Water-powered backup sump won't pump


  #1  
Old 01-25-17, 11:00 AM
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Water-powered backup sump won't pump

I have a water-powered backup sump that won't pump any water out of the pit... any help would be much appreciated!

Setup:

2 pits
- left pit: electric pump in (working fine), takes water from outside
- right pit: water-powered backup pump
- both pits are connect near top
- valve is open for the house water to the water-powered backup

Problem: the Right pit is full of water (not sure how this water gets there actually), which is the backup pump pit. when i manually engage the float (ball), the backup seems to engage, but no water leaves the pit. Instead, I get a trickle of water coming from just behind the float (where the plate meets the elbow piece, which engages the house water?) back into the pit, slowly raising the water level in the backup pit.

The electric pump is working fine for now, so that's good.

What would cause the water-backup pump to not pump any water out? Also, it is not being filled by water from the left pit, as that level never gets high enough... where is the water coming from on the Right side?

Finally, how can i fix this?

Thanks!

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  #2  
Old 01-25-17, 06:02 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

I tried to find the pump manufacturer based on your picture but did not.

It sounds like the water shutoff valve is leaking.
You may also have a clog in the venturi nozzle.

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When that pump is running it should sound fairly loud as the city water is run thru a nozzle making it very forceful.

I also notice in your picture that your water sump pump water supply line is missing a check valve or double check valve. This is required by code to keep the sump pump water out of the city water supply.

Is that a gas line hanging over your pit ?
 
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Old 01-31-17, 09:49 AM
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Thanks for your reply!

That would be a gas line (runs to water heater to the right of the picture).

Interesting on the check valve - most interesting that it wasn't noted on our home inspection!

I don't get a loud noise when the float is agitated, but just that trickle of water back into the pit.

What can I do to repair the water shutoff valve/unclog the venturi nozzle? Would one or the other make more sense to address first, if only to rule it out?
 
  #4  
Old 01-31-17, 10:51 AM
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Where does the PVC drain pipe (the big white one) terminate? Does it just empty out on the ground outside or somewhere else where you can see it?

When you activate the backup's float, it activates a valve that lets city water flow through the backup and out the drain. That water flows through a narrow passage called a venturi that creates suction to pull water out of the sump and out the drain along with the city water.

So you first need to determine if city water starts flowing through the backup when you actuate the float. If you can see the end of the drain pipe, you should see a steady flow of water when the float the actuated. If you don't, then either there is an obstruction in the nozzle/venture assembly, or the float actuated water valve isn't opening. If you can't see the end of the drain pipe, try turning off the ball valve on the wall behind the pumps and see if you notice a big difference in the sound when you actuate the float. You may also be able to feel whether water is flowing in the pipe.

If water is flowing, but no water is being drawn out of the sump, then you likely have a clog in the suction line into the sump, or, more likely, an obstruction in the nozzle/venturi area.

Fixing any of these issues involves partially disassembling the backup pump. If you can find a make/model nameplate on the pump it would help us give specific advice.
 

Last edited by CarbideTipped; 02-01-17 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 01-31-17, 01:33 PM
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Ok, so the sump drains into a retention pond out behind the house. I'm not sure that I'd be able to tell if water is flowing out, but could check it out when my wife gets home (so one of us can activate the float, while the other is outside).

When I activate the float, it does make noise, like there is water flowing, and of course the water trickle that I mentioned. When I shut off the water valve behind the pits and activate the float, no sound at all.

tried uploading more pictures...not working - I located the check valve and noticed a Guardian B07 serial number label.
 
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Old 01-31-17, 07:55 PM
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The board won't accept large size pictures like directly from a phone.
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html

Here's the PDF manual for the pump.
There is a screw in strainer at the bottom that may be clogged.

ay mcdonald/en-US/Component.html
 
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Old 02-01-17, 07:16 AM
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Thanks for finding the manual - very helpful.

I unscrewed the strainer, and lifted the float while it was unscrewed just to text the suction, and there was still no action. So I replaced the strainer.

I guess we can rule that one out?
 
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Old 02-01-17, 07:44 AM
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So it sounds like the valve is working and city water is flowing...that's good. You've eliminated a plugged strainer. Now it's probably time to pull the pump out and disassemble looking for either an obstruction or an air leak above the water level that would prevent the venturi from developing the vacuum needed to pull water out of the pit.

It looks like there is a union on the water line, and you have the rubber couplings on the check valve on the drain line, so pulling the pump out should not be a big job.
 
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Old 02-01-17, 10:58 AM
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So would this be taking a look at the jet ejector to make sure there were no clogs or things of that sort?
 
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Old 02-01-17, 11:04 AM
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Yes, exactly. And look for any mangled washers or gaskets, or loose bolts/fittings that might be letting air in (and your trickle of water out) because an air leak above water level will prevent the suction needed to draw water from the sump.
 
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Old 02-01-17, 02:12 PM
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The problem has been resolved!

I didn't get as far as the jet ejector, as I figured I would try something a little less involved, just in case.

I removed the back flow preventer (since it was the first thing in line), removed the screen, and used the air compressor on the whole fitting. I replace the back flow preventer with rubber gaskets, and it worked pretty quickly!

It's possible that the screen area had gunk, which I've since heard is the most common issue (lack of pressure, just as you said Paul), or that the fitting need to be adjusted, but either way the back flow prevented was the key.

For anyone who might not know what this piece is: typically brass, connected to the water line but before the pump. City water goes on, is pressurized, then travels on to the pump. It's common that it gets calcium build up in the screen. Mine had gaskets on either side (to the water, and to the pump), each with a rubber fitting (3/4").

Thanks Paul for your guidance. This is truly been a learning experience!
 
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Old 02-02-17, 07:34 AM
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hmmm.

Glad the OP's issue is resolved! Im curious: is cleaning out backflow preventer screens a 'routine maintenance item'--or is it something to be done only in case of problem?

I have a water powered backup in my basement-- just wondering what (if any) maintenance tasks I need to be thinking about... I assumed it was 'set and forget'!
 
  #13  
Old 02-02-17, 10:14 AM
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Every sump pump, and every type of backup, should be tested regularly. For backups, that means disabling the primary pump and, ideally, running enough water into the pit so the backup float actuates and pumps out water.

Regularly to me means once in the later summer (before fall rains) and once in late winter (before snow melt and spring rains). YMMV.

Many battery backup systems have a self test mode that is actuated once a day or once a week automatically, but they don't test the physical action of the float switch, so I still test as above.

In terms of maintenance, once a year I pull the pumps and make sure they don't have gunk or debris in the inlet area. If needed, I use a wet/dry vac to clean out any debris in the sump. It's also not a bad idea to inspect the check valves and make sure they don't have any debris preventing the check from closing. If you have tethered float switches, shake them to make sure they haven't taken on water. On battery backups, keep track of battery age and think about replacing them after 4 or 5 years. Or you can take them to an auto parts place and have them run a load test on them.

To the OP: Kudos for noticing your backup wasn't working! And for solving the problem!
 
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Old 02-02-17, 12:35 PM
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...be careful what you ask for, you just might get it....

Yikes! Unfortunately, every piece of this advice make total sense to me--so I have (yet another) home 'chore' to do annually. Thanks (I think! lol!)!!!

I may 'share' this info elsewhere-- really great advice...
 
 

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