HELP! Previous owner was draining washing machine into sump pit. No drain. (pics)

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Pchanizzle, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I just purchased this home, and have well water and city sewer. During the home inspection, I didn't even notice that there was no drain for the washing machine. I can only assume that the previous owner was draining the washing machine directly into the sump pit. I suppose it's not terrible since he was pumping it straight out to the sewer system rather than a septic tank, but it's still a no-no, right?

    The waste stack is horizontal as you can see by the pictures:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you want to look at the full size image, here you go : http://i.imgur.com/4A0jqB3.jpg


    I have been advised to install a utility sink with a drain pump and drain the washing machine into the sink, and pump the grey water up to the stack. If I have to do this, I will, but are there other options?

    Can I get by temporarily by draining the washer into the sump pit until I get the sink/pump installed?


    If I go with the sink/pump set up, how would I tie the pump's grey water output to the horizontal stack above?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,054
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    YOU don't show us the sump pump setup. If it pumps to the sanitary system then it IS okay, but you cannot just hang the drain hose into the pit, if you want to have any water in the washer to wash clothes. That drain system must have been installed by someone who had a lot of fittings he wanted to get rid of. I think I count at least 7 fittings that could have been eliminated by if a "good plumber" had installed it.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
  3. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH

    Doh! Thanks for your response, I really appreciate the help.

    The only picture I have of the sump setup is here :

    [​IMG]

    Here's a much larger version if you want a closer look : http://i.imgur.com/HQOPiyo.jpg


    Notice the black pipe that goes up the wall - just above the crop of the picture, it goes OUT through the wall. Is it possible that the sump is really pumping straight UP six feet and then out of the house? I'm fairly sure the sump pumps out to sanitary sewer, but I'm not 100%. How can I tell?
  4. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    After some conversations with a couple old timers, I'm now more certain that the sump is draining into the yard underground and not into the city sewer, which means I'm going to want to drain the washing machine into the waste stack. I will most likely be going with the sink/pump install for this operation.

    I think I'm pretty clear on everything except the vent. The vent for these pump systems - does it need to tie into the main vent for the waste stack? I believe the vent is the 2nd pipe from the top left in this image:

    [​IMG]

    Any other advice?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2013
  5. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    The sump you already have in the floor has no vent line connected because it (the sump) is open to the atmosphere, and the pump in that sump might discharge out into a drywell or field system that could continue handling wash water just fine like for the previous owner. However, I do not know what an inspector might say about a simple riser pipe and a fitting or two for getting that water over there. With a sealed sump, yes, the vent line needs to be done properly, and I think that could even mean having its own vent line all the way up and out through the roof. So, check this out:

    http://www.hydromatic.com/ResidentialProduct_hy_sp_af_hpusp125.aspx

    Connect that pump in place of the trap under your utility sink and forget about any DWV plumbing other than its discharge line.
  6. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Oops, double post.
  7. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Wow, that's a great suggestion, and that pump is a good brand, and cheaper than the Zoeller that I was looking at anyway. What's the downside to this pump, or should I say, why would someone buy a pump that required a tie in to the vent stack instead of this one?

    Thanks a bunch, I am almost certainly going to order this pump today.
  8. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    A sealed sewage sump (and even if only for gray water) would need a vent line, and that would be no big deal during new construction. But in my own case like yours, I once just drained the washer into an atmosphere-vented 55-gallon plastic drum with a submersible pump inside it (which was really no different than the sump you already have in the floor)...and that very same kind of hydraulic configuration on a smaller scale is actually what you will have if you use the pump I have mentioned. The sink drain with pump attached will be vented to the atmosphere, and you just need to be sure that pump has a check valve so a downstream backup cannot drain back through it and overflow your new sink.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  9. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Yes, that Hydromatic pump comes with a check valve. Thanks again for your help, I've ordered everything and will be installing this week.
  10. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    So this solution works, sort of. The pump is too slow to keep up with the washer drain, and can't empty the sink in time before it fills completely up and overflows. If I set the washer to do a "small" load, the sink tub can hold all the water and it eventually pumps out. On a normal large capacity load, the sink fills up completely and overflows - the pump can't keep up.

    Any way to speed up the draining of this pump?
  11. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Oops, I/we had not thought of checking your washing machine's output against the drain pump's specs:

    HORSEPOWER: 1/3
    MAXIMUM HEAD: 14 ft. (4.3 m)
    MAXIMUM CAPACITY: 40 GPM (151.4 LPM)
    FLOW at 10' LIFT: 15 GPM
    DISCHARGE PIPE SIZE: 1-1/4" NPT

    I would think 15 GPM at 10' should be sufficient, but maybe it is not. Are you using 1-1/4" pipe, and how high is your lift? A larger pipe would reduce its lift. Also, how quickly and/or how much does the pump lag behind the washing machine?

    With the right size pipe and all else being as good as things can be, this might be at least a temporary inexpensive solution:

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  12. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    My lift is about 5' and I am using 1-1/4" pipe, which ties into a horizontal wye that goes to the 3" horizontal waste stack. The pump lags pretty far behind the washing machine. The manual for the pump suggests to adjust the ball valve on the discharge pipe so that the pump runs constantly and doesn't cycle on/off. This means the ball valve in the discharge line is about halfway closed.
  13. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Ah, so there is a restriction being imposed...

    Open that valve completely! That direction about stifling the pump has to do with something like keeping the pump from cycling while you are washing your hands or something since the float switch (or pressure switch or whatever) is within the pump body. Once your washing machine begins sending water into that sink, that kind of situation will only possibly come up at the end of a spin cycle while the washer might be trickling out the remainder of its discharge. So, open that valve completely, then *possibly* close it down just a bit to where the pump can still comfortably and always remain ahead of the washer.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  14. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    After re-reading the instructions, (smack self in the head) you might be on to something. Here's what the pump manual says:


    Adjusting The Flow

    The drain pump can pump up to 27 gallons per minute
    (GPM). Normal sink drains allow only 5 to 6 GPM to
    flow. Adjust the discharge shut-off/flow balancing valve as
    follows so that the pump does not cycle on and off when
    the faucets are on full.

    1. Run water into the sink. The pump will start when it
    detects water.

    2. Check for leaks. If leaks are found, unplug the pump
    power cord and fix the leaks before proceeding.

    3. Put a stopper in the drain and allow the sink to fill up
    a few inches.

    4. Open the discharge shut-off valve, open the faucets,
    and remove the stopper to drain the sink.

    5. The pump will start. Adjust the discharge shut-off/flow
    balancing valve until the pump runs continuously
    while the faucets are running and the sink is draining.
    If the water level rises with the pump on, slightly open
    the discharge valve to balance the flow. If it drops,
    slightly close the discharge valve.


    (keep in mind I'm not using this mainly as a sink, it's going to be pretty much 100% washing machine drain usage.)

    Although, the pump does cycle on/off even when the sink is full of water and draining....
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  15. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    That seems odd to me, but maybe someone else here might know why that pump is doing that. Are you seeing any swirling action possibly pulling air down into the pump body? I doubt the company would suggest throttling the discharge to prevent cycling after intentionally engineering the pump to cycle!
  16. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    That seems to be exactly what the company is suggesting in the manual, but I'm going to try opening the discharge ball valve all the way.
  17. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Ok, this is strange. If I plug the pump in correctly (switch first, then the pump into the back of the switch outlet), the pump cycles on/off when the sink is full, and can't empty the sink. If I plug the pump directly into the wall outlet, the pump runs continuously and is able to pretty easily keep up with the washer. Could this be a bad switch?
  18. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I was actually wrong about the pump not being able to empty the sink. The pump, even with a full sink and cycling on/off, is able to keep up with the washer, so I think I'm done unless all this cycling is bad for the pump?
  19. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Something is not right there, and I suggest you contact the company and try to get that sorted out:
    http://www.hydromatic.com/ResidentialContactUs_ContactUs.aspx
  20. Pchanizzle

    Pchanizzle New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Done. Thanks!
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