Sump Pump woes

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by JasonU, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. JasonU

    JasonU New Member

    I came home from work this morning to a sump pump that isn't shutting off. My first thought was that the float might be stuck but I moved it up and down freely. The pump is running with the float all the way in the low position. There is less than an inch of water and nothing currently draining into the pit (no precipitation forecasted all week here so I may have some time to work a fix). The pump motor is just running and running with water squirting out of the side port of the pump. The only thing shutting off the motor at present is to pull the power plug.

    The pump is the original installed in my home which appears to be a Zoeller M-53 (automatic) with the attached float. It would be about eight years old.

    I know that Zoeller is one of the best pump manufacturers on the market and frankly I'm pleasantly suprised my builder installed one originally. I've read here and elsewhere that the automatic floats for Zoeller are questionable at best though so...

    Any advice for fixing this problem myself?

    Any way to convert my automatic pump to a non-automatic version with a more dependable float system?

    I do not have a battery backup or secondary pump, any up to date recommendations/advice on these items while I have the cover off and my belly dirty? :rolleyes:

    Thanks in advance folks. Happy holidays to all.

  2. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Chicago, IL
    Eight years out of a sump pump is pretty decent. Zoeller had an issue with their automatic floats many many years ago. If my memory serves me right it was in the early 80's. Other than that their switching mechanism has been just as dependable as most others out there. You can by and replace the switch in the Zoeller pumps as long as the 4 screws holding the pump head turn and are in good condition. Here is the parts list on page 4 you see an exploded view showing you the switch.

    I prefer the Hydromatic pumps, they use a piggy back pressure switch, no moving float to worry about getting stuck on a wall. When their switch fails its just one single screw holding it to the pump. Here is a link talking about HydroMatic's switch
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    I really prefer Zoeller over Hydromatic...
  4. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Chicago, IL
    Trouble with the float switches is clearance issues. Lots of the sump pump pits around here are very small. Its hard to explain to the home owner that their pit was undersized and should be replaced with a proper sized pit. Seems they think the builders have their best interest when building their home. I do like Zoeller as well but with the original mechanical switch, no worries about it getting caught on a wall.
  5. carmel corn

    carmel corn New Member

    I prefer the Hydromatic vs. Zoeller as my primary pump....partly due to the piggyback switch design used by Hydromatic. I will disagree on the diaphragm switch recommendation as I like the SJE Rhombus vertical master mechanical. I specifically like the VS33 because of the upper sleeve bearing design which helps prolong pump motor performance and life as well as the shortened SJE Rhombus vertical master switch mechanism.

    The poster asked for options....if you are convinced your M-53 is undamaged, then I would recommend a slight alternative to opening up the switch housing. You can zip-tie the existing float switch in the up or ON position. Then, buy an SJE Rhombus vertical master switch (ex. PN 1003590). These switches are very easy to install on your main PVC line and then plug the M-53 plug into the piggyback SJE switch.
  6. JasonU

    JasonU New Member

    Thank you all for your replies. I am currently in my 12 hour nights work run which ends tomorrow at which time I will pull the pump and check it out. Currently, I'm keeping the pump unplugged so it doesnt burn up and plugging it in before and after work to drain what little water has accumulated in the pit.

    It is draining that water without issue... it just doesn't shut off when the float gets to the lowest position, it just keeps running and running. So I presume that, yes, the pump is undamaged.

    Pretty sure this isn't an issue for me. My pit is all of 24" across with plenty of room around the pump for the float to raise and lower. Again, the float is working, the pump just doesn't shut off when it gets to the low position.

    This seems like an good alternative to pulling the whole pump (which I'm sure you all could do in 15 minutes and would take me half a day :) )

    Anyone on these boards sell these? I'd prefer to give my business to one of you folks here that's providing your expertise for us non-plumber types.
  7. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Eight years for a Zoeller seems so young.

    I got sixteen out of my last one and it was still going.

    I know you have ruled out changing the pump, but one of the things I love about Zoellers is that they keep the design virtually unchanged throughout the years. This means changing them is very easy. Almost plug and play (although you might need to do a bit of cutting here and glueing there to get the pipe out of the old one) since the dimensions of the old are the same as the new.

    Changing my Zoeller was the first DIY plumbing I ever did.

    And look at the mess that got me into! ;)

    If anyone gets one mail order there might be a small oil leak, if it's tipped upside down during shipping. This is nothing to worry about.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
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