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UPDATED: 06/25/14

Frequently Asked Backup System Questions

  •             INSTALLATION

    •   Q: How easy is it to install a Basement Watchdog Backup System? A: A: Installation is easy. All systems come with a detailed manual that includes pictures of the installation process. Installation videos are also available to help guide you.
    •   Q: Which is the best installation method and why? A: The best installation method is a direct discharge to the outside of the building. With this method, your backup pump is able to operate at full capacity if your main pump is not able to keep up with the incoming water. Also, a bad check valve will not affect the operation of either pump.
    •   Q: How many check valves will I need and why? A: If you are connecting to an existing discharge pipe with a "Y" connector, two check valves are required. Both check valves must be installed below the "Y" connector and 1/8" hole must be drilled between the check valve and the backup pump. If you are adding another discharge pipe, a check valve is not required. However, a check valve can be used to prevent water from flowing back into the pit when the pump shuts off.
    •   Q: If I am connecting to an existing discharge pipe, why do I need two check valves? A: Having two working check valves below the "Y" connector is very critical to the operation of the backup pump. For example, if the check valve is bad above the main pump, the water will not get discharged by the backup pump if it has to activate. The water will only go up the "Y" connector and then come down through the main discharge pipe. The check valve above the main pump must be working and installed properly in order for the backup pump to operate.
    •   Q: My pit is too narrow to fit both pumps next to each other, what can I do? A: For narrow pits you can mount the backup pump on an "L" bracket above the main pump. You will need to purchase an "L" bracket at least six inches long (preferably one that will not rust), two stainless steel hose clamps, and one stainless steel screw (#8-32 x ¾") with a matching washer & nut (refer to our manual for instructions).
      fluid sensor rod

      Consider one of our combination systems. These systems come preassembled with check valves, a "Y" connector and both primary and backup pumps. They feature a compact design that can fit most narrow pits.
      fluid sensor rod
  •             BATTERY

    •   Q: Do I have to fill your battery with acid? A: The Basement Watchdog Maintenance Free/AGM standby batteries don't require any acid. The Basement Watchdog Wet Cell standby batteries are sold dry and have to be activated with acid. This allows us to make sure that our customers get the most out of the battery. The life of the battery starts when it is filled with acid.
    •   Q: I have used the entire pack of acid and I don't have enough acid to fill the last cell. What can I do? A: Make sure you have no more acid left in the pack. If the pack is empty, more acid may need to be purchased. You can purchase 1 quart of 1.265 specific gravity acid from a battery store.
    •   Q: Can I use a maintenance free battery on your systems? A: A maintenance free battery can be used on the Basement Watchdog Emergency (BWE), Basement Watchdog Combination (DFK961), the newly updated version of the Basement Watchdog Special+ (BWSP+) and Basement Watchdog Big Combination sump pump system (BW4000) with Special + backup controller. Look for the "+" on the upper left hand corner of the BWSP+ control panel to ensure compatibility.
    •   Q: I am using a maintenance free battery, what do I do with the fluid sensor rod? A: To permanently disable the water fluid low alarm, attached the fluid sensor rod to the positive terminal of the battery. This can be done by tightening down the wing nut on top of the positive terminal and the fluid sensor.
      fluid sensor rod
    •   Q: Can I connect two batteries together? A: Only if they are used on the Basement Watchdog Big Dog or Basement Watchdog Special Plus systems. To do this, the two batteries must be connected in parallel (+) to (+) and (-) to (-). A special cable can be order from the manufacturer by calling Glentronics at 800-991-0466 option 3. It is highly recommended to use batteries that are the same size and age. Connecting two batteries in parallel will double your pumping time during a power outage. It is also recommended to purchase a battery box for the battery. This can be ordered from the manufacturer as well.
    •   Q: How do I dispose of the extra battery acid? A: The acid can be neutralized with backing soda or can be taken to any place that has a HazMat (Hazardous materials) pick up.
  •             SYSTEM

    •   Q: Why do I need a backup system? A: All Anyone who has an AC sump pump should protect their basement with a backup system. At some point the main pump will fail as a result of a power outage, main pump failure, float switch failure or the inability to keep up with the incoming water capacity. A backup pump is an inexpensive insurance policy eliminating the headaches and cost associated with a flooded basement.
    •   Q: Why does a Basement Watchdog backup system provide more protection than other brands? A: A backup pump with a dead battery, loose cables, or a clogged pump is like having no backup at all. With other brands, you will never know if there is a problem. All Basement Watchdog backup pump systems have unique monitoring systems that sound an alarm when maintenance is need or when a problem arises. All systems also include the fluid sensor that is used to monitor the battery fluid level.
    •   Q: What are the differences between the three watchdog systems? A: All They differ in pumping capacity, charger strength, monitoring features and price. See the chart below for feature comparison.

      Features The Basment Watchdog Big Dog
      The Basment Watchdog Special
      The Basment Watchdog Emegency
      Pumping capacity Gallons per hour (GPH)
      @ 0-ft. height
      3500 GPH 2500 GPH 2000 GPH
      Gallons per hour (GPH)
      @ 10-ft. height
      2200 GPH 1730 GPH 1000 GPH
      Basement Watchdog 7.5 Hour
      Stand-by Battery
      Continuous run time 7.5 hours 7.5 hours 12 hours
      Intermittent run time* 60 hours 60 hours 100 hours
      Basement Watchdog
      Emergency Battery
      Continuous run time on Not Recommended Not Recommended 6 hours
      Intermittent run time* 50 hours
      Charger strength (the higher the AMPS, the faster is will charge the battery) 20 AMPS 1.6 AMPS .4 AMPS
      Switches automatically to battery power when AC power fails
      Pumps automatically when water volume exceeds the capacity of the main AC pump
      Pumps on AC power as well as battery power
      Automatically tests the pumps weekly
      Remote notification capability allows communication with an Auto Dialer, Home Security System or other device, to alert you to problems or required maintenance
      Detects irregularities, sounds an alarm and pinpoints problems and solutions on the control panel
      The alarm can be silenced during a power outage
      AN ALARM WILL SOUND, INDICATING THESE POTENTIAL PROBLEMS • Battery needs water • Battery is old and needs to be replaced • Battery is discharged or defective • Cable is loose or terminals are corroded • Power, fuse or circuit breaker has failed Pump has been activated; check the main pump for failure

          * Based on 10% duty cycle. Run times may vary based on inflow of water.

    •   What is included with the Basement Watchdog Backup system? A: All Watchdog systems include the pump, monitoring/charging controller, fluid sensor, float switch, and battery box. You will need to purchase the matching battery and acid. Any additional parts needed for installation, (i.e. check valves and pipe) are listed on the box, brochure and in the manual.
    •   What additional items will I need to supply? A: You will also need to supply a Basement Watchdog battery, six quarts of 1.265 specific gravity battery acid, 1 ½" rigid PVC pipe and fittings, PVC primer with cement, a union with hose clamps or a "Y" connector and two check valves (depending on the installation method you use), and a surge protector (recommended).

    •   Q: Is there a way to be alerted when you are not home? A: We have systems that feature a remote connection. It can be used to connect to an auto dialer, security system, or other devices. This feature is only available on the Basement Watchdog Special.
    •   Q: Do I need to plug my system into a surge protector? A: Power surges and power spikes can occur at anytime. Unfortunately they can damage the electronics inside the control unit of your backup system. Protect your backup system with a surge protector which is a device that suppresses power surges. A surge protector can be purchased at any electronics or hardware store. They are rated in joules. At least 1500 joules is recommended for any of our backup systems. We do not suggest plugging the primary pump into a surge protector.
    •   Q: How does the dual float switch operate? A: The float switch will turn on the pump when the water raises either float, and it will remain running as long as the water is above the float. When the water drops below the float switch, an internal timer in the control unit will keep the pump running an additional 25-60 seconds to empty the sump pit. The actual additional run time will depend on the backup system.
    •   Q: Why does my float switch have two floats? A: For added reliability, the float switch has two floats. Both perform the same operation, activate the pump. Should one float switch fail to operate, the second float automatically activates the pump.