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Old 07-14-2011, 09:32 AM   #1
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Help with ejector pump


$h!t runs downhill. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool, and anyone who buys a house built on a different principle is also a fool. This makes me a fool.

I have a 7 year old home with a laundry room in the basement. The basement was also studded for a bathroom, but currently it is not there. The plumbing for all of this runs into a tank in the garage and is pumped up to the next level with an ejector pump. The whole setup looks like this:



A few weeks ago, after a load of laundry, we discovered a wet garage. So I don my work clothes and and get ready to pull the cover off of the tank, not knowing what to expect. When I loosened the black rubber coupling from the output pipe, it released pressure just like opening a coke bottle. "odd" I thought to myself (I should note that the pump had been running prior to me starting work on it, but non ejecting anything. I began this process expecting to find a clog of some kind.) I pull the one-way valve off and inspect it and the rest of the pipe for some kind of clog and don't find anything. I put it all back together, plug in the pump, and in about 5 seconds it pumps all of the "water" out of the tank. Mystified, I go grab a garden hose and fill the tank back up about 4 times and watch as the pump does its job just fine each consecutive time. The next day, the wife does laundry, I hear the pump come on and off several times. Life is good again.

Fast-forward another week, and we once again have water in the garage. Pump is running, nothing is coming out. I remove the rubber couple again, and it pops like a coke bottle again. For curiosity, I immediately put it back together, plug in the pump, and to my surprise, it pumps out all of the remaining water. Thinking that for some reason the one-way valve might be sticking closed, I remove it, take it outside, scrub it squeaky clean, and put it back in. Refill the tank with a water hose, and all works as advertised.

Fast-forward another week, and there is yet again water in the garage. Still suspicious that the laundry-only detergent water that goes through this tank might have somehow damaged the rubber-flapper-thingy in the one-way valve and cause it to basically glue itself shut when the pipe sits dry for a few days, I head off to HD and get a new one. Easy to install and once again everything is pumping as its supposed to. (the black rubber coupling also seemed to be under pressure when I opened it, even though I had unplugged the pump the night before since it was running and not getting anywhere)

Wait one more week (laundry days are always about a week apart) and we once again have water in the garage. At this point I'm at a loss. I removed the pump from the pit entirely and gave it a good visual once-over. I don't see anything that looks awry (although I'm no expert) Once I put it back together, the pump will empty the tank in about 5 seconds so it seems to be performing fine. I once again filled it with my garden hose several times to be sure. I don't see anything wrong with the vent. It all looks pretty straightforward. And its worked for years up to this point.

Anyone got any thoughts?

Again, $h!t runs downhill...don't let anyone tell you any different!

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Old 07-14-2011, 06:18 PM   #2
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Help with ejector pump


I'd cut the vent above the tank and see if it operates O.K. while doing your laundry. Do you have the lid off while testing?

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Old 07-15-2011, 10:31 PM   #3
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Help with ejector pump


More developments in the saga of the ejector pump. I removed the lid entirely the last time I worked on the pump and left it off. No risk of venting issues now. Waited a few days, did laundry, tank overflows, wife calls, "yes, I know, I'll look at it when I get home". When I come home, the pump is running, but not pumping anything. I unplug it, eat dinner, do dishes, and then go look at it.

I tried a simple repair this time, I simply loosen one of the bands on the rubber coupler on the exit pipe and release the pressure I assumed would be there. It was, and I immediately tightened the band again, and plug in the pump. Viola! Fixed...for now. It occurs to me there is some kind of pressure problem here.

A little google searching puts the phrase "vapor lock" into my keywords and I stumble into what I think is the answer. Turns out you need a weep hole in the output pipe about 3/16" in diameter located a few inches about the output of the pump. The science goes like this:

The pump is designed to move water, not air. Specifically its a low pressure, high volume pump. When the pump shuts off, and the one-way valve above closes, the water drains out of the pipe below the one way valve and is replaced with air. When the pump comes on it is then trying to essentially compress the air above it, which it cannot do.so it builds pressure in the pipe, but never enough to lift the water above the one-way valve enough to open the valve and the system is essentially air locked or vapor locked, whichever term you prefer. Although it is part of the correct installation of the pump, my system had no such weep hole. It does now, and I'll report back on its success or failure in a week.

Hope this is all helpful to someone, someday.

Last edited by biggidybankston; 07-22-2011 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:36 PM   #4
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Help with ejector pump


Solved...who whould have guessed all of my woes revolved around the lack of a 3/16 hole just about the pump outlet?
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