sump pump

gnielApril 27, 2011

i bought a home last year and found that both sump pumps were not working so i bought 2 new 1/3 hp pumps. the water level in the pit stayed stationary the whole time the pumps were broken. starting in february when i installed the new ones they have been running every 1-2 minutes continually pumping out about 5 gallons each time. when does it stop? the water table is high in the area. my house is higher then the surrounding homes and i'm pumping the water 50 feet away from the house. other home owners are also pumping water but not to the extent i am. is it a good idea to continue pumping water until it finally slows down or quits (hopefully by the summer when it dries out...the frost went out in early april) or just shut the pumps off because the water reaches a point in the pit where it stays the same. any advise would be appreciated. thanks

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If you are using a submersible pump, the float switch only has about 6" of free play before the pump turns on. A pedestal pump has about and 18" adjustment on the float before it turns the pump on. There has been a very high water table this spring across the country and the water table given very little rain will not drop for some time.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 10:35AM
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You have several questions, I'll try to answer all. Sump pumps are designed to be easily replaceable and you probably realize this after replaceing yours. If you can cut plastic pipe, solvent glue fittings, screw fittings to pump, operate a screw driver and plug cords into receptacles - Then you can replace a sump pump. When you said both pumps were burned out, this is unusual, but common causes can explain why this may have happened.

One common cause that leads to pump failure is the lack of a "Check" valve. As the pump forces water up and out of the sump the pipe fills with water until it reaches a "Gravity" line. The best design for a sump pump is to only pump verticaly and not horizontaly. If the pump is selected with the right head pressure you can pump horizontaly. When the pump shuts off, the check valve (located in the vertical piping) shuts and prevents water from flowing back into the sump basin. If there is no check valve, the volume of water in the vertical pipe flows back into the basin raising the float switch and may be enough to turn the pump back on. The will cause the pump to cycle on and off until the pump finally overheats and burns out. A common cause for pump failure.

Another cause would be the float adjustment. If you have a submersible pump with a float switch on a cable, these are adjustable. if the float has too much cable, the switch can get hung up on the pump, piping, cable, side of basin and if stuck in the on position, the pump will pump the water out and quickly overheat and burn out. If the float switch is too short the pump "Short Cycles" on and off and will eventually overheat again and burn out. The water in the sump cools the pump and therefore the pumping cycle should be long enough so the pump can remain in the off position long enough to cool down. Spend some time adjusting the float to maintain the highest high, but making sure it shuts off with 3"-4" of water in the basin (Or consult the manufacturers recommended settings) Zip tie any extra power cord to the discharge pipe to prevent the float from tangling up. Float switches can also go bad, newer pumps have a seperate switch so you can plug the pump in without the switch to test it.

Another cause for pump failure is foreign objects getting into the basin. Although the pump has a mesh screen that catches most debris, a nail, wood sliver or similar object can penetrate the screen and obstruct the impeller again causing the pump to burn out. Keep the basin clean and covered.

Another cause for overworking the pump would be not pumping the water far enough away from the house thus the water flows back to the foundation finding its way back into the basin. The gravity pipe should spill to a hard surface and flow away from the foundation or the gravity pipe should spill to an exterior basin and be piped underground away from the foundation.

One last issue, Lowes carried a certain manufacturer which recalled all their stock because of a design flaw. The manufacturer got tied of recieving burned out pumps so they bought back all defective stock and redesigned the pumps.I can't say which manufacturer for obvious reasons.

Hope this helps with any issues you may have,

Stay dry,

Take Care,


    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 5:21PM
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Dan...hope you are still here. Can you contact me via e-mail. We have had continued problems with a certain sump pump and the switch failing. Of course we return it and get another one due to the warranty, but changing it out is a pain.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 12:19PM
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