Watchdog Sump Pump Troubleshooting

Watchdog Sump Pump Troubleshooting

This is a complete guide on Watchdog Sump Pump Troubleshooting, where I am going to talk about common issues: 

  • Battery fluid is low
  • Battery problem
  • Power failure
  • Pump failure
  • Pump Was Activated
  • DC Fuse Gets Blown Out
  • Water Won’t Leave The Pit
  • The system Doesn’t Operate After Installation

Note: This guide will be helpful for you if you have a battery backup system from Basement Watchdog. If you own a Basement Watchdog Primary Pump, check out this pdf to solve a specific problem.  

Table of Contents

Watchdog Sump Pump Troubleshooting [7+ Problems & Solutions]

From this chapter, you will learn about seven common problems of the Basement Watchdog battery backup sump pump & their solutions.  

Battery Fluid Is Low

Each cell of the battery should be full of distilled water. If the battery cell is empty or half-empty, the backup sump pump system won’t work as intended. 

Besides, the controller box will indicate low battery fluid if you or your plumber install the fluid sensor improperly.  

Nonetheless, the battery fluid low indicator will flash if you don’t use a Basement Watchdog Battery. 

How To Fix: 

First off, inspect all the cells of the battery and ensure there is about a quarter inch of water from the ledge. 

To check the water level, you need to take the battery cover off and unscrew the cell cap. 

Then, look at the ledge of the battery by lighting a torch. 

As mentioned, the water level should be about a quarter inch from the ledge. If needed, add distilled water. You can use a pouring nozzle to fill the battery cell. 

I recommend you start the task (adding distilled water) from the left and work your way to the right. 

Safety tips: Don’t forget to wear safety gloves and glasses before opening the cell cap or pouring anything, as there is battery acid. 

Once you add distilled water to each cell, put the sensor rod in and ensure you reconnect every wire. 

If the fluid level is ok, you need to inspect the fluid sensor rod next. It’s the component that monitors the water level of the battery. If you or your plumber install it into an incorrect battery cell, it could send a wrong signal to the controller. 

You should insert the fluid sensor rod into the second cell. If placing the fluid sensor rod into a correct cell can’t bring luck, I think the sensor rod itself is at fault. In this case, replacing that sensor will be a simple fix. 

And last but not least, using a non-Watchdog Battery can also cause the controller to flash the Battery led. So, ensure you power up your Backup Sump Pump with a Watchdog battery. 

Battery Problem

It’s (battery) the powerhouse of a backup sump pump. The unit won’t get enough power to move water without a battery. In the worst case, the sump pump won’t come on. 

Some culprits that cause the battery to malfunction are: 

  • Terminals get corroded
  • Cables are loose 
  • Battery is discharged below 25%
  • An old or defective battery 

How To Fix:

To begin with, check the battery terminals for corrosion. 

If needed, clean the terminals. In this case, coat the terminals and other affected areas, like cables, with baking soda. Don’t forget to pour a bit of water on each terminal. Then, use a steel wire brush to scrub the battery terminals to remove corrosion. 

In addition, inspect the cables for tightness. Tighten the wing nuts as much as possible to prevent the cables from coming loose. 

Moreover, it will bring problems to the battery when the charge of the battery goes below 25%. Generally, there remains only 1 hour of continuous pumping power. When the battery is discharged below 25%, recharge the battery by restoring the power. 

And last but not least, replace the battery if it’s old or not getting recharged. 

Power Failure

It’s not a sump pump problem by root. Instead, it’s a problem with electricity. Generally, you can’t operate your WatchDog Battery Backup Sump Pump if there have power failure-related issues, including: 

  • Power outage
  • A failed outlet, fuse, or circuit breaker
  • Power cord is unplugged from the electric outlet
  • The charger is receiving less than 110 volts 

How To Fix: 

For the problem with power outage, you don’t need to take any corrective actions. What you can do in extra is- press & hold down the reset button to make the alarm silent for 24 hours.  

Secondly, a faulty outlet will prevent the sump pump from powering on. Try another outlet to verify the system is working correctly. Don’t hesitate to replace the fuse if it gets blown out. 

Turns out, reset the circuit breaker if it’s tripped. 

Thirdly, ensure you plug the power cord into the electric outlet. 

Finally, the charger will receive less than 110 volts from the outlet if you power up multiple appliances using the same outlet. To resolve this issue, reduce the number of appliances on the circuit or use a dedicated outlet for the charger. 

Pump Failure

Your backup sump pump will not move a single drop of water if the backup pump is unplugged, it gets clogged, or the system gets broken. 

How To Fix: 

First, ensure you plug the system’s power cord into an electric outlet. 

Next, inspect the sump pump for a blockage. In this case, remove the strainer from the base of the sump pump and clean the debris.  

And lastly, don’t hesitate to replace the backup sump pump if it gets broken. 

Pump Was Activated

The sources of this sump pump issue could be: 

  • The main AC pump has failed because of a power outage
  • Float switch on the main pump gets stuck or broken 
  • Main AC pump gets broken
  • The Main AC pump fails to keep up with the in flow of water 
  • Check valve gets stuck or you may improperly install it 
  • Discharge pipe gets frozen or broken 
  • Float switch gets wrapped around the AC power cord

How To Fix: 

  • As I mentioned above, you don’t need to do anything if the main AC pump goes off due to a power outage.  
  • Remove the float sensor and clean debris that gets stuck in it. In short, free up the float sensor on the main pump or replace it if needed. 
  • Replace the main AC pump with a new one
  • Install a higher-capacity main AC pump if this is a recurring problem. 
  • Ensure you install the check valve correctly. If it gets clogged, clean it by removing dirt & debris. 
  • Clear out any blockage from the discharge pipe. If needed, replace it with a new one. 
  • Keep the float switch cord from the AC power cord. 

DC Fuse Gets Blown Out

Usually, the DC fuse of your battery backup sump pump gets tripped due to one of the following reasons: 

  • A clogged pump
  • Exposed power wires
  • Broken pump 

How To Fix: 

Start by inspecting the strainer of the sump pump. 

To do so, remove the screws that hold the strainer in place and take it out of its place. Then, clean the strainer by releasing dirt & debris. 

Of course, you must replace the 20-amp DC fuse after cleaning the pump strainer.

Replacing the sump pump is a must for a broken pump or exposed power wires. 

Water Won’t Leave The Pit

It occurs because of these reasons: 

  • Check valve is missing
  • Broken or improperly installed check valve
  • Clogged discharge pipe
  • There is an air lock in the system 

How To Fix: 

If you connect the backup system to the primary discharge pipe, verify that you place the check valve on both the main and backup pipes below the tie-in point. 

Next, take a look at the check valve and ensure it’s working & installed correctly. 

Turns out, a blockage in the discharge pipe could cause the water not to leave the sump pit. To resolve this issue, clean the obstructions from the discharge pipe. 

In the case of an air lock system, what you need to do: 

Verify the ⅛” weep hole is drilled in the discharge pipe below the check valve, but above the water line. Also, ensure it’s free of debris. 

System Doesn’t Operate After Installation

If you connect the battery cables backwards, the sump pump won’t operate even though you install the system correctly. 

How To Fix: 

Reverse the battery connection and you are done! Connect the black cable to the Positive post and the white one to the Negative post. Then, tighten up the wing nuts. 

How To Reset Watchdog Sump Pump?

Resetting a Watchdog Sump Pump is not rocket science. Unplug the system from the power and leave it for 30 seconds. Then, plug the power cord of your sump pump into the power outlet, which will reset the unit automatically. 

Alternatively, detach the system from the outlet and battery terminals.

You can press the reset button of the sump pump controller to silence the pumping alarm. 

Read Also:


From the start to the end, I broke down every problem of the Watchdog Battery Backup Sump Pump. 

Follow the troubleshooting instructions I mentioned and resolve the issues. 

If the listed solutions fail to resolve the problem, call a professional plumber or contact customer service at 800-991-0466.

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