Category Archives: Sump Pumps

Backflow Prevention

Backflow is the undesirable reversal of the flow of water from its intended direction in any pipeline or plumbing system. Backflow is dangerous because it can allow drinking water in plumbing to become contaminated and unusable.

Backflow preventers are mechanical plumbing devices installed in a plumbing system to prevent water from flowing backward in the system. A properly installed, tested and maintained backflow preventer at the service entrance to a building or property can reliably prevent the backflow of water of an unknown quality from flowing back into the community water system.


In adherence to Colorado’s regulations, the Cross-Connection Control and Backflow Prevention Program protects the public water system from cross-connection contamination by requiring customers to install containment assemblies, (also known as backflow prevention assemblies or, for residential homes, dual check valves) containment devices or backflow prevention devices. Health and well-being are important and directly related to good water. The water quality is monitored closely from the time water first enters the treatment plants to the time it exits your water faucet.

A backflow preventer is installed to protect the public water supply against possible hazards in the customer’s plumbing system. The actual or potential cross connection belongs to the property owner and not to regulatory officials or to the water utility. Once the water goes beyond the meter, water quality could be altered. The water utility does not want the water back, nor do the customers want to purchase used water. If a backflow preventer is required to keep the water safe, then the person who created the cross connection (actual or potential) should purchase, install or maintain the backflow preventer.


A plumbing cross-connection is defined as any physical connection or arrangement between potable water and any source of contamination. Any pipe, valve, fixture, etc., in a water plumbing system that may allow drinking water within the system to become contaminated or questionable in quality. Cross connections can either be eliminated or protected by an air gap or mechanical backflow prevention.

Examples of cross-connections

  • In bathtubs, where the faucets may enter through the wall of the tub below the top, an overflow provided below the faucets will prevent cross connection
  • Water softeners, washing machines and dishwashers connected to a building drain without an air gap and water powered backup sump pump systems that use municipal water pressure and a venturi (a short, narrow tube between wide sections for measuring flow rate or exerting suction)to evacuate water from the building or its sump pit.
  • Garden hose cross-connections can occur when someone improperly connects a hose directly to a sewage waste pipe for any reason which have been found like this as building piping drains, water softener drains, boiler drains, etc. Cross-connection can also occur when leaving a garden hose in a position to allow waste water to flow back into the supply plumbing system, for example, leaving the hose in a pail of water. Back-flow preventers on the hose bib can prevent this from happening.
  • Water powered sump pumps can form unsanitary cross-connection between ground water or basement water leaks and the building municipal water supply piping – and thus are illegal in some plumbing jurisdictions.


A backflow preventer is a check valve installed on potable water supply piping to prevent possible contamination of the water supply system. Check valves at the right location on water system piping are a good idea and are required by national and local plumbing codes. In a home served by public or municipal water from a public water main, the home should have a backflow preventer to make sure that potentially unsanitary water from an individual home’s piping never flows backwards into the public water mains.

Private well water systems should have check valves and backflow preventers, principally to prevent loss of well pump prime and to prevent the back-flow of water out of the pressure tank into the well when the pump is not running. Check valves used on well water system piping are used to hold pressure in the system when the pump stops. Check valves on well piping also prevent backspin of the well pump, water hammer and up-thrust inside the pump. These problems can damage the well pump.

Check valves are used on sump pump drain lines to prevent back-flow of water from the sump pump exit piping into the pump pit when the sump pump turns off. They are also used on sewage pumps to prevent back-flow of sewage into the building piping or sewage pumping chamber from a sewer main (or septic tank) located higher than the building.

In order to have your backflow devices inspected, tested or repaired you can go to your local town or city’s website to find out more information and to find a certified Cross-Connection Control technician recognized by the State of Colorado.

Call Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air if you would like to schedule an installation or replacement of a backflow preventer. We have trained technicians and service the Northern Colorado area including Loveland, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Longmont, Johnstown, Greeley, Evans and Estes Park.


If you live in a building constructed according to federal laws, your house will already have a sump pump at the lowest point of the basement for water to collect. The sump is meant to hold a sump pump, which will drain out water from your basement to an acceptable external drainage.

Here are some reasons why you should have a sump pump installed in your basement and what could happen if water is not removed from your basement.

  • Loosening of plaster and breakage of paint, leading to unsightly cracks developing in the walls.
  • Constant damp conditions in the walls and floor of the house in conducive to development of algae and fungi, causing unhygienic conditions.
  • Damp walls also reduce the temperature of the room, and this may be problematic if you’re susceptible to fever, cold and coughs.
  • The water in the basement can weaken building foundations.
  • The damp in the walls can cause non-protected metallic pipe, wiring and rods to rust, thereby increasing chances of leaks, etc.
  • In case of heavy rains and storms, the sump may overflow and the basement may be flooded, thereby making the basement unusable for months.

If you purchase a sump pump for your home it is unlikely that you will regret spending the money since sump pumps are economical and can last anywhere between 5 to 20 years. It is better to invest in a sump pump  rather than spend a fortune fixing your basement or your house after stagnant water has flooded and/or weakened it.

Components of a Sump Pump  
  • A centrifugal motor is usually used in sump pumps. Most commercial sump pumps have between ¼ to 1HP, which makes them capable of handling even the worst flooding and water pressure without difficulty.
  • An impeller is a fan-like structure that is attached to the bottom of the motor assembly (most modern sump pumps come pre-attached). It rotates to create a centrifugal force that produces a low pressure region at the mouth of the discharge, thereby funneling the water into it and out through the discharge pipe.
  • Discharge refers to a cylindrical tube which is open at both ends. Discharges can be conical at one end, and cylindrical at the other. They help funnel the water into the discharge pipe, which in turn takes the water out of the sump.
  • The discharge pipe may be a simple garden hose, a copper pipe or a PVC pipe, but normally preference is given to the PVC pipes due to their sturdiness and freedom from corrosion.
  • Switches are many types, but the most common is the float switch. Comprising of a plastic float attached by a thin shaft to the switch, the float acts as the trigger for the switch. When the water pushes the float up, the switch turns the motor on and the sump pump begins to remove the water.
  • The check valve is placed in the discharge and (optionally) in the water inlet, in case the sump pump be a water-powered one. Once water has been pushed out and the motor stops, some water remains in the pipes and this can flow back into the pump, causing it to short-cycle and malfunction. The check valve blocks the return of water into the motor, and therefore keeps it safe.

Like every industry, the sump pump industry is evolving fast, and new products are coming up each year. However, it is not necessary that every product will have to be a new. Sometimes companies come out with improved versions of old products that have a good reputation in the market, and these prove to be better than the latest offerings.

At Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air, we recommend going with the Zoeller M53. This is a great product that offers quiet operation and is energy efficient. To find out more or to schedule an appointment, call us today at 970-667-0300. We offer 24-hour emergency service in the Northern Colorado area including Loveland, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Longmont, Greeley, Johnstown and Estes Park.


Spring is here and the coming rains need to be pumped out of the basement as fast as it enters. The reliability of a good pump is necessary. At Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air, we recommend the Zoeller® model 53. This is a great product that will give you comfort during the middle of a spring rain storm as water flows to the side of your home’s foundation, then straight down into the drain tiles along the walls. The natural buffer created when the soil absorbs the water will not be there, so your sump pump system will be put to the test.


  • Quiet operation
  • Cast iron switch case, motor and pump housing
  • Engineered thermoplastic base
  • Everything is pressure tested after assembly
  • Permanently lubricated motor and bearing
  • Overload protected against motor burn out
  • It has a non-clogging vortex impeller; a float operated switch that can be easily replaced
  • A 1-1/2″ NPT discharge allowing 43 gallons of water at a 5′ head
  • 1/2″ solids can pass through the system and can be used to pump septic tank effluent
  • Designed for pumping water up to 130°F – 54°C
  • Energy efficient
  • Residential and commercial use
  • Corrosion resistant powder coated epoxy paint.

This pump does not have sheet metal parts to rust or corrode and no screens to clog. Zoeller® offers a 3 year warranty and as they say, “Your peace of mind is our top priority”.

Floods don’t only happen in the spring, they can happen anytime, so make sure you and your home are prepared. To learn more, call Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air at 970-667-0300 today.

zoeller m53

The Importance Of A Backup Sump Pump From Plumbing Services In Fort Collins

Even with a sump pump installed, your basement may still occasionally flood, especially in the winter months. In such an event, you need a backup sump pump system. These occur when thunderstorms cause power failure in your home. To prepare for such emergencies, your plumbing services in Fort Collins can install a backup sump pump system that works independently with its own power supply. Sump pumps fail for a number of reasons. The most common among them are:

  • A frozen or clogged discharge pipe
  • Power failure
  • A tripped circuit breaker
  • A blown fuse
  • Damaged power feed line
  • Float switch problem (stuck or broken)
  • Pump may be broken or become unplugged
  • Too much water leaking into the basement
  • A clogged intake

In instances where the primary sump pump isn’t working, you will need to depend on the backup system. That usually happens during a power failure or the pump itself is damaged. The risk of having a flooded basement is always a threat without a backup in place. The backup is easily installed almost anywhere in the basement since it gets its power from a 12 volt battery. Some models can pump for eight straight hours at full speed while you repair your primary sump pump. Most flooded basements are not covered under your homeowner’s policy and that isn’t a risk you should take.Give yourself peace of mind and protect your belongings. With our quality service and installation in Fort Collins, you won’t be disappointed. We take pride in our work.