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Old 09-13-2016, 11:12 AM   #1
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Sewage Ejector Pump


I have a couple of questions I hope I can get answers to....

First, last night I heard a humming in the basement, so I went to investigate and found the ejector pump was the culprit. It was seeming to cycle but wasn't pumping anything. As it was late, I just unplugged it and went to bed. This morning I went down to investigate a bit. I flushed the basement toilet which empties to the pit, plugged pump and float back in and it pumped the waste out, shut off, but then seems to start cycling on/off again, but doesn't push any more waste through the pipe. I just hear a steady on/off hum cumming from the pit. If I unplug the switch, the hum is constant. Is this likely a faulty float switch, pump or something else? Maybe a check valve...

When I originally installed the setup, I am pretty sure some instructions I had said to run the pipe from the pit/floor level about 4' then angle (45*) to the ceiling and then sloped horizontal to sewer line. That's how I did it anyway and I remember following some instructions. I have a check valve and a ball valve on the angle section. The ball valve is on the sewer line side. About a year ago, maybe less, I had an issue where the pump would cycle on/off and it turned out the check valve was bad. I replaced it, but the instructions I found at that time said to install it low on the outlet pipe, so it's now about a foot off the floor level. I think those instructions show the outlet pipe going vertical, then 90* bend and head sloped horizontal to the sewer line. Since the old check valve failed open, I got it working and seemed to have never gotten back to remove and rework the piping. In essence, I now have two check valves, which I think only one is really working. I know, I know, I should have fixed right, but it's one of those things where time was limited, I got it working and forgot about. I'm wondering if maybe one of the check valves isn't doing it's job and if maybe it failed in the closed position. I'll open up the pipe in a while and check and maybe re-plumb it so the extra valve is gone and clean it up, but figured I'd ask questions before having to do that twice.

Our washing machine is in the basement as well and our main sewer line is about 5' off the floor level at it's highest point. I wanted a wet bar, laundry room and a full bath in the basement, hence the need for the the pit. This brings up the second question. At this time, the main use of the pit comes from the washing machine, BUT I believe I read in the instructions for the washer that it can pump water up to a height of 8'+. Would it be smarter to instead, tap into the main sewer line, run a line through the basement ceiling and pump the washer into that and bypass the pit? At this time the ceiling is open, but I plan to close it off. I don't see any issues with the PVC being closed off in the ceiling, but it does worry me that if I did this and if the sewer ever backed up my clothes washer would be the first item flooded with sewage. Of course I could always add a check valve to that line I suppose.

I probably wouldn't ask, but I plan to move the washer to another wall, so I'll have to tap in to the existing drain for the pit anyway, so not much more work either way. I suppose I could plumb it for both options for relatively not much cost, unless it's just better to leave it on the pit, so it drains down vs up. I'm wondering if it would just be less wear/tear on the pump, but maybe that's minuscule wear/tear.

I will add that being in the basement, it's all on a GFCI receptacle and the washer and the pump are on the same circuit. Some things say that the pumps can trip the GFCI, but I've never had an issue with that and I liked the idea that if the pump ever got tripped I wanted washer shut down so it wouldn't keep pumping water into the pit and flood the basement that way.

Thanks for any feedback on this....
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Old 09-13-2016, 05:27 PM   #2
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


Strange, strange, strange.....I've left it unplugged most of the day and when I went to try it again and do some trouble shooting it seems to work fine. I'm kind of wondering if a solid was sitting on the flap and stopping it from functioning correctly...hmmm!! Maybe I ran enough water through it that it's working fine again.

That said, it's on my list to not only keep an eye on, but clean up the previously failed check valve and maybe even eliminate the angle.
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Old 09-13-2016, 05:44 PM   #3
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


Also possible you had a blocked sewer line that has how cleared up.
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:09 PM   #4
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


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Also possible you had a blocked sewer line that has how cleared up.

I wondered that as well, I did check, but after everything started working, so no way to know for certain. I am however, a bit doubtful on that because it sure sounded like the fluids were pumping up and into the main line. My guess is either a clogged impeller or the flap on the check valve stuck open and allowed flow back to the pump, but not enough fluids to pump.

All I care is that for now it's working just fine!!!
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Old 09-27-2016, 03:46 PM   #5
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


Well, this pump must hate me or something. A few nights ago it started acting up again.

Today I finally got a chance to look at it a little, but trying to gather what I need to fix. The pump seems to push a great deal of waste out, then cycles on, off, on, off and then pushes more waste out. I opened up the upper check valve that went bad a few month ago and it certainly is bad, so at this point it's just a coupler. The lower one seems to work as waste is standing in the pipe to the level the old check valve was located. There doesn't seem to be a clog above all of this as when I opened up the ball valve above the check valve very little fluid came out, maybe 1/2 gallon which would be just enough to fill the vertical section of pipe.

Is it ok to install a fernco coupling on the vent pipe? That way I can easily disconnect the pipes leading to the pit and move everything away to check the pump/float. My guess is after almost 9yrs the pump is just going bad. Is there a life expectancy on these?
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:19 PM   #6
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


Sick pump needs replaced fernco is fine.
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:21 AM   #7
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


I read that you followed instructions, but did not read if you drilled a small hole just above male adapter in pipe. It keeps it from air locking. You also have to be mindful to make sure the incoming is not falling directly on the float switch.
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:44 AM   #8
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


I am pretty certain I drilled the hole. I do remember that, but about the same time, I also put in a new sump pump pit. I'll be checking if I actually have to pull the pump. It's worked flawlessly for about 8+ years so I can't believe it's a setup issue, but like I said I'll double check.

I just got back from store with some new plumbing parts so I can rework the outlet pipe. They didn't have fernco couplers, so I bought no hubs, I'm thinking those would be better anyway am I correct? I also bought PVC couplers, I just want to be able to pull this apart easier if need be. One thought I had was to buy a "T" or a "Y" and reduce the side down to about 3/4" PVC with a ball valve to drain the sewage out of the pipe between the 2" ball valve and the check valve. That's the worst part of this is that when you open it up, it goes all over. I might still go back and get stuff for that.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:10 AM   #9
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


Currently, the discharge pipe goes up about 4' then angles 45* to 7' ceiling and slopes down from there to sewer main. I used a proper slope of about 1/4" per foot. I'm actually thinking of trying to tuck the lines closer to a wall to clear up some visual space and instead of the 45* slope, go 90* towards the wall, then 90* back up and then tie into the pipe in the ceiling joist bay. Is that a bad idea? Does it make much difference?

Also, I know it somewhat depends upon the check valve, how it can be oriented, but I'd leave the check valve vertical, then instantly go 90* and put the ball/gate valve on the horizontal run, then 90* up the wall.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:12 AM   #10
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


[QUOTE=Master Brian;3597785]I am pretty certain I drilled the hole. I do remember that, but about the same time, I also put in a new sump pump pit. I'll be checking if I actually have to pull the pump. It's worked flawlessly for about 8+ years so I can't believe it's a setup issue, but like I said I'll double check.

I just got back from store with some new plumbing parts so I can rework the outlet pipe. They didn't have fernco couplers, so I bought no hubs, I'm thinking those would be better anyway am I correct? I also bought PVC couplers, I just want to be able to pull this apart easier if need be. One thought I had was to buy a "T" or a "Y" and reduce the side down to about 3/4" PVC with a ball valve to drain the sewage out of the pipe between the 2" ball valve and the check valve. That's the worst part of this is that when you open it up, it goes all over. I might still go back and get stuff for that.[/QUOTE

You should have been able to disconnect it at the check valve if you used a compression one. If not you should put in a union.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:16 AM   #11
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Brian View Post
Currently, the discharge pipe goes up about 4' then angles 45* to 7' ceiling and slopes down from there to sewer main. I used a proper slope of about 1/4" per foot. I'm actually thinking of trying to tuck the lines closer to a wall to clear up some visual space and instead of the 45* slope, go 90* towards the wall, then 90* back up and then tie into the pipe in the ceiling joist bay. Is that a bad idea? Does it make much difference?

Also, I know it somewhat depends upon the check valve, how it can be oriented, but I'd leave the check valve vertical, then instantly go 90* and put the ball/gate valve on the horizontal run, then 90* up the wall.
Not a good idea. Don't use a 90. Use either a 45 and street 45 or a long pattern 90. Otherwise it could restrict the flow.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:28 AM   #12
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


Ok, on the 90. What about using the 45's. The length of the 45 slope shouldn't matter I would guess.

I used check valves with the threaded ends, so I just disconnected the upper valve. Yes, two valves in there because one went bad, so I left it until I could come back and re-do the pipes. I figure if it's failing in the open position what harm. The new valve, I haven't been able to break open yet, so that's a bit concerning. I bought the couplers so I can rework the piping a bit and splice in. I bought the no hub mainly so if I need to disconnect the vent pipe, I can put it back together without always having to cut and add a PVC coupler.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:58 AM   #13
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


Also, my current pump is a RIGID 1/2 HP Cast Rion SSEP-500. I bought it at Home Depot about 9yrs ago and proZbably paid about $200 for it. I called a local place and they recommend Zoeller as the guy said they come back less, but it's $331. They also sell AY McDonnel, they run $207.

Any recommendation on pumps? I also checked Amazon and they had several different Zoeller pumps, ranging from $200-$300. They of course had other brands as well. With my Prime I can have it in two days and no shipping, so sometimes that's just as easy and I've found their returns are super easy, so not worried there either.

I don't mind paying, but I don't want to overpay either.
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Old 09-28-2016, 12:07 PM   #14
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


Zoeller is top notch.
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Old 09-28-2016, 02:44 PM   #15
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Re: Sewage Ejector Pump


The rigid is still available at home depot for 239.00 you got 8 years out of it. That is a good lifespan for a pump.
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