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I just moved to a house that supposedly has a backup sump pump that is backed by tap water. We’re currently in a power outage. I’ve never had a sump pump before.

How do I know it’s time to turn on the backup?

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    Do you know where your current sump pump is? If you have a sump well in the basement, you should turn it on when the sump well is full. If your basement is bone dry, you might not need to turn it on at all. – IronEagle Jul 21 '18 at 0:02
  • To be clear: do you have 1 electric sump pump and 1 water-powered sump pump? – Spencer Joplin Jul 21 '18 at 3:17
  • you might want to run it when you don't have a problem, so as to get an idea of how much wastewater it emits while pumping nothing. After that, you can see if it "needs it" by running a little a seeing how much comes out. – dandavis Jul 23 '18 at 16:42
  • When you said that there is a water pump that is backed up by tap water are you speaking of a battery powered pump or an ejector pump that is powered by tap water through a venturi to pump water? If it is a venturi type pump, those are usually done manually by adjusting a water valve. – d.george Jul 27 '18 at 12:30
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Normally each pump has its own float switch . They are set to increasing water depths so each one comes on independently at successively higher water levels in the sump . So the first pump comes on at depth X. The second at X + 3", the third at X + 6" , etc. ( A neighbor had 4 pumps in his sump.).I suggest the final pump to switch on should be battery powered or ( I guess) a jet pump powered by water as you have. Must admit I have never seen a jet sump pump. In other words it seems to defeat the purpose of a "backup" pump if you have to be there to turn it on.

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