If your home has a sump pump, a backup pump is something you should have for those times when your primary pump fails. Failure can occur due to a bad component, or the unit can stop working when you have a power outage. A water-powered backup sump pump like the Liberty SJ10 is a small investment to make right now that can save you from water damage down the road.
Water-Powered Sump Pumps vs Battery Backup Sump Pump Systems
Water-powered backup sump pump systems like the SumpJet model SJ10 may be ideal for you rather than relying on a battery backup pump. If you’re on well water, however, the water-powered unit won’t work since your well pump won’t function during an outage.
If you’re on municipal water then a water-powered backup sump pump is a good option for you. They offer some key advantages over the battery backups.
Battery backup sump pumps have a limitation on how long they can run. And in the event of a power outage, you have enough stuff going on to be concerned about without counting the hours and checking on your battery’s charge status. Many areas have power outages that last longer than the charge on a backup pump on a somewhat regular basis. (The time the charge will last varies depending on the battery quality and how hard the unit is working/how much water it’s pumping.) Personally, I like not having to think about charge time during these situations.
You can buy yourself more pump time by keeping a fully charged spare battery on hand, but then you do have to monitor that extra battery to make sure it’s ready to go when needed.
With this water-powered backup sump pump you’ll have unlimited pumping power as long as your city water is flowing and your psi is within the parameters for this SumpJet unit to function. (20 – 100 psi)
Battery backup pumps come with the expense of buying a quality battery and replacing it every so often when it’s reached its lifespan. That could be 5 years, so it’s really not too often, but it’s something you won’t have to deal with at all when you have a water-powered backup.
A downside of the water-powered pumps is that they do use a lot of water to do their job. As a rule of thumb you can expect the pump to use one gallon of water for every two gallons that it pumps. If your area has higher water costs this can be a noticeable extra expense on your bill.
However, compared to the cost of damage, ruined belongings, and insurance deductibles, it’s safe to say that this expense is well worth it. Still, you may want to consider this point if your area has expensive city water.
Liberty SJ10 SumpJet Water-Powered Backup Sump Pump
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The SumpJet SJ10 is one of the highest-rated backup sump pumps on the market that run on water power. The unit has a 4.3 rating out of 5 stars on Amazon as of this writing, with one review with what seems like a fluke situation bringing the rating down. (The customer said that the one they receive was missing parts and had a damaged box. I would venture a guess that this was from a third-party seller. Unsolicited free advice, friends: buy from a seller with good ratings.)
1 1/2 inch discharge
3/4 inch inlet
Minimum 20 psi from municipal water
Maximum 100 psi
Slim design makes it easy to fit into your sump pit next to your primary
Built-in check valve at water inlet
Here’s a list of the water removal capacity specs of the Liberty SJ10:
(With static head in 1 1/2 inch pipe or larger.)
At 20 psi and 4 feet of lift – 660 Gallons per Hour
At 20 psi and 8 feet of lift – 348 Gallons per Hour
At 30 psi and 4 feet of lift – 765 Gallons Per Hour
At 30 psi and 8 feet of lift – 540 Gallons Per Hour
At 30 psi and 12 feet of lift – 330 Gallons Per Hour
At 40 psi and 4 feet of lift – 924 Gallons Per Hour
At 40 psi and 8 feet of lift – 750 Gallons Per Hour
At 40 psi and 12 feet of lift – 558 Gallons Per Hour
At 40 psi and 15 feet of lift – 432 Gallons Per Hour
At 50 psi and 4 feet of lift – 1032 Gallons Per Hour
At 50 psi and 8 feet of lift – 870 Gallons Per Hour
At 50 psi and 12 feet of lift – 720 Gallons Per Hour
At 50 psi and 15 feet of lift – 600 Gallons Per Hour
At 60 psi and 4 feet of lift – 1185 Gallons Per Hour
At 60 psi and 8 feet of lift – 1020 Gallons Per Hour
At 60 psi and 12 feet of lift – 912 Gallons Per Hour
At 60 psi and 15 feet of lift – 810 Gallons Per Hour
The SJ10 unit comes assembled right out of the box, needs no electricity, and since it operates mostly on the principles of physics there are not many parts or components that can fail over time.
You can check out the Venturi effect if you want to see more about how these pumps work. Basically it has to do with water flowing through a constriction or choke point, which increases flow velocity and decreases pressure. This effect is what will cause the water to be sucked out of the sump crock and into the discharge where it can exit your home somewhere safely outside.
Alternatives to Consider
There aren’t really any other superior models I would direct you toward except the upgraded versions of this same unit.
Here are two options:
Liberty Pumps SJ10A 1-1/2-Inch Discharge SumpJet Water Powered Back-Up Pump with Alarm
This is the same model but it includes the alarm. It alerts you with an audible and visual alert when the backup starts working. The alarm system does need to be plugged in but it does have a battery backup. It’s a little bit of a jump up in price but it’s a really valuable add-on to have the alarm. Your backup sump pump turning on is the kind of thing you need to know.
Liberty Pumps SJ10A-EYE StormCell 442-Series SumpJet Water Powered Back-Up Sump Pump with NightEye Wireless Alarm
Now this one is substantially more expensive than the base model but look at what you get — the NightEye system. It sends you alerts about your system right to your smartphone. So even if you’re away from home you’ll know exactly when your backup system has been activated. It can even notify your plumber directly if there’s an issue going on. (There’s more info about the NightEye and its setup right here.)
Liberty SJ10 Final Thoughts
Water-powered backup sump pump systems are a great idea if you’re on municipal water. Not having to worry at all about how much time you have left before a battery gives up on you, that’s just a huge advantage with these water driven pumps. So if you’re on municipal water, not well water, this is probably the ideal solution.
If you’re thinking about switching from a battery-powered backup, just think about how nice it will be to take the battery life concern out of the equation. This Liberty pump is one of the go-to models in the industry. It’s reliable and it just does its job consistently without any malfunctions or drama. And this is exactly what you want in a backup sump pump.
Photo by Photographing Travis