Sump Pump Float Stuck

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Old 12-19-07, 09:11 AM
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Sump Pump Float Stuck

We moved into a 10 year old home bought from the original owners about a year ago. It has a sump pump that has been very reliable through a dry summer then sudden downpours this Fall and Winter.

We went to a friend's house on Sunday while it rained/snow melted and came back to the house. About an hour after we came home I went downstairs to find our carpets soaked and little puddles on the concrete part of the basement (finished, with concrete walkway painted). It must have retreated somehow.

Sure enough our sump pit was filled to the brim. Not being savvy with sump pumps (first time home owners) we had Roto Rooter come in to check it. Imagine my embarrassment when he shook the discharge pipe and it started up. He said the float had gotten stuck and this was the 4th house he had been to where this happened.

We stood there and watched the water come in (had some catching up to do) and it started right up again. I have had one ear on it since and it has been starting up just fine.

Of course now as we look to replace carpets, etc- I am concerned about this happening again. Is it a symptom of a bigger problem, or goes with the territory of a sump? My parents had two and mom said it did it occasionally. Problem is, if we aren't home we can't watch to make sure it doesn't stick again.

We have not cleaned it out or looked in there since we moved in, and I don't know what kind of pump it is or if switch has been serviced. I assume Zoeller that was installed when the house was built.

My husband thinks I am worrying a bit much, but I am concerned about replacing all this stuff only to have it fail again. The pump itself seems fine.

Suggestions?
 
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Old 12-19-07, 01:54 PM
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Have a professional plumber come in and check out the pump. It could be as simple as re-attaching or relocating the float switch so that it is secure and won't get hung up and is able to move freely. Also have him check the switch to make sure that is is working properly. There are alarm kits with a seperate switch that you can install in the sump to sound off when the water reaches a high level.
Whatever you do, get someone who knows sump pump systems. They are very simple devices, but little silly things in their operation can cause major damage if a malfunction occurs. Good Luck! GS
 
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Old 12-19-07, 02:00 PM
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Thanks!

Any estimate of how much that would cost, or the neighborhood?
 
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Old 12-19-07, 03:04 PM
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The alarm kit is around 100.00.

Cant be more than a few hundred to check existing and install new alarm kit. GS
 
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Old 12-19-07, 03:45 PM
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Sump Pump Float Stuck

What do you do when the alarm goes off during a week-end night when there are no repair parts or repair services are available?

Since you have a pump that does need to run on a periodic basis(not sit idle for a few months), a back-up is cheap insurance.

You can always buy a cheap pump, put it on the shelf and use it to dump the water down any drain in an emergency. Probably less than $100 for peace of mind. - Ever tried to drag out a wet carpet and have no insurance?
 
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Old 12-19-07, 04:24 PM
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Ive been to alot of houses where the complaint was "I had to shake the pipe and then it ran". Sometimes the float was actually hanging up on something inside the pit-sometimes not. You really have to watch it for awhile as the float doesn't always "float" the way you think it would. If in doubt-replace it. As for an alarm, you are right in the fact that it's only good if your home to hear it. Google Metropolitan industries and go to residential-controls/alarms. They have a dialer that will call you in the event of high water. Also keep a back-up pump handy for those late night problems.
 
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Old 12-20-07, 08:38 AM
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Our friend who cleans out his sump pump every year showed my husband how to do it last night so hopefully he will get in there and clean it out and check to see the lines aren't tangling.

We are looking into a battery backup- any suggestions as to a good one?

Thanks everyone!
 
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Old 12-20-07, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by MollieJL View Post
We are looking into a battery backup- any suggestions as to a good one?
These are the ones I see that still seem to working after a few years:

http://www.basementwatchdog.com/batt..._sump_pump.htm

I've had occasion t talk to their tech support, and they were very helpful.

If you are on a municipal water system, you might want to consider a backup powered by water pressure:

http://www.do-it-yourself-pumps.com/homeguard.htm

usually municipalities have a generator that keeps their pumps up during outages
 
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Old 12-21-07, 05:07 AM
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I would highly recommend a backup battery operated sump pump. I recently had a Pro Series 2200 installed, which I believe is the equivelent of the the top of the line Basement Watchdog. It will run not only during a power outage, but also runs off regular AC power in case your main pump quits for any reason. Do a google search for Pro Series 2200. If you cannot install it yourself, hire someone to install it. I have had 2 power outages in the past year, and it was nice not to have to worry about getting home and cleaning up a mess. Piece of mind is priceless! Good luck.
 
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Old 01-08-08, 09:10 AM
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hi everyone,

Sump and float been acting fine. Going to get the mid-grade Watchdog system here soon to have a battery backup.

I look down there through the hole (cover sealed on, so husband will have to find a way to get down there- any suggestions?) It looks like the ball float is only about 3-4 inches away from the corrugated pipe that brings in all the water. Wondering if it got stuck under/to it to make it not go on until the plumber shook it. We'll have to see when he cleans and and see if we can reposition.

Quick question, is it possible to replace a tethered float switch with w vertical action? Or do you have to stay with the same kind it used?
 
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Old 01-08-08, 04:06 PM
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sump pump float options

you can replace the tethered type float with a vertical action, diaphragm / psi or electronic floodfree switch. All will work if your pump has a piggy-back type plug or there are to cords coming out of your pit plugging into each other at the wall outlet. If not and you have a switch which is wired directly into the MOTOR housing then tie it up in the on position and use one of the above mentioned switches. Also switches which are on verge of going bad will stick (contacts) inside them. If you have to shake the pump / pipe then get a new switch or pump and make sure the switch is suitable with your setup. Backup pumps are a must.

The phcc pumps are great backup pumps. The water powered backup pumps like the water commander are top notch. Water alarms BWD-HW for $23 are a great idea. I put one next to every toilet, bathtub, sink, aquarium etc. All can be seen at pumpbiz.com if needed.
 
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Old 01-09-08, 08:39 AM
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Nope, just one cord/plug as far as I can see. So, pretty sure the float is wired into the pump itself.

Stormed last night and sump chugged away just fine.

Will still get battery backup, will still have Hubby clean it out and spot check the float/keep an eye on it- but I really think it just got stuck after a few hard rains and a big snow melt.
 
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Old 01-09-08, 12:30 PM
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Please understand that battery back-up pumps are not "install and forget" solutions. You need to periodically "exercise" the battery-operated system and you also need to maintain the battery.

Once a month unplug the house-powered pump and then pour in enough water to activate the back up pump. If you have a "sealed" or "no maintenance" battery it probably will need to be replaced every couple of years. A non-sealed battery needs the water checked every month or perhaps more often.

Don't forget to plug the main pump back in after checking the battery pump.
 
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Old 01-09-08, 01:16 PM
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Oh yes, I know. I would plan on checking all that anyway, but thank you for the reminder!
 
 

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