Gating down sump discharge pipe

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Old 03-23-08, 09:14 AM
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Gating down sump discharge pipe

I recently replaced my 1/3hp sump pump with a 1/2 hp model. Thinking bigger was better, I'm now questioning that. When my pump runs (alot lately), it only kicks on for about 3-4 seconds. The more powerful pump forcefully empties the pit and than shuts off. I'm concerned the short cycling is very hard on the pump and may lead to premature burnout.

One of the regular contributors here suggested "gating" down the discharge pipe to make the cycle time increase due to more friction loss. He advised this would be actually BETTER for the pump. I have been trying to converse with him via PM's but am not having much luck. Does anybody else have any advice on this? My pump runs ALOT this time of year due to a very high water table on my home. I have a quarter-turn shut-off above my checvkvalve which i can slightly close if you think this is a good idea. (pvc-ball-check-valve.jpg). Please let me know if you have any additional advice.

Thanks, Mark
 
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Old 03-23-08, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Lernin az I go View Post
When my pump runs (alot lately), it only kicks on for about 3-4 seconds. The more powerful pump forcefully empties the pit and than shuts off. I'm concerned the short cycling is very hard on the pump and may lead to premature burnout.
"Short cycling" is a term that usually refers to the frequency of pump cycles, not the length of their duration. In other words, you want your pump to start/cycle as infrequently as possible regardless of how long it actually runs each time it does cycle. To make your pump's run times as long as possible, set your float switch so your sump volume will go from nearly full to nearly empty each time the pump runs.

Originally Posted by Lernin az I go View Post
One of the regular contributors here suggested "gating" down the discharge pipe to make the [run] time increase ...
Just like with a vacuum cleaner, a pump motor does less work and even draws a little less power when its flow rate is partially restricted. Throttling a water pump too greatly can cause it too overheat when there is little water passing through to take motor heat away, but a little restriction could lengthen the run time of your sump pump if you want it to run longer each time it runs ... and globe valves are best for that kind of thing. But, I do use a quarter-turn ball valve to restrict the flow in my hot water recirculation line. The issue with ball or gate valves for throttling is erosion. Globe valves are designed for that purpose and will last longer.

Originally Posted by Lernin az I go View Post
My pump runs ALOT this time of year due to a very high water table on my home.
The more water it pumps during each cycle, the fewer times it will start/cycle ... and that is a key factor related to pump life. How long the pump runs each time it cycles is a secondary issue.
 
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Old 03-23-08, 06:03 PM
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Thanks for the info. I still am confused a bit though. When it is raining a lot or during the winter thaw, sometimes the pump will run every minute and a half. Again, it only runs for 3-4 seconds since the float is one that is attached to the pump. see link (http://www.amazon.com/Wayne-Cast-Iro...6320434&sr=8-4

I don't think this type of float/switch is adjustable. Anyway, if I understand your advice, you are not recommending gating down my discharge pipe????

Please re-clarify this if possible. I don't want to cause more problems.

Thanks again.
Mark
 
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Old 03-23-08, 06:51 PM
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My pump also cycles a lot. I tried the trick of moving the float and getting more water per cycle. Before I did that, the pump was set up in such a way that the top of the housing would never be under water. Once I moved the float, the entire pump would be under, sometimes for days on end. After a few months, the pump failed because the screws on top rusted away, and the oil inside the housing came out all over the pit.

My point......these pumps are designed with those floats for a reason. Yes, you may get longer life with less cycles and more water per cycle, etc. but these so-called submersible pumps are only submersible to a point. I am not saying there aren't pumps out there that can stay under water for years without a problem, but given the pump you have (similar to the one I had), I'd leave it alone.
 
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Old 03-24-08, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Lernin az I go View Post
... sometimes the pump will run every minute and a half. Again, it only runs for 3-4 seconds since the float is one that is attached to the pump.
How long a pump runs is not a big issue, but starting every minute-and-a-half certainly is. Is there any way you could make your sump larger so there will be more water to move each time the pump starts?

Originally Posted by Lernin az I go View Post
I don't think this type of float/switch is adjustable.
Yes, I see that. What fx has said seems to be a dilemma here. With the switch being mounted on the top of that short pump, your high level in your sump is greatly limited. If I were you, and if the depth of your sump is at least twice the height of that pump, I would get a pedestal pump with that same kind of float and switch, but with a much longer rod on the float so you can use the full capacity of your sump. Or, you could get a pump similar to what you already have but with a float switch on a tether.

Originally Posted by Lernin az I go View Post
Anyway, if I understand your advice, you are not recommending gating down my discharge pipe????
There would be nothing wrong with doing that to make your pump run a little longer each time it runs (like maybe 6 or 8 seconds total), but that is not going to extend its life since it will still start again in a minute-and-a-half after it stops. To lengthen your pump's cycle and reduce the frequency of its starts, you need to pump significantly more water each time your pump runs.
 
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Old 03-25-08, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by fxcarden View Post
My pump also cycles a lot. I tried the trick of moving the float and getting more water per cycle. Before I did that, the pump was set up in such a way that the top of the housing would never be under water. Once I moved the float, the entire pump would be under, sometimes for days on end. After a few months, the pump failed because the screws on top rusted away, and the oil inside the housing came out all over the pit.

My point......these pumps are designed with those floats for a reason. Yes, you may get longer life with less cycles and more water per cycle, etc. but these so-called submersible pumps are only submersible to a point. I am not saying there aren't pumps out there that can stay under water for years without a problem, but given the pump you have (similar to the one I had), I'd leave it alone.
Now things are making more sense. I think the best option for me would be to get the float on a tether style on/off switch pump. Any recommendations for a brand? Also, do you think seitching back to a 1/3hp pump (original size that came with the house) would help things?

Thanks for all the great input!
Mark
 
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Old 03-25-08, 03:45 AM
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The smaller motor would likely be sufficient and less expensive. I have had good success with Wayne pumps, and some people say to stay away from Flotec.
 
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Old 03-25-08, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Lernin az I go View Post
Now things are making more sense. I think the best option for me would be to get the float on a tether style on/off switch pump. Any recommendations for a brand? Also, do you think seitching back to a 1/3hp pump (original size that came with the house) would help things?

Thanks for all the great input!
Mark
1/3 HP is more than enough. The Wayne pump I had corroded on the top as I mentioned, and so did another Flotec I had in the second pit (I have 2 pits on opposite corners of the basement). I have since recognized that these pumps are only PARTIALLY submersible. I use them as designed and they seem to last a lot longer that way.

If you really want a long throw, switch to a pedestal pump and you can let your pit fill up and set up the float so that it will empty the entire pit each time.
 
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Old 03-25-08, 04:55 PM
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If you want to change your pump, I agree that a pedestal pump will give you a nice long cycle and it's easy to adjust. I have that style of pump in both of my pits. Submersible pumps are Ok and needed for radon problems that require a sealed pit but I'm sticking with the pedestals. Something about an electric motor under water doesn't thrill me.
 
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Old 03-25-08, 06:01 PM
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IMHO - a good submersible with the right kind of switch is the way to go. Most submersibles that come with vertical shaft switches only allow about a 4 inch on/off range. Ones with tethered floats can allow a longer range, but the mechanisms are less reliable. A quality cast iron submersible such as a Hydromatic VS-33 (remove factory switch) or Zoeller N-53 (not M-53) will provide many years of service. These are both far superior than the Wayne or Flotec junk. The key is to then match them with a switch that will enable longer cycles. An SJE Rhombus Vertical Master has nearly a 6 inch on/off cycle. SJE Rhombus also makes a double float switch which allows you to space the cycle even further. Both of these switches feature a piggyback design. Both switches can be replaced without removing the pump. Don't bother with trying to restrict the output flow....stick to a basic 1.5 inch discharge and keep the switch mechanisms clean.
 
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Old 03-26-08, 08:23 PM
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Thank you all for your input. So you're saying that if I buy a Zoeller pump I should remove the on/off switch that comes with it and buy one of the SJE Rhombus ones? Will it fit? I've never even tried to alter a factory pump before. Also, I can't go with a pedestal since my pit is bolted down with a sealed lid. I think this is for Radon in my county. I do have a radon vent in my basement too.
 
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Old 03-26-08, 08:26 PM
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Hey Pumpguy,
I had been trying to PM you....don't know why we couldn't communicate that way??? Anyway, the pedestal pump won't work with my sealed pit. I'm guessing I don't want to remove the lid so I could go pedestal style???
 
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Old 03-27-08, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Lernin az I go View Post
Thank you all for your input. So you're saying that if I buy a Zoeller pump I should remove the on/off switch that comes with it and buy one of the SJE Rhombus ones? Will it fit? I've never even tried to alter a factory pump before. Also, I can't go with a pedestal since my pit is bolted down with a sealed lid. I think this is for Radon in my county. I do have a radon vent in my basement too.
Zoeller factory pump switches tend to fail after 200,000 cycles. You can buy one without the switch (ex. N-53) and then acquire a separate rhombus switch (vertical master model is very compact!). If you go with Hydromatic pumps, the switches are all piggyback designs and are attached only by a single fastener/bolt to the pump unit. Hydromatic models come with different switch options. A VS-33 is a great pump with a "shortened" vertical master switch already attached. Only problem is that it's on/off cycle is shorter vs. the nearly 6 inch range if you bought the vertical master switch separately.
 
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Old 03-27-08, 08:45 AM
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Smile

Originally Posted by Carmel Corn View Post
Zoeller factory pump switches tend to fail after 200,000 cycles. You can buy one without the switch (ex. N-53) and then acquire a separate rhombus switch (vertical master model is very compact!). If you go with Hydromatic pumps, the switches are all piggyback designs and are attached only by a single fastener/bolt to the pump unit. Hydromatic models come with different switch options. A VS-33 is a great pump with a "shortened" vertical master switch already attached. Only problem is that it's on/off cycle is shorter vs. the nearly 6 inch range if you bought the vertical master switch separately.
Thanks for the clarification Carmel. I will start my search for a Zoeller N-53! Thanks. Mark
 
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Old 03-27-08, 03:52 PM
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We have been having problems with the SJE Rhombus vertical master switch. The problem seems to be only with the vertical master 11(10vmd111wp). We have been getting alot back that are sticking in the on position. If you get one get the 10vm1wp. The difference is the VM11 has a micro switch and the VM1 has contact points.
 
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Old 03-27-08, 06:48 PM
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Good point! The 10vm1wp (part #1003590) is a proven/reliable switch and is the version that I use in my own home. I was thinking the micro switch version "II" also had more restrictions on the amperage capacity of the pump it could operate as well (vs. the original). I don't think the Rhombus website even references the micro switch version.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 04:09 PM
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The vm II is only good for 10 running amps. The original vm will take 13.
 
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