Septic water pump issue


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Old 08-02-11, 11:45 PM
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Septic water pump issue

The water pump in my septic system is not working well, two issues:
1. Sometimes the float just wont trigger the pump, even if I lifted it, do I need to replace it or should I look into something? Sometimes it will work (magically), should I replace it?
If I replace do I just replace the head or I replace the wire as well? The one home depot is selling (Flotec Sump Pump Replacement Submersible Float Switch - FP18-15BD at The Home Depot) comes with the wire, thats why I am asking. Replacing the wire is a little troublesome since the wire is buried
2. Sometimes the float started to work (magically), but the pump will be triggered once a minute or so. The reason is that when the pump stops, water will back flow to fill the tank gradually. I am sure the drain field is still working as most of the water is pumped out, just a small amount of water will flow back every time. I dont know if it has a one way check valve, should I install one? (I don't know why it wasn't installed originally so wondering if it's OK to install a one way check valve in a septic water pump)
 
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Old 08-03-11, 03:41 AM
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It sounds like your float switch is failing, intermittently working and not working.

Do NOT leave the access cover to the tank open when you are not there working you don't want a child or animal to fall in and drown. Do NOT go down into the tank. The tank may be filled with sewer gas containing little/no oxygen and you could suffocate. The sewer gas is heavier than air so even with the lid removed it will stay in the bottom.

Turn off the power to the pump tank & alarm. You may have to flip two circuit breakers since they are often on separate circuits. In your pump tank there should be a vertical pipe or rod holding the float switches you should be able to pull it up to the surface so you can remove the switch. There also should be a conduit (pipe) for the wire buried underground running to the control box. Once the bad switch is removed from the vertical riser (pipe or rod) I cut off the float, strip off the wire's insulation for 4-6". Then I tie the end of the new float wire onto the end of the old wire. Then tape it up tightly, trying to not make the splice bigger than the diameter of the wire. In the pump tank look where the wires leave the tank. Often the hole is packed with putty or caulk which needs to be removed so you can pull the wire. After you disconnect the float's wires in the control box pull on it's wire which should pull the new wire through the conduit and up into the control box. Connect the new switch wires in the box and attach the new float at the proper height to the riser pipe and repack the wire's conduit with putty to prevent sewer gas from getting into the control box. Re-install the riser pipe & float switches back into it's base in the pump tank (don't let go of it until you KNOW that it is properly installed). Tie-up excess wire so it cannot get caught in the float switches or pump.
 
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Old 08-03-11, 10:56 AM
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I took a picture of it:


https://picasaweb.google.com/1151647...88895908082642


There is 3 wires coming down, one for float switch, one for alarm swich, one for pump.

so should I just cut that PVC then intall a check valve? there isn't much room for me to work on without getting down to the tank. Are there flexible pipes I can use?

The alarm also not working, if I know how to do it I would replace the whole thing with a panel which contains the alarm. I called a local company they will charge 239 for simple coming to see the issue...
 
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Old 08-03-11, 11:03 AM
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Hi,

You need to upload your pic to a free imaging site like photobucket. Then post the link here.

Please make sure you always work with two people, and have a long ladder readily available or anything else that may be benificial if someone falls in.

As pilot dane stated, please dont take it for granted. You can be seriously injured or death.


If you cut the sewer line you can pull the whole pump out. The internals in the float switch are replaceable. You open up the float and replace the switch.


The second float is a backup if the first one fails. Lift that and post back the outcome. That one sometimes is tied to an alarm.


Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-03-11, 11:30 AM
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Around here the lower float switch is what controls the pump and the upper one is for the alarm.

It looks like you do not have a separate riser for the float switches and they are tied to the pump discharge line. I would get a PVC coupling or union fitting (with preference for the union fitting even though it's more expensive). I would cut the pump discharge line somewhere near the top where you can work without going down the hole. Pull up the pump & replace your float switch. While you have it up I would tie a rope onto the pump. It is not good to be lifting them by the plumbing. Put the pump back in the tank and reconnect the discharge line using the union fitting
 
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Old 08-03-11, 12:59 PM
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Thank very much for the replies!

The upper float is indeed the one which is controlling the alarm - we know that when a service person tolds us before.

based on my situation, do I need to install a check valve?
if yes I would cut the discharge pipe, or else I want to leave the existing pump/pipe untouched, just lift the floats, fix or replace them, then I will tie them to another PVC and put it down (is that the "riser" you are talking about?)
 
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Old 08-03-11, 06:42 PM
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I don't see why you would need a check valve. Some "stuff" will drain back when the pump turns off but it does no harm and it's not worth the maintenance hassle of a check valve if you don't need one.

Since your system was installed without a separate riser for the switches I would not worry about it. The separate riser just makes it easier to replace the float switches without having to pull the pump.
 
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Old 08-03-11, 10:15 PM
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I lifted the uppper float...it seems the float is two round half-ball glued together, there's a plastic nut at where the wire goes into the float, I can unscrew that nut but seems the wire will not come out(should I try to pull it hard?)

I took a picture of it, can't find the manual based on the model. what can I do about the float?

I tried to follow the wires, there seems to be no electric pipe - the wires are buried directly, it will be a pain to dig a trench to install a new wire - I have to take out lots of bricks...The float home depot sells comes with wire, can I buy a float to connect to the existing wire?

 
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Old 08-04-11, 04:59 AM
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Most float switches are not repairable. They are sealed to keep liquids out. Just throw it away and get a new one. They cost about $20. See if you can find anywhere on your old float if it says NO (normally open) or NC (normally closed). Most are normally open which means the switch contacts are open/off when the switch is in the down (tank empty) position and the contacts close letting the current flow to the pump when the switch is in the up (tank full) position.

A nice thing is that most newer switches do not have a top and bottom like yours. They can be installed without worrying about which side is facing up.
 
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Old 08-04-11, 03:14 PM
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I was looking for a float switch then came across this, it's named "Sump Pump Control".
Can I use it for my septic tank pump? This comes with an alarm and my current alarm isn't working

Amazon.com: Electronic Sump Pump Control & Alarm (AU5ES): Home Improvement
AU5ES
 
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Old 08-05-11, 04:55 AM
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You may need something more like one of these control panels. Also, look through your local phone book for "septic tank". You want to find a company that actually supplies or makes the septic tanks, not the people that pump tanks. The septic tank companies often can supply everything you need including the control/alarm boxes.
 
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Old 08-17-11, 07:08 PM
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lift pump problems

well if your float switch is bad and the looks of the pump in the picture i would say u are do for a new pump any way . put in a m53 zoeller sump pump in stall a zoeller high waterfloat switch and panel with a check valve and weep hole below check valve spraying downward to prevent air lock .also helps to clean pit. it will save you in the long run.
 
 

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