The Ins and Outs of Sewage Ejector Pumps
Normally, your plumbing system gets a little help from gravity to direct waste from your home. In certain situations, such as a bathroom in a finished basement, the waste must be forced up in order to be removed from the home. This is when a sewage ejector pump becomes an essential piece of equipment.
How Does a Sewage Ejector Pump Work?
In basements, the shower, sink, and toilet are all located below the level of the pipes. This means that gravity cannot help circulate water to ensure effective waste removal. The solution is an ejector pump. Most homes have a single pump equipped with a float; however, it is possible to install a backup pump for added insurance against a messy sewage backup. Most models are equipped with sensors and alarms to alert you if there is a problem with the system.
The pump has a tank that holds a certain amount of waste. As the tank fills up, the float rises. Once the float reaches a certain level, the pump cycles on and ejects the waste from the home. Some systems work similar to a garbage disposal by grinding the waste into a slurry that can travel through the plumbing more easily. As the tank empties, the float drops down and the tank cycles off.
Maintaining Sewage Ejector Pumps:
A well-maintained ejector pump should provide years of reliable service. We recommend that homeowners contact a licensed plumber at least once a year for routine maintenance on their pump. The technician should clean the pump, remove any debris that is stuck inside the tank, inspect the float, oil the motor, and assess the overall condition of the pump.
The majority of pump failures are due to misuse. Other than waste, toilet paper is the only thing that should be flushed. Q-tips, dental floss, condoms, disposable wipes, and feminine hygiene products should never be flushed. These items can damage the impeller that chops up and extracts the waste and even cause the motor to lock up. Damage caused by misuse can even void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Are Sewage Ejector Pumps Expensive?
A small, 3,000 gallon-per-hour pump typically costs in the neighborhood of $200 to $300 while large-capacity pumps can run close to $1,000. This is a small investment to pay to keep your plumbing system running problem free.
Signs That It Is Time to Replace Your Ejector Pump:
Flooding and sewage backup are the most obvious signs that your ejector pump needs to be repaired or replaced. You should also contact a service professional if you notice a foul odor or if the pump starts making unusual noises. If repairing the pump is not feasible, a licensed plumbing professional can recommend a suitable replacement pump.