It has always been the advice of any basement pump expert that a ground or surface water pump station should have a battery backup installed, to ensure that water can be effectively evacuated from the station in the event of a mains failure, whether that is a traditional widespread grid power cut or a local power cut within a property.
Why do I need a battery backup?
The reason we advise battery backups on ground and surface water pump stations is that these pump stations are deemed to have uncontrollable water ingress. This means that as the homeowner you have no ability to slow the potential ingress of water to the chamber or stop it completely, as opposed to foul applications where the facilities can simply stop being used to ensure the pump station’s level doesn’t increase.
If you were to experience a power cut of any sort that completely took power away from the ground or surface water pumps, at this point the pump station would have no way to evacuate the water from the chamber, the only option being the classic bucket! 🪣
Battery backups mitigate this concern as they allow the pumps to remain operational even without power. Most battery backups will provide battery power automatically when they detect that the mains voltage has dropped, meaning that you don’t have to do anything in the event of a mains failure and can have a full assurance that your pump station is still running as expected.
A recent change to the British Standard Code of Practice for Protection of Structures Against Water Ingress (BS 8102:2022) says that all new build basements must have a battery backup installed where uncontrollable water ingress is at hand. The standard also strongly advises that already completed basements have a battery backup retrofitted to provide protection in the event of a mains failure.
Why is BS 8102:2022 relevant to you?
British Standards should be adhered to by all contractors when building and waterproofing any structure. These standards can be looked at by insurance providers/loss adjusters when deciding to grant a claim in the event of damage to a structure. It is best to ensure that the structure has all the required elements of the British Standard to ensure you are well protected in the event of an emergency.
Winter and uncontrollable water ingress
Ground and surface water pump stations are both susceptible to weather. Simply put, the more rain we experience the wetter the ground, light wells and hard surfaces become, meaning more water being directed into the pump stations. In the summertime, especially during dry spells like we had this year, ground and surface water pump stations can take longer to fill up and in general precipitation is far less, this doesn’t mean that battery backups are not required in the summer but it does mean that water ingress should be reduced.
In the winter we experience a large amount of rain and melting frost as well as the ground already being wet, allowing more water to make its way to the pump stations. In many cases, this means that the pump station could be running more frequently which in turn means that a power failure could lead to an emergency faster. A battery backup mitigates this risk allowing you to be sure that no matter what the weather, providing you have regular services and have a high quality battery backup installed, your pump station will be running just as it should (whatever the weather – pardon the pun).
But Winter 2022 could bring more than just bad weather… the National Grid has said, although unlikely, there could be planned blackouts this year, otherwise known as rotational power shedding, due to the energy crisis and the need to keep the grid balanced*. That’s not too much to worry about when it comes to cooking, showering and other daily tasks, as we can ensure that they are carried out before the scheduled outages. Unfortunately ground and surface water pumps don’t keep to our schedules and when they need to run, they need to run! Even more, a reason to have a battery backup installed on your pump station.
*Information collated from Evening Standard article: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-winter-energy-national-grid-gas-blackouts-power-cuts-b1017840.html
How to get a battery backup
If you don’t already have a battery backup system on your pump station Paragon Pump Servicing is available for a free of charge survey, to access your requirements and best advise on the system to use.