Sewage Pump FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q. What size solids will my sewage pump handle?
A. A pump labeled as a “sewage” pump can pass up to 2” solids through it. A pump labeled as an “effluent” pump can handle up to ¾” solids.
Q. When you say “solids” what do you mean?
A. “Solids” do not mean things like bolts and stones. We are talking about things that normally get passed through drains or flushed down a toilet. Most sewage pumps have a thermoplastic impeller that could be damaged by very hard items. In general, we’re talking about things that could be broken up by human hands.
Q. Are these also called “grinder pumps”?
A. No. Technically speaking, a “grinder” pump has an impeller that is made like blades. It can cut up, or grind up the sewage being passed through it. Ours do not do that. Our sewage pumps are called “solids handling” pumps since they simply pass the solids through mostly in tact.
Q. Do I have to use such a large discharge pipe or can I use smaller?
A. Never use a smaller diameter pipe than the size of the pump’s discharge. Use minimum 2” pipe. You may even have to use larger diameter pipe if you have to push a long distance. Be careful with this though. See the next question. . . . .
Q. Can I use a much larger pipe without problems?
A. If a pipe of too large a diameter is used, the flow rate of the discharge can be too slow. This can cause the solids to settle out and lay in the pipe. Over time, the sludge that builds up will cause blockages in the pipe. The minimum flow rate of sewage and other liquids containing solids is 3 feet per second. If you are designing a sewage run for your home, consult an engineer or call our customer support line for help in determining proper pipe sizes.
Q. Can I plug this pump into an extension cord?
A. We very strongly recommend that you NOT use an extension cord. It is MUCH better to plug the pump into a dedicated outlet that is fed by a circuit breaker or fuse that feeds power ONLY to that outlet. This ensures that the pump will receive proper voltage. If there is no outlet near the sump pit, we recommend you have one installed there by a professional electrician.
Q. Does the check valve NEED to be installed horizontally instead of vertically?
A. We (as well as others) recommend you install the check valve in a horizontal (side-to-side) position instead of vertical (up-and-down). When the pump shuts off, the solids and liquid in the pipe will settle back against the check valve. If solids settle on top of a check valve flapper in a vertical position, it’s possible for them to stick that flapper valve shut and the next time the pump runs it might not be able to open it up. This will cause the pump to run without discharging the waste. The pump will run and run long enough that it could damage itself, and your sewage or effluent could back up.
Q. Can I use this sewage pump to pump water in my waterfall, pond, or water feature?
A. No. Sewage pumps are designed for short periods of operation. Running a sewage pump for too long can cause the pump to overheat. It is also oil-filled. If fish waste attacks the pump seals, or it overheats, that oil can be discharged into your water feature. That will kill the fish and plants. When it cools, it will draw water up inside the pump motor which will kill the pump. Using a sewage pump any place where water recirculates is not recommended and will void the warranty.
Q. Do you have pumps with longer cords? My outlet is pretty far from where the pump will be.
A. Some pumps can be ordered with a longer cord. We also sell longer power cords for some of our pumps. Call our customer support department for more details.
Q. Can I pump other liquids with this pump?
A. Our sewage and effluent pumps are designed to pump things that usually go down the drain in a residential setting. We have not tested the pumps with other liquids and cannot say whether they will be chemically compatible with what you need to pump. In short, we don’t recommend our sewage/effluent pumps for anything other than residential sewage or effluent applications. Never pump anything flammable with any of our pumps!
Q. What’s the difference between “sewage” and “effluent”?
A. Basically, we’re talking about the size of the solids in the liquid. Effluent is any liquid that has gone down a residential drain. It can contain solids up to ¾” in size. This is normally considered to be water containing soap, laundry discharge, water from sinks, etc. Sewage has also gone down a residential drain but can contain solids up to 2” in diameter.
Q. Can I use a vertical-type, or electronic-type float switch instead of the tethered float switch that came with the pump?
A. We supply a tethered-style float switch with our pumps because other types may have problems. The solids contained in sewage & effluent can block the operation of a vertical-style switch. The contents of sewage & effluent can coat the contacts of an electronic-type switch and prevent that from working very long.
Q. Can the pump handle feminine products that have been flushed down a toilet?
A. No. Feminine products should not be flushed when a sewage pump has to handle that. Sewage pumps can have problems passing those items and could become jammed.
Q. What size generator do I need to run this pump?
A. You need to know the amp draw of the pump and multiply that by the voltage to get the watt usage of the pump. Example: Pump draws 5 amps on 115 volts. 5amps x 115volts = 575 watts.
We also need to consider the fact that an AC motor can draw three to five times its regular amp draw for about ½ second when it starts up. So to run our example pump, we need a generator that can supply a startup surge of at least 2875 watts (575 x 5) and can continue to supply the 575 watts as the pump runs.
Keep in mind this is accurate if the pump is the ONLY thing the generator is going to supply power for. If you also want to run lights, etc. then that needs to be added to the generator size.
Q. How do I register the warranty on my new pump?
A. We do not ask you to register the warranty. Your receipt is your proof-of-purchase. Keep the receipt safe. If anything happens and the warranty comes into play, your receipt is the proof of warranty eligibility.
Q. How long should my sewage pump last?
A. This is almost impossible to answer. It’s much like asking how long your sofa, your sink, or your car will last. It simply depends too much on how often the pump has to run. If you have a small sewage pit, and you have several people in the home, the pump will have to run a lot more than someone with a larger pit and one or two people in the house. Naturally, the pump that runs more is not going to last as long as the one that doesn’t have to work as hard. Choosing a pump that is properly sized to your application and has good electrical supply connected to it will ensure the longest possible life for your pump.
Q. Can I use a sewage pump for my waterfall, koi pond, or garden pond aeration?
A. No. Sewage pumps are designed for short periods of operation. Running a sewage pump for too long can cause the pump to overheat. It is also oil-filled. If it overheats, that oil can be discharged into your water feature. That will kill the fish and plants. When it cools, it will draw water up inside the pump motor which will kill the pump. Using a sewage pump any place where water recirculates is not recommended and will void the warranty.
Q. Do you have, or can you recommend, service people that can come to my house and work on the pump?
A. We sell all of our products through “do-it-yourself” types of stores. We do not have any people that can come work on your system. Likewise, it is impossible for us to maintain lists of “qualified” people that we could recommend. You would need to check your local “Yellow Pages” etc. for qualified people.
Q. Where can I get repair parts for my pump, or accessories I might need?
A. Repair parts that are listed in your manual can be ordered directly through the store where you bought your pump; or can be ordered directly through us. In most cases, the store is able to special-order the parts (they won’t stock them) and sell you the parts for less than you would pay by ordering through the factory. Also, they usually do not charge shipping charges (we do). It is best to talk to someone at the store’s “Special Orders” desk. Have our toll-free number and the part number that you need with you. If the person at the store does not know how to order parts, please have them call us while you are there. If ordering directly from us, you would normally receive your order in 7-10 business days. Expedited processing and shipping is available at additional cost. We accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express (not Discover).
Q. I think I have a warranty issue with my pump. How do I proceed?
A. We generally proceed with warranty through the point-of-purchase. Any authorized retailer of our pumps can handle warranty replacement. The other way to process warranty is directly through us. If you wish to pursue this method, call us first. Keep in mind that a warranty states the item will be “free from
defects in material and workmanship”. Warranty does NOT cover normal wear, damage caused after the item leaves the factory, rust or corrosion, etc.
PLEASE NOTE: Most stores do not want or just won’t accept a sewage pump back in their store (for obvious reasons). It is best to call the store first and find out how they want to proceed with warranty replacement.
Q. Where can I find the model number and date of manufacture on my pump?
A. For all sump, sewage, and utility pumps we attach a tag near the end of the power cord that shows the pump’s model number and date code. The date code will be marked as “date code”, “code”, or “MOD”. Also, all pumps have an info label on the pump that has the model number and date code on it. Date code is usually a combination of letters and numbers.