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Old 12-10-2009, 10:07 PM   #1
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frozen outflow from sewage pump?


I have a Liberty 370 sewage pump. The outflow is a 2" line leading approximately 100 feet with a 4' rise.

Here is the model if you need specs:
http://www.libertypumps.com/Products...p=71&s=10&c=18

We've never had a problem with freezing before, but I suspect that's the problem now. It has filled up, and it won't eject. The pump runs and swirls the water, but does not drain.

I've run a drain snake through as far as I can from the pump side and there is no blockage for appr. 15 ft. When I turn the pump on the water swirls around in the tank but does not eject. When I took off the outflow pipe I saw there is pressure on the uphill side of the backflow preventer. In fact, I can't push the backflow preventer in unless I loosen the coupling to let in air. This makes me pretty sure it's a blockage in the line and not a problem with the pump.

We've had cold weather for a few days and it's highly likely that the 2" outflow line may be frozen. It's only buried down around 8 inches at some points ...

So, a few questions:

1. Does it make sense for me to assume the pump is working because of pressure buildup on the outflow side?
2. Blockage ... assuming it's ice, how can I thaw out a pipe appr. 100 ft long? If not ice, any other ideas?

Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 12-10-2009, 10:20 PM   #2
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frozen outflow from sewage pump?


I think it's more likely there's something clogging the pump's impeller. Tampon, maybe? Have you pulled the pump out to check that already?

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Old 12-10-2009, 10:22 PM   #3
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frozen outflow from sewage pump?


I checked the impeller ... it's clear.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:28 PM   #4
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frozen outflow from sewage pump?


Could the pump be air-locked? Is the little 3/16" hole clogged?
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:44 PM   #5
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frozen outflow from sewage pump?


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Originally Posted by Ishmael View Post
Could the pump be air-locked? Is the little 3/16" hole clogged?
Where is the 3/16 hole? I didn't know there was one.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:29 AM   #6
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frozen outflow from sewage pump?


This excerpt below came from www.libertypumps.com. I looked up the installation instructions for just a random 1/2hp effluent pump. (I'm used to Myers pumps - they say 3/16"). Since you bought the ejector basin/pump as a package, they would've drilled the hole at the factory. Maybe it's clogged?:

7. If a check valve is used, a 1/8" anti-airlock hole should be drilled in the discharge pipe just above the pump’s discharge outlet to prevent pump "airlock" (see Fig. 1)

Last edited by Ishmael; 12-11-2009 at 01:32 AM.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:38 PM   #7
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frozen outflow from sewage pump?


Ishmael, thanks for the responses.

I will pull out the pump and clean around the bottom of the discharge pipe to see if there is a clogged hole.

If the pump was not pumping, would it still cause the backflow preventer to build pressure on the uphill side? Thanks again.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:10 PM   #8
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frozen outflow from sewage pump?


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Originally Posted by lukathonic View Post
Ishmael, thanks for the responses.

I will pull out the pump and clean around the bottom of the discharge pipe to see if there is a clogged hole.

If the pump was not pumping, would it still cause the backflow preventer to build pressure on the uphill side? Thanks again.
By backflow preventer do you mean check valve? I'm pretty sure thats what you're talking about. There's always going to be pressure against that check valve, and thats the reason that it is there, otherwise the line would drain back into the tank.

What does the casing of the pump look like? Is it black at all? They start to get black and cakey looking when they get hot, and then the windings burn up. The pump then loses the amount of oomph that it needs to pump uphill, and can cause the swirling action you're seeing, because the impeller is spinning, but not at a high enough rate to pump out. Does the float work properly? If the float is stuck on, it could burn up the pump. Worst case is a burnt pump that needs to be replaced.

The other problem could be the discharge pipe is clogged. I've had things actually make it past the impeller and get clogged in the discharge line before the check valve. Pull the pump and remove the discharge line, run a hose through it to see if it is clear. Worst case in this situation is that the line on the uphill side of the check valve is clogged, and needs to be snaked out
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:36 PM   #9
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frozen outflow from sewage pump?


"lukathonic"-In the worst case scenario, if you have to dip down to check the check valve: would this be a good time to install a "clean-out" just past the check valve for future use? With this you could snake the line past the check valve without having to cut into the piping again. Just a thought, David
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:27 PM   #10
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What does the casing of the pump look like? Is it black at all? They start to get black and cakey looking when they get hot, and then the windings burn up. The pump then loses the amount of oomph that it needs to pump uphill, and can cause the swirling action you're seeing, because the impeller is spinning, but not at a high enough rate to pump out. Does the float work properly? If the float is stuck on, it could burn up the pump. Worst case is a burnt pump that needs to be replaced.
I pulled the pump - yes it does look a bit black and cakey. Here's what I did to check whether it was pumping well ... it is located outside in a relatively un-manicured area of the property (on acreage ... no neighbors), so I pointed the outflow in different direction and plugged it in for just a second. From the geyser of liquid I'd say it's pumping quite well.

If it was burnt out, would I see this volume of discharge?

I'm starting to think that it is something stuck in the line. Ice is less likely at this point but still a possibility.
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:55 PM   #11
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frozen outflow from sewage pump?


If it ejects effluent, it certainly is not burned out. Probably working just fine. I have had problems with my sump pump due to air lock and issues with the backflow preventer (check valve). I removed the check valve many years ago, and have had no problems since.

The simplest way to find a clog in the line is with a very long snake, but if you don't have one, you can run a water hose a long way in a 2" line. In fact, if the line freezes, you can unfreeze it by running hot water through the hose line. I know, I had to do it some years ago when I still had that check valve in, and the water in the line froze. No more check valve, no more frozen lines.

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