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In the modern, multi-level home, sewer ejector pumps make it possible to move solid waste from drainage points through the septic lines and to the disposal area, whether it is a private septic tank or public sewer system. If you have a sewage ejector pump, you should get familiar with general maintenance needs and signs that the pump is not working properly.
While most sewage ejector pumps are designed to withstand at least 7 to 10 years of use, with some even lasting much longer, occasionally problems do arise long before the pump has reached the end of its life span. Here is a look at two of the most common reasons for premature sewage ejector pump failure.
Bypassing the Float Switch for Long Periods with Direct Power
Sewage ejector pumps have a float switch much like a sump pump, which means when fluid levels reach a point where the float of the unit rises to a certain level, the pump will automatically activate. Sometimes, the float switch will quit working, so homeowners will take the obvious route of bypassing the float switch by supplying the pump with direct power.
While bypassing the float switch temporarily is fine so you can eliminate waste in the holding vessel, this is not a long-term solution. The continuous power supply causes the pump’s motor to run nonstop. Therefore, the pump will burn out faster than it should if left connected to direct power. Instead, you should troubleshoot the float switch and find out why it’s not functioning.
A few of the most common reasons a float switch will stop working include:
  • The float gets trapped so it cannot rise as it should
  • The float gets weighted down by solid matter so it cannot float
  • The float gets jammed due to debris around the switch housing
In most cases, float switch problems are an easy fix, so it is definitely not worth putting your entire sewage ejector pump in danger because you don’t fix the basic problem.
Ignoring Obstructed Discharge Lines While the Pump Runs Continuously
Clogs inside of septic lines can and do occur, and most of the time, your sewage ejector pump will be able to push the waste through the line by running a little longer. However, if you have a major backup of effluent and the pump is running continuously for a long time, it is best to shut off the pump and call a plumber because you likely have an obstruction in your sewage discharge lines.
Obstructions in a sewage discharge line can pose a threat to the life of your pump if they are so large or dense that the pump can’t push waste through. If you do not catch a clogged line right away, your pump will continue to run, which can cause overheating and motor failure with enough time.
Sewage ejector pumps are outfitted with alarms most of the time that are specifically designed to signal homeowners when the pump is overheating, when a backup occurs, or even when the float switch is not functioning. However, it is not uncommon for the ejector pump’s alarm to not be properly hooked up during installation, especially if someone unfamiliar installed the pump.
To avoid putting stress on your ejector pump during discharge line clogs, make sure your alarm is functioning. You should also make an effort to check the pump on occasion for signs of an effluent backup or continuous pumping.
Understanding why sewer ejector pumps fail can help you as the property owner avoid costly problems down the road. If you are having issues with your sewage ejector pump, contact us at Simonds Machinery Company for pump service and repair.

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