Ejector Pump Maintenance and Troubleshooting

by Vincent West

Many inventions have been made to make life more comfortable, healthy and sustainable. One such invention is the ejector pump. Although many people may overlook its importance because of its dirty job, the ejector pump ensures that household waste is disposed of in the right way and keeps the homeowner safe from contamination and diseases.

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Nearly every homeowner relies on the ejector pump's functionality which is why its imperative to learn at least some diagnostic skills. The durability of your pump is critical or you will need to make repairs when it  breaks down.

Ejector Pump Types

There are several models and makes of ejector pumps on the market today, but they all perform the same function of pumping solid and liquid waste to sewer systems or septic tanks. Most American homes use smaller submersible pumps while commercial buildings and establishments may require more complicated ejectors powerful enough to grind a small bike.

The price of ejector pumps significantly differ, and they are majorly determined by the size of the pump. For most homeowners, ejector pumps are the least of their worries, but when the pump fails, that is when they realize the exceptional job that the pump does of disposing of the household waste. When the pump fails to function, it can lead to a disturbing situation where the waste may mess your basement and odor fill your house.

This is why you should have some basic knowledge of troubleshooting ejector pumps to identify what may have caused the failure and avoid calling the plumber routinely. The next time your pump fails to function, do not press the panic button too soon because troubleshooting an ejector is not too complicated as one would assume.

How An Ejector Pump Works

To start with, it is important to know how ejector pumps work. An ejector has pit chamber where solid and liquid waste is suspended after it is flushed from your home.

From the way it is built, it is meant to handle smaller solid particles; hence, some ejector pumps have a grinder to break down larger solids. As the waste accumulates and rises in the pit chamber, a switch is actuated when the waste reaches a specific level, and pressure is released to push the debris into the sewer system or a septic tank.

Before troubleshooting for problems in your pump, it is important to identify the model of pump that you are using since there are steam jet pumps, mechanical pumps, and grinder pumps.

Safety first

You cannot overlook the fact that these pumps are contaminated with all types of household waste. You should be careful while handling them to avoid possible infections or other serious health risks. Before making any repairs or when troubleshooting, you should wear protective gear to avoid contact with waste and germs. For advanced problems,  get professional help.

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Troubleshooting Various Ejector Pump Issues

When the pump is not cycling

  • Solution 1: there are a few reasons that could make your ejector pump to stop cycling. One of them is lack of electricity.

If your pump is not cycling, be sure to check the power connection in the power outlet. You can test the socket with a light bulb to establish if there is electric flow. If the outlet is not receiving power, try replacing the fuse and check the outlet again. Be sure to contact a professional electrician if you cannot find the electrical problem by yourself.

  • Solution 2: if you have a pump with the float design switch, you can try to manipulate it using a plastic coat hanger and try to engage it.

If the pump still does not cycle, you can opt to replace the switch with a piggy switch. If the switch replacement does not work, it may be time to replace your pump.

  • Solution 3: for pumps with a floating actuator, you may try to lift the float higher.

In some cases, the pump will start to cycle hence indicating that your actuator is not floating to the required level. You can solve this by cleaning to remove debris on the float so that the float becomes lighter.

  • Solution 4: Ejectors with a floating switch design often run into this problem.

Most of the time, the manufacturer will also warn the homeowner that the switch may need constant replacement. What happens is that with time, the wire insulation absorbs moisture and droops. When the wire drops, it means that actuation is affected or a short circuit may occur. You may try to straighten the cords or replace the switch for the ejector to start cycling again.

 

The ejector pump is cycling, but it is not evacuating the pit

  • Solution 1: this happens because when the debris and solid waste falls on the float, they add some extra weight that misaligns the float hence causing short cycling.

To repair this problem adjust the floating actuator to ensure that the pump is cycling properly or buy a new switch.

  • Solution 2: in most cases, clogging is the cause of the problem. When the pump is functioning, but the pit is still full of waste, be sure to unclog the outlet to let the waste flow.

Most of the time the pump is pumping waste against itself, and this may result in other major problems that may require you to purchase a new ejector.

The ejector’s alarm has gone off

  • Solution 1: in most cases, the alarm in the ejector will go off to warn you that the float has risen abnormally high meaning the pit has not been evacuated.

This is usually a warning that your discharge pipes may be blocked by debris and may need to be unblocked immediately to avoid overflow of waste.

  • Solution 2: in instances that the alarm goes off even when the pit is not fully occupied by the waste, the ejector may have an undersized pit or the floating actuator may be placed at a lower level.

In this case, consult with the manufacturer or contact a professional plumber to fix the problem.

Conclusion

Ejectors perform the undesirable task of handling our waste, and by so doing they take a significant burden off our hands, however, like any other machine, ejectors are prone to error and mechanical damages. Some of these errors and damages could be dealt with by the homeowner without having to pay for professional services which are at times expensive.

Hopefully, these guidelines on how to troubleshoot ejector pumps will be useful the next time your ejector pump runs into a problem. If you’re handy and happen to be so inclined, you could buy a new ejector pump and install it yourself. Meanwhile, we hope these tips will help.

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