Sewage Ejection System--Pump not pumping

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Madinat, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. Madinat

    Madinat New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Please help.
    in the basement we have a full bathroom (sink, tub, toilet) and the pump that pushes this wastewater out to the main line is no longer pumping.

    we had roto rooter come in. they looked at the pump, checked the voltage of the outlet it was plugged into--then ask us what the problem was. the toilet backs up and the tub drains slowly, so we've stopped using it all together.

    we've had this problem before, but i was always at college so i'm not sure what they did to fix it, and my parents are "on strike" or whatever now and are unwilling to help me. i don't know what could be wrong. i initially tried drano until someone else told me the pump wasn't pumping, and when i tried flushing afterwards i noticed i did not hear it come on as well. the "alarm" the pump is attached to either doesn't work or isn't sounding, as it just gives a steady green light on the box. it's hard for me to tell why the pump isn't working. i just know it's not. any help please?

    the pump in the basement floor looks a lot like this one [​IMG]
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    You need to logically separate the parts.

    1. There is apparently electricity, but the pump isn't running. Figure out if it is 115 Volts or 230 Volts before proceeding to Step 3.

    2. Make sure that red valve is open.

    3. If the power connection is as your picture (float switch and power cord coming from tank), then take an extension cord and plug the pump directly into it (assuming that it is 115 Volts). NOTE: The pump cord is the one that is riding piggy back; the one plugged into the outlet is the float switch. If it now works, then the float switch is not working.

    If there is only one cord coming from the tank, then you have a switch that is part of the pump and the switch may have failed. Go to step 5.

    If there is no sound from the pump with step 2, then the pump is probably not working. It could be failed or it could be jammed.

    If there is sound from the pump, but no lowering of the water, then the pump might be failed or the pipe could be plugged.

    4. If it is a safe place to test the pump without making a mess, close the red valve and open that that union to disconnect the pipe. Have a garbage can to catch the drip. Then turn the pump on for just a second and see if anything comes out into the garbage can. If it does, then the pump could be OK and you could have a plug downstream.

    5. Take the cover off (you may have to disconnect some pipes) and see what you have inside the tank. You probably want to pull the pump at this point and take it outside to inspect it. See if there is anything in the inlet, such as a T-shirt or a sock.

    6. Test the pump in a tub of water to see if it works. If you can't make it work in a tub of water, when plugging it into an extension cord, then it is probably failed and at least needs some maintainence.

    At this point you should have some additional information to help you decide what you need to do.
  3. Madinat

    Madinat New Member

    Messages:
    2
    thanks so much for your input. i'll try that first thing tomorrow.

    at least now i'm armed with info if i need to call more clueless roto-tooters.:)
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    B4 you start try shaking the pipe going into the pit with the check valve on it, sometimes just kicking it will get it to work. If that doesn't work and you are going to open the pit B sure to unplug the power cord first. Never stick your hand into any liquid that the pump is in with the power on, water included.

    Many times the float can become covered with enough paper as to not allow it to work/float.

    Sanitary napkins can also plug the impeller of the pump the type with strings are notorious.
  5. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    9x out of 10 the float gets stuck.

    I wouldn't go kicking anything lest you crack a pipe.

    For future ease of inspection, I'd install rubber couplings on the vent and discharge (the discharge has to have a metal sleeve around the whole thing; the vent one can be regular banded). On the discharge, put the coupling btn the check valve and the lid.

    Otherwise (and you'll find this out this time) you'll have to unscrew the discharge pipe at the check valve to be able to get the lid off. Depending on how far yr gate valve is frm the check valve, it could send some sewage back down the pipe at you if yr not careful.

    As sewage pumps/pits can be finnicky, I think it really pays to familiarize yrself with the inner workings. It's not complicated...
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,230
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    pump

    I guess if they can't just replace it, RotoRooter must not know how to test for the reason it is not working. IF the pump has two cords that plug together before you plug them into the wall, unplaug the two and plug the outside one directly into the wall. If the pump runs then the problem is the float, if it doesn't then you have a motor problem. If it only has a single cord, then you have to remove half the cover to see whether the float is stuck or not.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,230
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Unplug it was about a minute wave a magnet around the cord and base then power back on it will work just fine. let me know what happens

    Is that similar to jumping up in the air and clicking your red shoes together three times?
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