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UPDATED: 06/25/14

Frequently Asked Technical and Installation Questions

  •             INSTALLATION

    •   Q: How easy is it to install a Basement Watchdog? 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 not connecting to an existing discharge pipe, a check valve is not required. However, a check valve will prevent water from flowing back into the pit when the pump has stopped. If you are connecting to an existing discharge pipe, two check valves are required. Both must be installed below the "Y" connector and 1/8" hole must be drilled below the check valve and the backup pump.
    •   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: Why drill the 1/8" hole in the PVC pipe? A: The purpose of the 1/8" hole is to prevent the pump from being air locked. A pump that is air locked cannot pump water. This hole should be drilled approximately 3" above the pump at a 45° angle directed downward, so the water will flow back into the sump pit. When the pump is running, water should be shooting out of the hole. Some main pumps may require the 1/8" hole as well. Check with the manufacturer of your main pump if it is required.
    •   Q: Can I install the backup pump on the bottom of my pit? A: We highly recommend placing the backup pump on top of a brick so it is elevated and away from pit debris.
    •   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 both check valves, a "Y" connector and both pumps. They feature a compact design that can fit most narrow pits.
      fluid sensor rod
    •   Q: My check valve is making a loud clunking sound when the pump stops, what can I do? A: Most check will make a sound when they are closing. We manufacture the Basement Watchdog Klunkless check valve. It features a silencing air chamber that absorbs the sound that normally occurs after a pump shuts off. For more information, please visit our web site.
    •   Q: Where do I install the dual float switch? A: The float switch should be mounted about six inches above the water level line in the sump pit. Attach the float switch very securely to the discharge pipe with a plastic wire tie.
  •             BATTERY

    •   Q: Why use a Basement Watchdog battery? A: The Basement Watchdog batteries have been designed specifically to work with the Basement Watchdog backup systems. They are the only batteries that accommodate the fluid sensor, which is a very important feature for maintaining battery performance. They are constructed to provide longer pumping times than most other batteries, and to last longer than other brands.
    •   Q: What do I use the yellow cap for? A: The yellow cap is used with Basement Watchdog Wet Cell standby batteries to accommodate the fluid sensor. It is to be placed in the second cell from the positive post and the sensor is inserted into the off center hole in the cap. ***Please note that some Basement Watchdog batteries have only 2 long rectangular caps with a hole already present in the top of the battery case. If you have this battery, the yellow cap will not be needed but keep it in case you need it in the future. If you have misplaced your yellow cap please call Glentronics at 800-991-0466, option 3 for a free replacement.
    •   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: Why does my battery smell like rotten eggs when I fill it with acid? A: The smell of rotten eggs is common when the battery is new. When you fill the battery with acid, the initial reaction between the plates and the acid produces sulfur dioxide. It smells like rotten eggs, but is harmless and will dissipate within a short time.
    •   Q: How long do I have to charge the battery after I add the acid? A: By adding the acid you are activating the battery. After adding the acid, the battery will be charged 80% to 90% within 15 minutes. It can be used immediately, and the system will complete the charging process once the charger is plugged into the wall.
    •   Q: How often should I add water to the battery? A: For the Basement Watchdog Battery Backup Systems, water should be added about 4-6 months. As the battery ages this time may be shortened. If you are adding water every few months, the battery may need replacing or your system may be overcharging the battery, and it need to be serviced.
    •   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: How long does it take to fully charge a battery after it has been used extensively? A: It depends on the size of the battery and the sump pump system that is doing the charging. The Big Dog system has a powerful 20-amp charger that will charge a discharged battery in approximately 6 hours. The chargers on the Basement Watchdog Special and Emergency systems are less powerful trickle charges, and they will take several days to recharge a battery. You could take the battery to service station for a quick charge, or hook the battery up to automotive charge if you have one. Be sure to disconnect the control unit from the battery if you are using an automotive charger. If you don't, the control unit may be damaged and the warranty voided.
    •   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: Why does my carbon monoxide detector alarm go off near the battery? A: Because a carbon monoxide detector cannot differentiate between sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Sulfur dioxide, which is emitted by the battery, is not harmful. Move the carbon monoxide detector a little further away from the battery.
    •   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: What is included in the 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.
    •   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: Where can I get a replacement fuse for my backup system? A: A replacement fuse can be purchased either directly from us or from any hardware store. The rating of the fuse is available on the back of the controller.
    •   Q: How do I silence the alarm on my system? A: On the Basement Watchdog Big Dog and Special systems hold the white button for approximately 5 seconds to silence the alarm for 24 hours. On the Basement Watchdog Emergency slide the switch, located on the front panel, to the left. Please note that not all alarms can be silenced since immediate attention is needed. Please refer to your instruction manual for details.
    •   Q: How does the dual float switch operate on the backup and combination systems? 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.
  •             TECHNICAL

    •   Q: The pump is running continuously, what do I do? A: Make sure the float switch is properly mounted with the round floats hanging below the metal bracket. Make sure the bracket is straight, not on an angle. Once the float switch is activated, it starts a timer that will run the pump about 25-60 seconds before it shuts off. This way it will empty all the water in the sump pit. The pump will not be damaged if it keeps running after all the water has been discharged from the sump.
    •   Q: No water is being pumped out of the sump pit, what's wrong? A: The first thing to check is the installation of the pump. Make sure the pump is plugged into the back of the control unit. Second, if a check valve has been used in the installation, make sure it is installed correctly. If it is upside down, no water can pass through it. Make sure the arrow on the check valve is pointing up. If you are using 2 check valves, both check valves must be installed below the "Y" connector. It is very important to check the operation of the check valve above the main pump. Finally, make sure a 1/8" hole has been drilled in the PVC pipe about 3" above the pump. (See the next tip for further info).
    •   Q: Why is the battery fluid low alarm on even after the cells are filled to the proper level? A: Be sure to add fluid to all six battery cells, and then place the sensor rod in the correct cell. Acid is only added the first time to activate the battery. Distilled water is used all other times. The sensor rod should be in the second cell from the positive (+) terminal of the battery. If it is in any other cell, it is not measuring correctly. Make sure all 2 ½" of the sensor is inserted in the pre-drilled hole in the battery cap, or in the hole in the battery case, depending on which battery you own. An arrow on the top label points to the correct location. If you are using a different brand battery, the fluid sensor must be attached to the positive (+) terminal of the battery.
    •   Q: Explain "clean battery terminals". A: Over time, corrosion forms on the terminals that connect the battery to the unit. This corrosion is common, but if it is not cleaned off, the battery will not charge properly. The Watchdog has the ability to detect this corrosion and will sound an alarm when it needs cleaning. Use a stiff wire brush or sand-paper to clean the battery terminal posts, the rings on the end of the battery cable, and the wing nuts until they are shiny. See the manual for detailed instructions and safety precautions.
    •   Q: I just placed my new battery on the system and it is alarming that the battery is low. A: Give a new battery approximately 24 hours to come to a full charge. If the battery light is still on after 24 hours please contact out service department for additional troubleshooting tips. They can be reached at 800-991-0466 option 3.