Sewage ejector pumps are the core of any sewage ejection system. Unfortunately, they can also be the part of the system that is most prone to failure. Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that you get the most out of your pumps.
In this article, we will touch on some of the different types of pumps, and how to minimize the risk of pump failure.
Making sure a sewage ejection system works properly requires that you have the correct pump for your application. The three main things you will be looking for are size, power, and design. The main contributing factors are the amount of sewage that needs to be pumped, how high and how far it needs to be pumped, and what you will be pumping.
In regards to the amount, and how high/far, having an undersized pump has pretty obvious disadvantages. What is not so obvious is that having too powerful, or too big a pump can be a problem as well. If you are not giving the pump a chance to move as much water as it needs to run effectively, you will wind up burning out your pump.
As to the type of pump, you will want to think about what you will be pumping. If you are not pumping solids at all (like with gray water), a regular pump will do. If you are pumping solid waste (as from a toilet), you will want a pump that is made to pump solids without clogging. For a commercial building that may see “accidental” paper towels or other inappropriate material in the system, you will want a pump that can pass those, such as a pump with a vortex impellor.
In essence, make sure that you know how much “lift” the pump needs to have, how far it has to pump the waste before it dumps into the main sewer system, how much water it will be pumping at any one time, and what kind of sewage you will be pumping, and size the pump accordingly.
In all the years I have been working on sewage ejector systems, I have seen a lot of different layouts – both single and dual pump systems. While single pump systems may be fine for very small applications, dual pump systems are recommended for anything that gets a fair amount of use.
There are really two different ways to run a dual pump system. One is to have a primary and secondary pump. The primary works most of the time, and the backup is there to take over if needed. This is not a bad system, but the better way to go is with an alternating system.
In an alternating system, a control panel is used with a relay so that every time the system turns on, it uses a different pump. This is a better system because it spreads the wear and tear between the pumps, so it will take a lot longer before one of them burns out. It also alleviates the possibility of the backup pump seizing from lack of use.
Another step you can take is to make sure that your check valves are fairly close to the pumps. Once a pump shuts off, you do not want much of the water that is sitting in the pipe flowing back down into your basin to be pumped again next time the system turns on. It is not only a waste of energy, but it can be bad for the pumps as well.
Every once in a while, it is also good to clean your basin. This can be a simple matter of running a garden hose with a high pressure nozzle and rinsing out the basin. Do this enough so that the pumps go through a complete cycle a couple of times. This will remove the sludge and debris that builds up. It will also give you a chance to test and make sure the pumps are turning on and off at the right time, and to test your high water alarm, etc.
Hopefully this article has helped you to get an idea of how to make sure you have the right sewage ejector pump for your application, as well as some pointers on keeping your system in good shape. If you have further questions about your sewage ejector system, don’t hesitate to give Gogo Rooter Plumbing a call.