PROTECT YOUR HOME from unwanted water
with Basement Watchdog Battery Backup
Sump Pumps and Primary Sump Pumps!
Frequently Asked Questions about Basement Watchdog Battery Backup Sump Pumps
- Q: Why does a Basement Watchdog provide more protection then 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 needed, or when a problem arises. All systems also include the fluid sensor that is used to monitor the battery fluid level.
- Q: Who needs a battery backup sump pump?
A: Anyone who has an AC sump pump. 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: Once installed, what do you need to do?
A: The system will alarm and let you know if there any actions, if any, need to be taken. Basement Watchdog systems will begin pumping automatically, as soon as water in the sump reaches the Watchdog float switch, even if the power is on. It also charges the battery automatically. Look over the Maintenance Checklist on tips to maintain and extend the life of your Watchdog battery.
- Q: What are the differences between the three watchdog systems?
A: They differ in pumping capacity, charger strength, monitoring features and price. See the chart below for feature comparisons. Also see our complete Comparison Chart.
||Gallons per hour (GPH)
@ 0-ft. height
|Gallons per hour (GPH)
@ 10-ft. height
|Basement Watchdog 7.5 Hour
|Continuous run time
|Intermittent run time*
|Continuous run time on
|Intermittent run time*
|Charger strength (the higher the AMPS, the faster is will charge the battery)
|Switches automatically to battery power when AC power fails
|Pumps automatically when water volume exceeds the capacity of the main
|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
|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.
- Q: Can the Watchdog systems be used as the only sump pump in the pit?
A: The Basement Watchdog AC/DC Big Dog could be used as the only pump. However, it is recommended that all Watchdog systems be used as backups to provide complete redundancy to the main sump pump. In this configuration, if the main sump pump fails, there is a second pump in the pit ready to take over.
- Q: What does AC/DC mean?
A: All Watchdog systems will switch to DC battery power when the AC power is out, or when the main pump fails. But if the power is on, the AC/DC Big Dog can pump directly off of the AC wall current without depleting the battery. The other systems will only pump off of battery power.
- 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.
- Q: What is included in the systems?
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.
Frequently Asked Questions about Basement Watchdog
Battery Backup Sump Pumps - Installation
- Q: The pump runs continuously, what do I do?
A: Make sure the float switch is properly mounted with the round float 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 40-60 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, whatís 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 valve is pointing up. If you are using 2
check valves, both check valves must be installed below the "Y" connector. Check the
operation of the check valve on 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 drill the 1/8" hole in the PVC pipe?
A: The purpose of the 1/8" hole is to prevent the pump from becoming 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.
- Q: Can I connect two batteries together?
A: Only if they are used on the Basement Watchdog Big Dog system. To do this, the two batteries need to be hooked
up in parallel (+) to (+) and (-) to (-). A special cable can be ordered directly from the manufacturer by calling
Glentronics at 800-991-0466 option 3. We also recommend using batteries that are the same size and age.
- 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, a very important feature for maintaining
battery performance. They are constructed to provide longer pumping times than most other batteries, and to last
longer in a standby mode…usually 5 to 7 years.
- Q: What do I use the yellow cap for?
A: The yellow cap is used with Basement Watchdog batteries to accommodate the fluid sensor. It is to be placed in the
second cell from the positive post. ***Please note that some Basement Watchdog batteries have only 2 long 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.
If you have misplaced your yellow cap please call Glentronics at 800-991-0466, option 3 for a free replacement.
- 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 2½ inches 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.
- 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: 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 it 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 needs to be serviced.
- Q: How long does it take to fully charge a battery after is 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 chargers, and they will take several
days to recharge a battery. You could take the battery to a service station for a quicker charge, or hook the battery
up to an automotive charger 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: 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 our service department for additional troubleshooting tips. They can be reached at 800-991-0466
- 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: Where do I find the serial number?
A: The serial number labels are located on the back of the control units (the boxes with all the lights), not on the pump.
Basement Watchdog A/C-D/C system
The serial number is on the back of
the blue control unit.
Basement Watchdog Special System
The serial number is on the back of the black
control unit on the top of the battery box.
Basement Watchdog Emergency System
The serial number is on the back of the
yellow control unit.
- 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
- Q: Does my warranty start from the date of purchase or the date of installation?
A: The warranty on all Basement Watchdog products begins at the date of purchase.
- Q: Where can I get help?
A: Customer Service: 800-991-0466