I have no affiliate relationship with Basement Systems or any of its franchises, nor am I receiving any compensation for this post.
With our five year old sump pump on its last legs, replacing it was on the list of “while-you-are-at-it” projects when we rebuild the addition and finish the basement later this year or early next year. And while we’re at it (replacing the sump pump), we ought to look into some sort of battery backup in case of power failure. We could have waited and buried the cost into a project costing 6 figures. I could have got off my lazy butt and done the work myself. Instead, we shelled out considerable money now for a state of the art system that will guarantee we stay high and dry.
If you have done any research into foundation repairs or basement waterproofing, you have likely come across one of the many Basement Systems franchises that operate in Canada, the United States and the UK. This company has been on my radar for several years, but it was after a recent home show that I finally called them.
First of all, I love going to home shows, but it’s a tough sell for my wife and kid. Plus these things have a nasty habit of conflicting with other family-type obligations. The last show I attended was back in about 2004.
But this year, with a major renovation looming on the horizon, I had a compelling argument for spending a few hours wandering from crowded booth to crowded booth. And that when I saw it…
Cue the choir of angels
Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but I did pick up the brochure. On display at the booth of our local Basement Systems franchise was the TripleSafe Sump system.
Glorious in all its redundancy, the system is comprised of two sump pumps plus a battery operated back-up pump. We live in an area that has been prone to power outages and in recent years we have experienced some incredibly heavy rainfalls so you can understand how attractive a system like this would be.
- Pump #1: 1/3 hp primary pump
- Pump #2: 1/2 hp secondary pump which sits higher in the pit. Operates when pump #1 fails or is overwhelmed
- Pump #3: Battery operated back-up pump. Operates when power is interrupted or if pumps #1 and #2 are overwhelmed or fail.
- The system also includes the liner and air-tight cover.
Our current sump pump was five years old. The average lifespan of a sump pump is five to ten years. Our pump had a life-time warranty but it was only valid if we replaced the switch every two years and another part every five years. That routine maintenance would cost about the same as buying a new pump every five years.
Battery Back-up a must
I had also wanted to have some sort of power failure protection. I had looked into both water-powered and battery-powered options but after five years I was still relying on my single pump while keeping my fingers crossed that the power didn’t go out. Procrastinating on this issue might be an option while the basement remains unfinished, but we would have to address it eventually.
An air tight cover
While we are on the subject of procrastination, in five years I still had not got around to making a new cover for the sump pit. The wood cover had cut outs for the old pedestal pump. A new wood cover would not be air tight nor would it address the potential for mold growth.
The TripleSafe sump system not only solves all these issues, but it also looks mighty purty.
The installers had to jack-hammer the existing concrete pit to make room for the new liner– a messy and time-consuming job. For the primary pump, they used the existing discharge line that we ran underground five years ago. They installed a new secondary line for the backup pump, running that out to a bubbler pot about 20 feet away from the house. The entire installation took about four hours. They completed the cement work and hauled away all the debris.
Justifying the expense
- The selling point of the TripleSafe system, aside from the redundancy, is that it is designed to all fit together, without any trial and error.
- The professional installers were far more efficient than I would be as a DIYer. I used to look at labor cost in terms of man-hours of those doing the work. However the more accurate way to look at the labor cost is to consider the man-hours it would take me as a do-it-yourselfer to complete the task. Based on that, the cost of labor goes way down.
- Installing a larger pit required the use of a jackhammer. Drilling through the block for the discharge line required a rotary drill. These are tools I don’t have and would have to rent. In addition to the rental cost, I have learned to factor in the cost of fuel and the time to pick up and return those items.
- I am looking at this as more than a stand-alone expense. We will eventually be finishing the basement, hopefully in conjunction with the rebuilding of the addition. I am considering this to be one part of the larger project. This investment now will also help protect our future investment.
I admit that I am rationalizing my decision to not attempt any DIY in favor of a “done-for you” solution. I could simply swap out the single pump myself for a tenth of the cost. Some might say that the TripleSafe is overkill. But overkill is a good thing. At the end of the day, we will have a system that can handle just about anything Mother Nature can throw at it. For me that peace of mind is worth the expense.
Installation completed April 10, 2014.