The sewage ejector pump is a key component of your home's plumbing system. Its job is to grind waste and pump it into the main sewer line. Occasionally, the pump will become blocked or stop running, but these problems are easy to fix for DIY-oriented homeowners. Here is a step-by-step guide for repairing your sewage ejector pump.
Make Sure the Pump is Getting Power
If your pump is humming but not ejecting sewage, or isn't running at all, it may simply not be getting the electricity it needs to run. The first thing you should check is the breaker for the ejector pump's circuit. If the breakers are not labeled, have a helper stand near the pump to listen for it to turn on as you reset the breakers.
If resetting the breaker does not solve the problem, the next step is to inspect the outlet that the pump is plugged into. Unplug the pump, remove the outlet cover, and use a circuit tester to check the outlet for power. If the outlet is faulty, replace it and try reconnecting the pump. If your pump is plugged in using an extension cord, try plugging it into the outlet directly or using an extension cord with a heavier gauge.
Replace the Float Switch
When you unplugged the pump, you likely saw that there were two electrical cords running out of the pump that are plugged in with a piggyback plug. The piggyback plug is connected to the pump's float switch, and the normal plug is connected to the pump's motor. If your pump's motor starts running when you remove the piggyback plug and plug the motor in directly, you have a faulty float switch.
The float switch is a bobber inside the pump that turns the motor on when the waste inside the pump reaches a certain height. You can purchase an affordable float switch at a plumbing supply store and easily replace it yourself. To replace the switch, first use a socket or adjustable wrench to disconnect the clamps on the waste pipe, then remove the vent pipe. You can now loosen the bolts on the ejector pit lid and lift the pump out of the pit.
You should be able to locate the removable compartment that houses the float switch after you have lifted the pump out of the pit. On most pumps, it will be on the top, but this may vary depending on the model that you have. Remove the compartment by removing the screws that are holding it in place.
Before you remove the old switch, take note of where the switch's wires are connected inside the pump. Install the new switch in exactly the same configuration, lower the pump back into the pit, replace the pit cover, and reconnect the pipes. When the pump is plugged in with the piggyback plug, you should find that it is ejecting waste like normal again.
Replace the Check Valve
If wastewater is overflowing from your ejector pump onto your basement floor, the check valve will need to be replaced. The check valve is installed in the waste pipe and is responsible for preventing waste from flowing back up into your basement.
Before you remove the old check valve, be sure to turn off the shutoff valve on the waste pipe. The shutoff valve is usually installed a few inches above the check valve and is turned off by turning the red handle counter-clockwise. To remove the check valve, use a screwdriver to loosen the clamps holding in in place and slide it out of the waste pipe. Install the new check valve by sliding both ends into the waste pipe and re-tightening the clamps.
Many of the most common sewage ejector pump problems can be solved with simple, affordable repairs. Use these tips the next time your pump stops working so you can save the time and expense of calling a professional plumber. If these tips don't solve your problem, or if you'd rather not do them yourself, then contact a local sewer pump repair company like Forrest Sewer Pump Service.