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Old 12-26-2008, 01:42 PM   #1
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Exterior grade sump pump


Does anyone know of a good sump pump that can handle the cold weather? I redid my back yard two years ago, tearing out a two level ground level deck that also went down and served my lower level walkout that requires a sump pump. While the deck was in, it never had a problem, but I replaced the deck with concrete patios, I wanted low maintenance.

I've now burned up three Ridgid SP-330D 1/3 HP sump pumps (only paid for one). Fortunately, I kept the Zoeller 1/3 HP pump that was in when I tore the deck out and used it as a backup. The third Ridgid pump quit last week, and now the Zoeller has failed me. Apparently, they just don't like the cold, all four have given out in cold weather.

There's GOT to be a sump pump that can handle the cold weather, I can't be the only person that relies on a sump pump outside.

Gotta go bail more water.

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Last edited by Jeeper1970; 12-26-2008 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 12-26-2008, 03:05 PM   #2
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Exterior grade sump pump


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeeper1970 View Post
Does anyone know of a good sump pump that can handle the cold weather? I redid my back yard two years ago, tearing out a two level ground level deck that also went down and served my lower level walkout that requires a sump pump. While the deck was in, it never had a problem, but I replaced the deck with concrete patios, I wanted low maintenance.

I've now burned up three Ridgid SP-330D 1/3 HP sump pumps (only paid for one). Fortunately, I kept the Zoeller 1/3 HP pump that was in when I tore the deck out and used it as a backup. The third Ridgid pump quit last week, and now the Zoeller has failed me. Apparently, they just don't like the cold, all four have given out in cold weather.

There's GOT to be a sump pump that can handle the cold weather, I can't be the only person that relies on a sump pump outside.

Gotta go bail more water.
Zoller makes some of the best pumps on the market. I've heard multiple reports of there pumps running for decades in commercial / indust applications. Perhaps there is a problem with your setup, like water freezing in the discharge line?

Jamie

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Old 12-26-2008, 04:14 PM   #3
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Exterior grade sump pump


That is a good theory, but I don't think that's the problem. When I put the Zoeller in the crock, I didn't attach it to the buried discharge line, I have a flexible sump pump hose attached to it so I can just drop it in next to the Ridgid, plug it in and go. I know the flex hose isn't frozen up.

I won't buy another Ridgid, I've recently heard the same about the Zoeller, but Ridgid kept replacing them for free, so I kept using them.
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:04 PM   #4
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Exterior grade sump pump


Here are a few things I know of that will cause a sump pump to fail;

1) Wrong voltage at the pump. Usually too low from long small wire.

2) Too large of solids or semi-solids. Algae, dirt, pond scum, ice, etc. If there is a screen at the bottom, and it gets plugged up....

3) Discharge line plugged, too small, or the pump has to push water too far uphill.

4) The check valve has failed, or was never installed. In this case, the water level rises, the pump turns on and pumps the sump down then turns off. The water in the discharge line flows back into the sump, the pump turns on again, and after a few days/weeks/months of this the pump fails.

5) Water entering the pump housing. This is usually caused by lowering the pump by its cord.

I'm sure there's more, these are all I can think of at the moment.

Rob
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:50 PM   #5
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Exterior grade sump pump


After doing some research, I'm not the only one having a similar problem. One person I spoke with on the phone theorized that what's probably happening is that the float goes up and triggers the pump to come on, then when it goes down, the linkage sticks in the on position, causing the pump to run non-stop until it burns up the motor.

That makes sense, I recall the first pump that died on me, we had an unusually high electric bill that month, and had suspected the pump was the cause of it. I also noticed a day or two before the most recent pump died, I happened to walk outside and could hear the pump running, heard a sucking sound similar to when you're drinking from a straw and you reach the bottom of the cup. I went and unplugged it, left it unplugged for a little while before plugging it back in. I had a feeling that pump would probably die soon.

The same person recommended a mercury float, I'm also looking into low voltage ways to try and heat the crock somewhat, just keep the air temp warm enough so it doesn't stick.
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:54 PM   #6
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Exterior grade sump pump


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeeper1970 View Post
After doing some research, I'm not the only one having a similar problem. One person I spoke with on the phone theorized that what's probably happening is that the float goes up and triggers the pump to come on, then when it goes down, the linkage sticks in the on position, causing the pump to run non-stop until it burns up the motor.

That makes sense, I recall the first pump that died on me, we had an unusually high electric bill that month, and had suspected the pump was the cause of it. I also noticed a day or two before the most recent pump died, I happened to walk outside and could hear the pump running, heard a sucking sound similar to when you're drinking from a straw and you reach the bottom of the cup. I went and unplugged it, left it unplugged for a little while before plugging it back in. I had a feeling that pump would probably die soon.

The same person recommended a mercury float, I'm also looking into low voltage ways to try and heat the crock somewhat, just keep the air temp warm enough so it doesn't stick.
I have a mercury float in my fish pond, to keep it from being pumped dry and killing the fish! Its just a float ball a cord and a male/female plug at the end. The switch plugs into the power and the pump plugs into this! Very effective! A single incandecent light bulb, will provide enough heat to keep things from freezing!
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:28 PM   #7
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Exterior grade sump pump


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeeper1970 View Post
After doing some research, I'm not the only one having a similar problem. One person I spoke with on the phone theorized that what's probably happening is that the float goes up and triggers the pump to come on, then when it goes down, the linkage sticks in the on position, causing the pump to run non-stop until it burns up the motor.

That makes sense, I recall the first pump that died on me, we had an unusually high electric bill that month, and had suspected the pump was the cause of it. I also noticed a day or two before the most recent pump died, I happened to walk outside and could hear the pump running, heard a sucking sound similar to when you're drinking from a straw and you reach the bottom of the cup. I went and unplugged it, left it unplugged for a little while before plugging it back in. I had a feeling that pump would probably die soon.

The same person recommended a mercury float, I'm also looking into low voltage ways to try and heat the crock somewhat, just keep the air temp warm enough so it doesn't stick.
Almost two years later... did you resolve this? I have the same problem - I have a sump pump outside the door of a walk-up basement for collecting rain water that falls right there. This arrangement along with the current sump pump has not yet been through a winter however I was wondering if there's a sump pump out there that can handle the winter? In fact I do not even know if mine will not handle it. I can't find any information regarding operating temperatures in the manual of my current pump or in the manual of any other pump I've looked at for that matter.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:19 AM   #8
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Exterior grade sump pump


No pump can work in below freezing conditions, the water in the pump, the basin and the discharge line will be frozen. You would need to install heating cable on everything to maintain at least 40 degrees at the pump and discharge line.

One project I did, was a sump pump for a low areaway at a commercial building, but there was no heated space nearby to put the pump. So I piped a drain from the areaway into a concealed space under some outside stairs to a fiberglass basin with a submersible pump so its not exposed directly to elements, just the cold temperatures. I wrapped the basin in heat trace cable, put a coil of heat trace at the bottom of the basin where the water sits, heat traced the discharge line, put the temperature sensor that controls the heating cable right in the basin and wrapped everything in 2" fiberglass insulation with a weatherproof jacket and its been fine for 3 winters so far. The only thing is that the basin sits on a concrete slab under a stair overhang, not recessed in the ground so everything is accessible if the heating cable fails.

I think your situation is different, but if you could somehow put a drain outside piped back into your basement where the pump would be, that would be your best option. Or you could just pull the pump every winter and put it back in the spring, but that would be a pain in case there was a warm spell in the middle of the winter. You could also have a portable plug in pump as a backup to use in case of a warm day in the middle of the winter that you can throw outside for a couple hours.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:23 AM   #9
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Exterior grade sump pump


I never expected a sump pump to be pumping a below freezing. For one, how would the water get in there? I have a grate that feeds water into the sump pit via a 4" PVC buried inside the concrete slab. Snow cannot make it into the sump pit via that arrangement as it does not flow. If the snow starts to flow that would mean water melting would have occurred thus indicating temps above freezing. I just wonder if my sump pump will be "destroyed" by the cold.
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:17 PM   #10
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Exterior grade sump pump


I know this comes years later but I was wondering if the problem was solved? I have a solution that may help. We have an exterior sump pump and it is burried about 3 feet or so inground. However, to protect our discharge lines from freezing we have installed EasyHeat ILH In Line Pipe Heaters in the pipe. There true design is to keep water supply lines from freezing (i.e. a well) but it works great for the reverse, keep water discharge pipes from freezing (i.e. a sump pump outdoors, or even an indoor sump pump discharging outside). Our discharge line is burried underground although some sections are exposed as it rises to discharge at surface level. We installed this system sme time ago, and it has been a life saver. We have had one day with a foot of snow, and then a few days later warm temps that melted all the snow, and a few days after that more snow! The InLine Heater kept our discharge warm and allowed our sump pumps to work even in below zero weather! Search the internet for EasyHeat ILH or EasyHeat InLine Pipe Heaters for info and vendors that sell them. I can dig up and post some project pictures if anyone wants to see.
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:47 PM   #11
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Exterior grade sump pump


Indeed your reply is many years later and looks more like an advert for that product you described than a real contribution to this discussion. Now I don't know if you're just advertising that product or not, I'm just saying how it looks to me.

For those who are interested in finding out how my sump pump has held up so far (3.5 years, 4 winters so far), it has been just fine. The cold hasn't done anything bad to it, I haven't experienced any frozen pipes, etc. Seems to me that my theory 4 years ago was correct: the sump pump only has water to pump when water exists - above freezing. Otherwise it just sits idle. And when it does pump it clears the drainage pipe so there is never any left over water in the pipe that can freeze. So far so good.

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