenty minutes will last much longer than one turning on every five minutes. Most devices are designed to last between eight and twelve hours, but real-world performance varies.

Depending on the amount of use, battery capacity, and interior temperatures (batteries die faster in cold temperatures), most backup batteries will last 3-5 years. If you live in wet or flood-prone areas, check your system's battery every 3-6 months, and be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for battery replacement.

Do I Need a Battery Backup Sump Pump?

Costs for battery-powered sump pumps range from $600 to $1,000 before installation, with more expensive models boasting long-lasting deep-cycle marine batteries. Pumps with higher pumping capacity also tend to cost more, with top-end models rated at 2,200 gallons per hour (GPH). Your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing technician will help you choose the right model and install it right the first time!

Not every homeowner needs a battery backup system, but it could be a smart investment if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • Your home sits near a high water table. Homeowners near lakes and rivers typically experience minor (or not so minor!) flood risk due to high underground water levels. Heavy rains can seriously strain primary pumping systems; failure poses consistent risks during rainy seasons.
  • You live in a floodplain. Regions with seasonal flood risk are more likely to rely on sump pumps to protect property. If your area experiences consistent floods, investing in a backup system will likely prevent expensive damage in the future.
  • You live in a humid climate with heavy rainfall. Not all rainy climates are tropical. With several southeastern states receiving the most precipitation per year on average, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire saw the highest rainfall totals in 2023.

Invest In a Little Backup with Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

Battery backup sump pumps provide protection and peace of mind for homeowners. So does Benjamin Franklin Plumbing! Our friendly and professional plumbers offer expert plumbing maintenance and repair services to keep your home's plumbing infrastructure working perfectly. Find a location near you or call (866) 318-9397 today!