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More Water Restrictions – Another Case Against Water Powered Sump Pumps

With Summer officially here, watering restrictions are becoming more commonplace. “Local villages have instituted watering restrictions due to the high temperatures and dry conditions expected this weekend and into next week.” was the opening sentence in the Lincolnshire review, covering Lincolnshire Illinois and surrounding communities.

We take water for granted, as it’s always right there at the nearest faucet, but stories like this make us think. Add in that the National Resources Defense Council says over 1/3rd of the counties in the United States will be suffering from water shortages by 2050, this type of reporting will be the norm on a widespread basis and at all times of the year.

Taking shorter showers, turning the water off when you brush your teeth and making sure the dishwasher is full before running it are some of the easy steps we all can take to reduce water consumption. And when it comes time to upgrade plumbing fixtures in the home look for products with the WaterSense label and make sure you don’t install a water powered sump pump, use a qualified battery backup sump pump instead.

 

 

 

The two issue’s with water powered sump pumps are:

1.  The irresponsible waste of water

2.  The possible contamination issue that could present a health issue for families

We’re happy to see towns such as Bloomington, Illinois call out water-powered sump pumps for water conservation, we’re also happy to see states such as Ohio, that have also called-out water powered sump pumps and are recognizing the potential dangers and are now requiring specific code for water-powered sump pumps. This is taken directly from the Ohio plumbing code:

First a definition of “Contamination:”

CONTAMINATION. An impairment of the quality of the potable water that creates an actual hazard to the public health through poisoning or through the spread of disease by sewage, industrial fluids or waste.

Then the water powered sump pump code:

608.12 Pumps and other appliances. Water pumps, water-powered sump pumps, filters, softeners, tanks and all other devices that handle or treat potable water shall be protected against contamination.

Resulting in this type of backflow device

608.13.2 Reduced pressure principle backflow preventers. Reduced pressure principle backflow preventers shall conform to ASSE 1013, AWWA C511, CAN/CSA B64.4 or CSA B64.4.1. Reduced pressure detector assembly
backflow preventers shall conform to ASSE 1047. These devices shall be permitted to be installed where subject to continuous pressure conditions. The relief opening shall discharge by air gap and shall be prevented from being
submerged.

Which the definition is this:

REDUCED PRESSURE PRINCIPLE BACKFLOW PREVENTER. A backflow prevention device consisting of two independently acting check valves, internally force-loaded to a normally closed position and separated by an intermediate chamber (or zone) in which there is an automatic relief means of venting to the atmosphere, internally loaded to a normally open position between two tightly closing shutoff valves and with a means for testing for tightness of the checks and opening of the relief means.

What does all this mean?

This means you have to have a professional plumber install this device which is expensive to install (+$200) plus requires a third party to check its operation every year.

Why go through the hassles of all of this when you can help protect the environment and protect the health of your family with a battery backup sump pump. Most manufacturers of water powered sump pumps, ALSO make battery backup sump pumps. Choose one of those over a water powered sump pump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great article in the February issue of  “Plumbing and Mechanical” concerning water conservation.  Highlights include:

  • Water conservation is moving from trend to mandate
  • Water conservation efforts will move from common plumbing products (faucets, toilets, shower heads etc…) to a new range of applications that need to be addressed
  • The plumbing professional has an important role in communicating the importance of water-saving applications

We love that line “Water conservation moves from trend to mandate.”  Water conservation is not a fad, its a real issue. Part of the challenge in educating the public with this message, is that water is easily taken for granted. Turn the faucet on and it’s there. However, a recent government survey showed at least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013. 2013!

That’s why we believe water powered sump pumps should not be used as a backup sump pump. Using fresh drinking water to pump out sump pit water just doesn’t make sense in an age when water conservation is so important. If water conservation wasn’t so important, why the mass movement toward water efficient plumbing products? And as this article states, the plumbing industry will start to expand its reach to begin making water-efficient products other than common household products. That’s why you should think twice about installing a water wasting, water powered or water driven sump pump.

Choose a reliable battery backup unit instead, they’re more powerful than a water powered sump pump,  they’re reliable and they conserve water.

To read the entire article “Blue is the New Green” please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Just read this article and wanted to pass it along. In a recent Yahoo! Real Estate survey of current and aspiring homeowners, the so-called American dream home “Isn’t a supersized McMansion – it is a ‘green,’ energy-efficient home built with ‘sustainable’ materials that yield a lower carbon footprint. Or, more often, it is a home remodeled with energy-efficient appliances and eco-friendly home products.”

The survey found, at at the top of the list, 50% of people consider green/energy efficient appliances/materials as a requirement of their dream home – it is more popular than perennial favorites such as “building a custom home” (38%); “water views” (38%) and “mountain views” (32%);

The article goes on to say many eco-conscious homeowners , rather than build or buy new homes, “seek to lower their carbon footprint by purchasing more energy efficient appliances or making other home modifications that may include the addition of solar panels to offset other energy costs.”

As you can see being more aware of the environment is becoming more and more important to a broader range of people. That’s why we believe so strongly in raising the issue about water powered sump pumps. A product that uses FRESH DRINKING WATER in a wasteful manner is not green. Water powered sump pumps are irresponsible when there are viable alternatives. We’ve said this before, when shopping for a device to keep your basement dry, most manufacturers of water powered or water driven sump pumps also make battery backup sumps as well, which are more powerful , easier to install AND promote water conservation.  Help yourself and the environment and stay away from water powered sump pumps.

For the complete article click here:

 

 

 

We get alot of questions as to “what’s the big deal with these pumps?” So here’s a 3 main points to consider when thinking about installing a water powered sump pump.

1.  Waste of fresh water.  Depending on efficiency, lift and city water pressure, most water-powered sump pumps draw up to 600 gallons of fresh drinking water per hour. Based on a conservative estimate of 300,000 water-powered sump pumps in the U.S., if on average each one wastes 2,400 gallons per year,  (based on two, four hour power outages a year where the pump is only activated half that time = 4 hours x 600 gallons per pump, equals 2,400 gallons per year), that equals 720,000 million gallons of water wasted: 720 million gallons of fresh drinking water – please tell us how a device like this is a responsible product in these times?

2. Potential Health Hazard. Water-powered sump pumps connect directly to the fresh drinking water supply line to the building, in some circumstances, the owner may connect the pump with a rubber garden hose to a nearby faucet.  Since all water-powered pumps must be connected directly to the water supply, they must have backflow protection – unfortunately, many are installed without this. In times of heavy demand, when there’s a low-pressure situation, contaminated water may be sucked back into the fresh water drinking supply, causing a health risk.

3. Strain on public resources. A water powered sump pump is most likely to be engaged during a power outage in a rain storm. This is when municipality’s reserves are most valuable. These pumps running could cause unnecessary strain and force public water systems to fall below minimum storage levels. This endangers city resources such as fire protection and public safety.  This could prevent the fire department from fighting a fire from a lightning strike that caused all of this in the first place, and there’s no way to turn these off because they come on automatically.

Please think twice about installing one of these wasteful pumps. The environment, your family and your community is counting on you.