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Basement Watchdog DFK-961 - 1/3 HP Combination Primary and Backup Sump Pump System

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Basement Watchdog Sump Pumps and Accessories
Model: DFK-961
(Based on expert analysis, manufacturer ratings and customer reviews)
4.1 out of 54.1 out of 54.1 out of 54.1 out of 54.1 out of 5
20 Reviews
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  • Features
  • Specs
  • 11
    Q&A 
  • 20
    Reviews
  • Articles
  • Shipping
  • Accessories
Style
Combo Sumps Pumps
GPH
3600
Gallons
Switch Type
Vertical Float Switch
Protect Your Basement from Flooding
Provides both primary and backup pumping capabilities
Primary pump will operate as long as it is receiving A/C power
A/C fails or excessive water into sump than pump can handle
The backup sump pump will begin pumping automatically

Exclusive Monitoring System
Sounds alarm and flashes during failure or required maintenance

Combination System includes:
1/3 HP (BW1033) AC pump (2600 GPH @ 10')
BW Emergency (BWE) Battery Backup System (1000 GPH @ 10')
BATTERY SOLD SEPARATELY

Dual Float Switch
Both pumps have two redundant floats on each switch
If one float fails to operate, the second float takes over

Detailed installation instructions complete with pictures
Already assembled for easy installation
Compact footprint fits in any size sump pit
Overall dimensions - 10”W x 17-3/4” H


Base
Min Sump Basin Size
10 Inch
Motor
Battery Included
No
Thermal Protection
Yes
Oil Free Motor
Yes
Engine
Horsepower
.33 hp
Pump
Housing Material
Cast Iron
Handles Solids
No
Float Type
Vertical Float
GPH @ 0 feet
3600
GPH @ 10 feet
2600
Backup GPH @ 10 feet
1000
Discharge Port Size
1-1/2 Inch
Built-in check Valve
Yes
Manual Override
No
Overview
Consumer Warranty
2 Years
UPC
717301121821
Model
DFK-961
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  11 Questions
Q: Can you recommend an ACpowered sump pump with battery backup that would fit into a 14 deep x 12 diameter well? My current sump pump is a Ridgid Model SP500 12 hp, 60 hz, 120 volt, 3.8 amp.
Thanks.
Rick

by Rick G from Oregon on August 25, 2013

A: Thank you for your interest in Sump Pumps Direct. The Basement Watchdog 1/2 HP Combination Primary and Backup Sump Pump, model BW4000 will fit in a sump pit as small as 12” wide and 14” high (the size of a 5 gallon bucket). It measures 18“ inches from the bottom of the pump to the top of the "Y" connector where it will be attached to the discharge pipe.
The Basement Watchdog 1/3 HP Combination Primary and Backup Sump Pump System, model DFK-961 will fit in a sump pit as small as 10” wide and 14” high (the size of a 5 gallon bucket). It measures 17-3/4“ inches from the bottom of the pump to the top of the "Y" connector where it will be attached to the discharge pipe.
by Jim, Product Expert
Q: If the 120 v pump can't keep up it sounds as if the battery backup pump will kick in---but the units share a common pipe so how can you add water /flow to an already maxed out pipe?? Would this not just increase head pressure on the battery pump causing it to work even harder????
by Mark F from Wisconsin on April 10, 2013

A: Thank you for visiting Sump Pumps Direct. You bring up a very good and important point, Mark! Most primary (1/4HP - 1/2HP) and battery backup pumps discharge to a 1-1/2" discharge pipe and will be installed separately but due to the discharge system already in place, be piped or "Y'd" together. In MOST cases, the total pumping capacity by both pumps at the same time will be handled by that 1-1/2" discharge pipe and will not cause any extra stress or back-pressure on those pumps. That being said, for optimum performance of both pumps, they should be connected to separate discharge pipes. Again, that is not always possible. In cases of extreme high water tables and frequent possible flooding where high capacity pumps are required, you should definitely run a separate discharge pipe for each pump you have installed.
by Jim, Product Expert
Q: If the backup pump is activated due to heavy water flow (to help the main pump) and the AC power stays on, will the system keep charging the battery to allow the backup pump to keep running indefinitely?
by Scott Mueller from Connecticut on January 24, 2012

A: Yes, the controller will keep the battery charging and the pump running indefinitely if needed. This is true for the Basement Watchdog model BWE and the BWSP stand alone battery backup systems as well.
by Jim, Product Expert
Q: can you use a marine battery with this unit in stead of the 30hdc140s battery ?
also dose the unit have and automatic battery charge ?

by Mike G from Pennsylvania on January 08, 2012

A: You can use a standard marine deep cycle battery, however the Basement Watchdog Emergency Standby Battery has been designed to run the backup pump for a minimum of 6 hours continuously. However, most of the time the pump will turn on and off, and the battery will run the pump intermittently for days. In addition the unique materials in the battery enable it to last for 5-7 years in standby service.
To extend the run time of the pump, use the Basement Watchdog 7.5 Hour battery. It will run this pump continuously for 12 hours. Why will it run longer than 7.5 hours? Because the 7.5 hour battery is rated for other Basement Watchdog pumps that draw more power (amps). The emergency pump puts less drain on the battery, so the battery lasts longer.
NOTE: The battery will not run the primary pump.

The use of automotive batteries is NOT recommended. Automotive batteries are not designed for this application. They will only run the pump for a short time and will have a shorter life than a standby battery.
The battery fluid sensor and cap are designed to fit the Basement Watchdog batteries. Measuring the battery fluid is one of the most important features of the system; since about 80% of backup sump pump failures are the result of a battery that has dried out.

The control box that is included does also act as a battery charger.

by Jim, Product Expert
Q: I have a DFK-961 and couldn't be happier with it. My question is what happens if the primary pump goes out? Can I replace it with the BW1033 from the primary pumps section?
by Steve Pierce from Wisconsin on January 04, 2012

A: Since the primary pump is independent of the backup system, pretty much any submersible pump pump will work. The BW1033 would be a direct replacement because that's the pump used in the system.
by Jim, Product Expert
Q: whats the difference in a sump pump that has a built in check value versus one that doesnt? I want a cast iron style, vertical float switch and wonder if buying this DUAL style sump pump is good or bad ??
by Kathy C Ranalli from Ohio on November 09, 2011

A: A built-in check valve is really a convenience in that you will not need to worry about it for the rest of your installation. All sump pumps require a check valve to keep water from flowing back into your basin once the pump shuts off. The dual style pump you speak of, I believe, is actually a Combo or Combination primary and battery backup pump already plumbed together for easier installation. They are a great idea for those that are looking to install a brand new system, i.e. primary pump and battery backup system or those that are looking to replace their old primary pump and add the battery backup system.
by Jim, Product Expert
Q: What size deep-cycle battery does the DFK-961?
by Anonymous on April 17, 2011

A: The recommended battery is the Basement Watchdog model 30HDC140S. It will give you about 12 hours of continuous run time.
by Jim, Product Expert
Q: does the battery box come with this unit?
by Jim on April 13, 2011

A: No, the battery box does need to be purchased seperately. It is available HERE for $12.99 plus shipping.
by Jim, Product Expert
Q: watchdog model dfk-961 what is the discharge rate for backup pump @ 10ft.
by Michael Wilson from Pennsylvania on March 03, 2011

A: The DFK-961 uses a BWE backup pump with 1000 GPH @10' lift.
by Jim, Product Expert
Q: is this a battery backup for power outage
by Bryan Emmers from Minnesota on February 11, 2011

A: Yes, the kit includes 1 Basement Watchdog 1/3 HP (BW1033) AC pump (2200 GPH @ 10 lift) and 1 Basement Watchdog Emergency battery backup system (BWE)(1000 GPH @ 10 feet). The battery is sold seperately.


by Jim, Product Expert
Q: Do I need a check valve with this unit?
by Elliot from New Jersey on January 27, 2011

A: These combination pump systems from Basement Watchdog have built-in check valves. An additional float switch is not needed.
by Jim, Product Expert
Basement Watchdog DFK-961 Reviews & Ratings
Overall Rating
Features
4/5
Quality
4/5
Performance
4/5
Value
4/5
Overall
4.1 out of 54.1 out of 54.1 out of 54.1 out of 54.1 out of 5
Pros
I'd Buy It Again (5)
Easy To Use (5)
Quiet (3)
Fast (3)
Features (3)
Cons
Durability (3)
Unreliable (2)
Expensive (1)
Too loud!!! (1)
Low Quality (1)
75% of respondents would recommend this product to a friend
20 Reviews  Sort by 
 
Steven
Grand Blanc, MI
Purchased from Sump Pumps Direct
Purchased 4/21/17
Most Helpful Positive Review
REVIEWED
MAY.
16
2017
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5
Easy Install, Works Great.
Took me less than an hour to set up. Works pretty good, wires become a bit of a mess, but all in all a good buy I think.
Pros: I'd Buy It Again, Easy To Use, Price, Reliable
Steven Recommends This Basement Watchdog Product
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
Steven,
Thank you for purchasing the Dfk-961. We are happy to hear the combination system was easy to install. If you ever need assistance with our products please call our service team at 800-991-0466 option 3 for technical assistance.
more
Was this review helpful?
00
Jim H.
San Francisco, CA
Purchased from Sump Pumps Direct
Purchased 1/11/16
Most Helpful Critical Review
REVIEWED
MAR.
23
2017
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5
Buyer Beware
I bought this combination pump in January of 2016. Last week (March 2017) it stopped working. I called sump pumps direct and was told that I would need to contact the manufacture - they provided the number. When I called Basement Watchdog and explained my problem - the pump was running continually - I did pull the pump out of the sump and checked the float, which was moving freely, I was told that I actually needed to pull the pump at least 4 times a year, take it apart and reassemble it,... more
Cons: Durability, Low Quality
Jim Does Not Recommend This Product
Jim, the Sump Pump Expert
Product Expert
Jim,
With these types of systems, if there's any type of debris in the water, it will decrease the lifespan of the pump. Based on your location, most sump applications in your area are taking runoff water, which usually is accompanied by a large amount of your debris. These types of system are not designed for these types of sump applications.

From there Owner's Manual: MAINTENANCE CHECK LIST
Maintenance should be performed 1-2 times per year.
1. Lift the float switches on both pumps as described above (Diag. In Manual)
2. Remove all debris from the bottom of the pit.
3. Remove all debris floating in the water.
4. Remove all debris from the float switch cage.
5. Fill the pit with water. Make sure the pumps turn on at the desired level.
6. While the pump is running, make sure the pump is evacuating water at a good pace.
more
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
Jim,
We thank you for your feedback. We absolutely stand behind our product. From your description of the issue the pump running non-stop, can be a debris issue. Debris can cause problems with a sump pump system, including the check valves and float switches. In a sump pit located in the house we recommend cleaning out the pit 1-2 times per year as it is mentioned in the owner’s manual and as Jim from Sump pumps direct has included. In environments that have a lot of debris such as outdoor pits, we recommend cleaning the sump pit routinely. You can use a wet vac or something similar to accomplish this. In some severe cases it may be necessary to clean the sump several times a year to keep the debris from clogging the pump, float switch or check valves. If cleaning out the pit did not resolve the issue we would recommend contacting our service team for warranty information. You can reach us at 800-991-0466 option 3 Monday through Friday 9-5 Central time.
more
Jim's Experience With Sump Pumps Direct
Web Site
5/5

Service
5/5

Shipping
5/5
"They have been very helpful, have great prices, and do not charge shipping."
 more
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00
Chris N.
Charlevoix, MI
Purchased from Sump Pumps Direct
Purchased 1/23/17
REVIEWED
FEB.
14
2017
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5
Second Day In Use
This one is so damn noisy!!!!! I got the inline muffler, but still loud!!!
Pros: Easy To Use, Features, High Quality
Cons: Too loud!!!
Chris Recommends This Basement Watchdog Product
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
Chris,
We apologize that you are experiencing an issue with the DFK961. These pumps should be fairly quiet compared to most other pumps. If you feel the pump sounds louder than it should be I would recommend calling our service team at 800-991-0466 option 3.
more
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00
Robert K.
Livonia, MI
Purchased from Sump Pumps Direct
Purchased 10/13/16
REVIEWED
NOV.
04
2016
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5
Basement Watchdog Dfk-961
Pump has performed as expected with no problems so far. I used a Duracell replacement battery which was less expensive than the branded battery. I did not realize, however, that the battery sensor needed to be placed in the 5th cell from the negative terminal. The online support was excellent and got me straightened out. The only issue I had was that the two required plugs would not fit in a duplex outlet as shown in the product literature. This is inconvenient.
Pros: I'd Buy It Again, Quiet, Features
Robert Recommends This Basement Watchdog Product
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
Robert,
Thank you for purchasing our product. We definitely would like to assist you. If you are using a non-watchdog battery with the DFK961 it is recommended to place the fluid sensor under the positive post. We can also assist you with plugging both plugs into the same duplex outlet. Please call our service team at 800-991-0466 option 3 for technical assistance.
more
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11
David C.
Huntington, IN
Purchased from Sump Pumps Direct
Purchased 2/15/15
REVIEWED
MAR.
08
2015
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5
Basement Watchdog Dfk-961
Very pleased with your service! Arrived on time and in great condition. Easy to install and it works great.
David Recommends This Basement Watchdog Product
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
David,
Thank you for your feedback. We really appreciate your consideration of our products
more
Was this review helpful?
41
Dan
Yorktown, NY
Purchased from Sump Pumps Direct
Purchased 11/1/11
REVIEWED
NOV.
22
2011
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5
About As Expected
I liked what I saw in the product description, and the pump arrived and matched expectations. So far, so good. I had originally intended to use a Marine battery, but after I read the instructions about the low electrolyte alarm I decided to get the Watchdog battery, and picked one up at a local Home Depot. I like that the package takes up little room in the sump, and all components seem solid. The float switches seem to be arranged to be relatively immune to the most common types of... more
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
Dan,
Thank you for your review. Guarantee that you will be very satisfied with your combination.
more
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41
John
Norton, OH
REVIEWED
JUL.
29
2011
1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5
After A Year & A Half It's No Good
I thought this was a great pump till it couldn't keep up the other day. I find on hard rains the main pump overheats and shuts off leaving the battery backup to do it's work for a while. This happened the other day and we had a heavy downpour and the Main pump overheated and the backup could just not keep up. I would've understood had their been a power outage, but there wasn't and all my carpet got ruined. Also the trickle charger has decided to stop working so I had to hook a car charger up... more
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
John,
We are sorry that you are unhappy with this product. Please keep in mind that when the back up pump kicks in during a tough storm this doesn't necessarily mean that the primary is not working, but that enough water is coming in that it has reached the level of the backup float and has kicked in to help keep the water out. We feel that this is a smarter design than having your back up only kick in when power is not available. In your situation it sounds like you needed to go with the big Combo as it sounds like you may be getting more water coming in during tough rains than the rated GPH of the DFK961 Combination system. We do stand behind our product 100% and if there is ever any situation in which you would need our assistance we are always willing to do so. You can contact us at 800-991-0466 Ext.3 for technical support. For us it's not about getting a sale but keeping our customers happy.
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30
Howard
Warren, NJ
Purchased from Sump Pumps Direct
Purchased 3/15/11
REVIEWED
APR.
06
2011
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5
Easy Directions
I had a Zoeller sump pump with no battery backup for many years and always checked that it was working when it rained. I checked it when it rained Sunday morning but the pump failed sometime Sunday night and I ended up with 18 inches of water in the basement by Monday morning, ruined everything.

The basement Watchdog system is great so far. Took 30 minutes to set up. Easy directions and everything I needed was in the box, even a rubber coupling and ties for the wires. I love the control... more
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
Howard,
Thank you for Choosing the Basement Watchdog. We know that you will be satisfied for years to come.
more
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30
Jim
Hermantown, MN
REVIEWED
APR.
03
2011
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5
Beats Them All
I have gone though a couple different brands of pumps in my basement and this combo beats them all. I found it easy to install. The primary pump effortlessly and rather quietly empties almost my entire sump well in seconds and the back up pump works just as good.

I also purchased the battery and acid from Watchdog and found the back up battery to be an easy installation and hookup. I am overly sure that I have much more piece of mind and satisfaction than John has and hope this review... more
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
Jim,
Thank you for your review. We appreciate you loyalty as a customer and recommendation of our products.
more
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20
John
Duluth, MN
Purchased from Sump Pumps Direct
Purchased 11/8/10
REVIEWED
NOV.
30
2010
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5
New Sump Pump System
After losing power during the first snowfall of the year, our basement was flooded. The existing pump was old with no backup pump to boot.

I ordered from Sump Pumps Direct and in only 2 days, a Basement Watchdog combo system was at my door. Installation was fast and easy and works like a charm!

The piece of mind this combo system provides is worth every penny!
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
John,
Thank you for your consideration of our company and products. We appreciate your review.
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20
David H.
Port Townsend, WA
Purchased from Sump Pumps Direct
Purchased 1/7/16
REVIEWED
MAR.
13
2016
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5
Peace Of Mind
We live in the Pacific Northwest where the sump pump runs during the heavy rain season. That is also when we have frequent power failures from trees falling on the power lines. Sometimes the power goes out for days at a time, so this dual pump with battery back up is just what we needed. I bought the 1/2 hp model first, but it didn't fit in the small pit, the 1/3 hp version fit perfectly in a pit about the size of a 5 gallon bucket. The install took about an hour, easier than I expected. Thanks,
David Recommends This Basement Watchdog Product
Manufacturer Response
Brand Rep
David,
Thank you so much for your review. We are happy that we are able to help you during these difficult times. We appreciate your feedback.
more
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