Why Does My Septic Tank Discharge Pump Have Two Wires? (TOP 5 Tips)

  • Most sump pumps come with two electrical cords. If the float switch which operates automatically to turn the pump motor on fails, it is possible in an emergency to plug the pump motor cord directly into the electrical outlet. This means the sump pump is operating manually (without the float switch).

Why is there 2 cords on my sump pump?

If you look at the outlet where you sump pump is plugged in, you should see two separate plugs. One is for the float switch, the other is for the motor. If the pump doesn’t turn on immediately, your pump needs to be repaired or replaced. If the pump worked properly, reconnect the other plug and you’re done.

Are septic pumps 110 or 220?

Pumps that grind the solids before pumping are referred to as grinder pumps. Most septic ejector pumps designed for residential use require 110-120 to 220-240 volts of electricity to operate. Some models incorporate an alarm system, such as a siren or flashing light, that activates if something goes wrong.

What is a piggyback switch on a sump pump?

Piggy-Back Float Switches Is there one cord or two? If there are two cords, you likely have a piggy-back plug. The benefit of these is that you can unplug the cords from the wall, separate them, and plug the pump directly into the outlet without the switch—allowing you to test the pump by itself.

How do I know if my sump pump is clogged?

Observe the float and the triggering of the on/off switch and make sure that the water exits the basin efficiently. Pour another 5 gallons of water into the basin and again monitor the pump’s actions. If the system efficiently pumps water out of the sump basin, you have cleared the clog.

Why is the red light on my septic tank on?

The red light indicates the alarm is receiving a signal from the pump tank that the water level is rising higher or is dropping lower than it should be. Let the septic system run a couple of pump cycles (should last about 10-15 hours) and the red light on the alarm box may go out on its own.

How do you check a septic tank pump?

To test if the pump is working, first turn the pump on by turning the second from the bottom float upside down. While holding that float upside down, turn the next float up (that would be the second from the top), upside down. You should hear the pump turn on.

Do all septic tanks have alarms?

All septic systems that use a pump to move wastewater from a septic pump tank to a drainfield or mound have an alarm installed in the house. The alarm goes off when wastewater is not being pumped from the septic pump tank to the drainfield or mound.

How do septic tank floats work?

The control floats are set so that a specific volume of sewage is sent to the drainfield. This specific amount is referred to as a “dose.” When sewage in the pump tank reaches the “on” float, the pump is activated and pumps sewage out until it reaches the “off” float (See diagram below.)

How do I know if my irrigation pump is 220 or 110?

Put a meter on it, if two wires reads 110sh to ground then your wired for 220. Also you can place your meter on each of those two wires and and then your meter should read about 220. If only one wire reads 110sh then it’s 120 wired.

Can you run a well pump on 120v?

As mentioned earlier, it is important to consider the type of power your well pump equipment requires. Most residential pumping equipment is single phase 230 volts, however, some small pumps in the USA may use 120 volts single phase. Larger pumping installations may require 208, 230 volt or 480 volt 3-phase power.

Can I use a sump pump in my septic tank?

A: No. If you have a septic system, under no circumstances should the sump be pumped into the basement floor drain. Adding to the flow with a sump pump can damage the septic system. Even if you are connected to a public sanitary system, the sump should not be pumped into a floor drain.

Why Does My Sump Have Two Power Cords?

Home-DiySumps are designed to transport water away from a home’s foundation and away from the house itself, preventing basement flooding. They are occasionally called upon to remove sewage from a residence from regions below the level of the sewer pipe. Some setups need the use of two wires and plugs in order to operate.

Sump Pit

Sumps are contained within a pit known as a sump pit. Water gathers in the pit, and when the level of the water reaches a certain level, the pump activates and empties the pit. The pump is activated by use of an unique switch known as a float switch. Some float switches are equipped with a separate wire and connector.

Float Switch

The float switch activates the water in the pit by ‘floating’ it. When the water level in the pit rises over a certain level, the switch activates the pump, which drains the water from the pit. When the water level drops below a predetermined level, the float switch shuts down the pump.

Two Cords

Certain float switches have their own cord and do not link directly to the pump, as is the case with some float switches. The switch is connected to the outlet, and the pump is connected to the rear of the switch connector. This configuration allows the switch to control the flow of power to and from the pump.

The Drip Cap

  • Sumps are designed to transfer water away from a home’s foundation and away from the house itself, preventing basement flooding. When the water level in the pit rises over a certain level, the switch activates the pump, which removes the water from the pit. Some float switches have their own cord and do not connect directly to the pump
  • However, this is not always the case.

How to Install a Septic Pump System

Septic tanks are used to process and dispose of waste products by homeowners who do not have access to municipal sewage systems. Maintenance and management of the septic system are the responsibility of the homeowner, which may include the installation of the system in some cases. There are some geographical situations where it may be required to place a septic tank at an elevation that is higher than the drainage basin in order to prevent sewage from backing up. During these occasions, an effluent pump is also required to pump sewage from one chamber of a septic tank to another chamber of the septic tank in order to verify that the septic system is functioning correctly.

  • 12-gauge electrical wire
  • High-water alarm
  • Conduit
  • Junction box
  • 15-amp standard breaker
  • Septic effluent pump, shovel, 20-amp Gfi breaker, pipe cleaner, plumber pipe dope, drainage pipe

Installing Circuit Breakers

Turn off the main breakers in the electrical panel by pressing the “Off” button on the main breakers. Ensure that the main disconnect at the meter is turned off, as well. When installing the circuit breakers, use a flashlight or a headlamp to see where you’re going.

Step 2

Install the GFI circuit breakers (20-amp) and normal circuit breakers (15-amp) in the existing breaker box. Take note of a black circuit wire that is secured in place with a screw. Loosen the screw and connect the black circuit wire to the circuit breaker, then tighten the screw back into place to complete the installation. In addition to the black circuit wire, there is a white neutral wire that is interlaced with the black circuit wire that should be connected to the GFI breaker.

Step 3

You may install circuit breakers on your own, without the assistance of an electrician, if you take the necessary safety precautions. Using a breaker box, insert the circuit breakers by holding them at an angle with the notched side towards the metal bar and pressing them into position.

Each circuit breaker’s notched side will slip into its respective opening. The contacts on the rear of the breaker make contact with the metal bus bars that are located in each breaker slot on the circuit breaker.

Underground Wiring and Outlet Installation

Install a junction box and a 20-amp outlet on a 4×4 post near the septic tank to keep it from overflowing. The septic pump is connected to the outlet, and the float wires for the high water alert are connected to the junction box. Ensure that the post is buried at least 16 inches deep and that it is secured with a little amount of concrete.

Step 2

For underground wiring, dig a 2-foot trench from the septic tank all the way back to the breaker panel. Depending on the distance, you may need to use a shovel or heavy gear. If you want to dig trenches, you can hire a contractor to do it.

Step 3

Run 12 gauge wire to the 20-amp outlet and 14 gauge wire to the junction box located on the post before connecting the two together. The other ends of the two wires are connected to the breaker boxes on either side of the breaker panel. Both wires should be routed through conduit. When the 12-gauge wire from the sump pump output is connected to the 20-amp GFI breaker, the sump pump is activated. The standard breaker is connected to the 14-gauge wire that was utilized for the alarm float wiring.

Pump and Alarm Setup

Secure the float switch for the high water alert inside the septic tank using a tie strap or the supplies provided. Set the float switch to the appropriate water level height and secure it. The wiring for the float switch will be routed to a junction box on the post and connected to a 14-gauge wire that will be routed back to the breaker box. Install the remaining components of the high water alarm system in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 2

Connect the discharge line to the pump’s outlet on the submersible septic tank. Pipe cleaner should be used to clean the pipe should, and it should be allowed to dry fully before being connected to the pump. To connect the pipe to the pump, use pipe dope and fittings to secure the connection. If possible, the pipe should be cut to the same length as the height of the septic tank, with one end of the pipe connecting to the drainage pipe that will carry waste water to the distribution tank after the pump is in place.

Step 3

Lower the septic effluent pump into the tank with the help of a rope or a cable attached to it. Attach the rope or cable to a nearby post using a bungee cord. Connect the top piece of the drainage pipe to the segment of drainage pipe that leads to the distribution tank, and allow the pipe dope to dry completely before turning on the system to drain the water.


Silicone should be used to seal off all junction boxes and couplings throughout the conduit run to avoid corrosion, water damage, and insect damage. Construct a conduit from the ground up to the outlet and junction box for the pump and float cables in order to make the area completely watertight. Consult with a building or plumbing inspector to ensure that the installation is sound before turning on the system.


The breakers should not be turned back on until the entire septic pump installation is complete. When installing circuit breakers, make sure that they do not come into touch with the main circuit bus bar that is located within the electrical circuit.

Even if the power is turned off, this bar will maintain its energy. When there is any concern regarding the safety of a person, electrical and plumbing repairs should be performed by professional professionals.

Does Your Septic System Require A New Pump?

A septic tank’s waste and sewage are evacuated from it and discharged into a drain field, either by gravity or with the assistance of a septic system lift pump. In most cases, a septic pump is not required if the waste can flow at a rate of at least two feet per second through the system using gravity alone. Pumps are typically required for septic tanks that are located lower than the drain field and for which gravity is unable to transport and/or force the effluent out of the tank due to its location.

See also:  How To Determine What Type Of Septic Tank O Have? (Best solution)

Know If Your System Uses A Septic Effluent Pump Or Septic Grinder Pump

Knowing what sort of pump your septic system is equipped with is critical to the overall operation of the system. A septic effluent pump is a device that transfers waste from a septic tank to a drain field. A septic grinder pump is responsible for the grinding and movement of human waste and toilet paper. Septic tank businesses in Gainesville, FL such as Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service can help if you’re not sure what sort of pump the system is using or where it’s located in the system. Our professionals will identify the pump and check the septic system in order to notify you of the procedures that need to be taken in order to keep all components in proper operating order.

How Septic Pumps Work

A septic pump is a sort of submersible pump that is installed in either the last chamber of the septic tank or in a separate chamber outside the main tank of the system. As waste builds up in the chamber, it activates a float switch, which then activates the septic pump. After that, waste is forced up the outflow pipe and into the drain field by an impeller. Installing a septic tank pump alarm is an excellent strategy to avoid having to clean out your septic tank on a regular basis. One of our professionals will connect the float switch to an alarm panel, which will sound if the pump fails for any reason during the installation.

This alarm will ring and notify you if there is a sewage backup in your home.

Maintenance For A Septic Pump

The upkeep of a septic pump goes hand in hand with the upkeep of a septic system in its whole. Never drain or flush any of the following common home objects to avoid the need for emergency septic service and to ensure the pump’s long-term functionality:

  • Baby wipes
  • Cat litter
  • Fats, oils, and/or grease produced by or utilized in the preparation of meals
  • Dental floss
  • Personal hygiene products
  • And Q-tips or other cotton swabs are all recommended.

In addition, avoid using the garbage disposal because this can cause the septic tank to fill up more rapidly and force water into the tank, among other things. If there is an excessive amount of water entering the septic system, it can cause sediments to enter the septic pump, resulting in a probable blockage in either the pump or the drain field. If or when this occurs, contact Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service for prompt and dependable septic tank repairs.

Common Septic Pump Issues

Even with proper maintenance, a septic pump can develop a variety of problems over time, including the following:

Noise Or No Noise

There are occasions when it is possible to hear the septic pump operating within the chamber itself.

Do not hesitate to contact us for septic service if it appears that the pump is having difficulty or is failing to transport waste effectively.

Leaking Into The Septic Tank

The septic pump is equipped with a check valve, which provides a pressure gradient in order to keep the waste flowing through the pump and into the drainage system. Whenever the valve wears down or breaks, waste is forced back into the septic tank, causing the tank to overflow and back up into the pipes.

Faulty Float

Floats can become stuck open or closed, or they might become damaged as a result of material entering the septic tank. Depending on the extent of the damage, a professional from Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service may be able to remove the debris or may need to replace the float entirely.

Burnt Out Motor

If the motor within the septic pump burns out or fails, the pump will be unable to transfer waste, even if the energy is still being supplied to the device, since the waste would be trapped. In most cases, replacing the pump will address the problem.

Installing A New Septic Pump Or System

Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service will replace your septic tank if it is essential, and they will also install a new pump. Everything begins with an application, which is needed by the Florida Department of Health. We will always assist you in filling out the application and applying for any permissions that may be required. Our professionals will be pleased to walk you through the procedure and answer any questions you may have along the way.

Septic Tank Service

Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service can solve any septic issue, regardless of whether your sewage system currently has a pump or if you’re interested whether installing a pump will increase the system’s overall efficiency. When performing septic tank repairs in Gainesville, our specialists take into consideration the demands of the family or company. Call Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service immediately to make an appointment for septic service!

How do you wire a septic pump and alarm?

How to Install and Configure a Septic Pump Alarm

  1. Track down and identify the alarm float wires and alarm circuit wires that lead to the home. Incorporate the wires into the electrical conduit and into the junction box as needed. Take hold of the bare ends of the blackwires and twist them together to form a pair before inserting them into a wirenut.

How to Install a Septic System Wiring Diagram

  1. Incorporate a direct burial cable between your home’s breaker box and your septic tank. Ensure that the wire is connected to a weatherproof electrical box placed outside the septic tank
  2. The plug wire from the septic tank pump should be run up and out of the tank and into the new electrical box, as shown. Piggyback plugs should be used for the control wiring.

In a similar vein, how do you connect a submersible pump that has a float switch installed? The neutralwire from the panel will be connected directly to the neutralwire from the pump, as shown in the diagram. Ground wires will be connected directly to ground wires on both the panel and thepump side. It is only the hotwires from the panel and the hotwire from the pump that you are left with. The float switch is supported by two legs. In the same vein, many wonder how a septic pump alarm operates.

The timer regulates when the pumps are permitted to discharge wastewater into the drain field.

Do I require a large or small septic pump?

For wastesolids in residential systems, the typical particle size is 12 inches or greater. Solids with an average size of 2 12″ or greater are used in commercial and industrial systems, respectively. When selecting a pump, the flow rate and total dynamic head (TDH) are important considerations.

How to Check Your Septic Panel and Pump Chamber

It is recommended that you inspect your pump chamber once a year to ensure that everything is in proper working order. Follow the 11-step procedure outlined below to complete this task on your own! (Do you require further assistance? Alternatively, you may watch our instructional video below.)

‍ 1. Let’s start by inspecting the panel. Make sure the power is on by verifying the power switch to the panel is on.

The following items should be included in this general overview: The electrical box may be seen in the lower left corner of the image below, starting at the bottom of the image. Check to verify that all of the cables are firmly connected before using it. Next, take a look at the lower right corner of the shot, where you can see the discharge pipe for the pump. Check to see if it is operational (valve should be lined up with pipe). It’s now time to have some fun!

‍ FIRST.PUT ON GLOVES!That is one step you DO NOT want to miss. Remove the float tree (the pipe with a pvc handle located upright left in our picture) and pull up the alarms.

*Please keep in mind that these instructions are for a 4-float system. Some systems contain only two or three floats.

If you don’t hear an alarm, this is cause for concern. Starting at the top, I will explain the floats and how to ensure each one is working.

NOTE: If your water supply is depleted, you may need to replenish it. Fill it up a little with water from a yard hose.

7. Continue testing.

Check that the pump is operating properly by flipping the second float from the bottom upside down and then turning it back around. With your other hand, turn the next float up (which would be the second from the top) upside down while still holding the first float. You should be able to hear the pump start up. As soon as you have confirmed that the pump is operational, just release these two floats. There’s one more float to go. The top float serves as an alert in case of high water. Turn it over down to see whether this is the case.

8. Now is the time to inspect the power cords.

Check to see that everything is securely tied to the float tree and not just hanging free. Zip ties can be used to reattach any stray cables.

9. Securely return the float tree to its holder and coil any dangling cords so that they are out of the water.

Hello, there. I reside in North Carolina in a house that was constructed in 1988. There was a ground level outlet close to the septic tank (for the pump/float plug in) that was always having dirt and water in it. I went ahead and put in a post and installed a new outlet that was 12 inches above the ground. Fortunately, there was enough underground cable (electricity) to connect to the new outlet. It was then a matter of getting the piggyback plugs to connect to the new outlet, which I anticipated would need some splicing.

  • Because there was enough cable to reach the outlet, I just connected them in and the pump started working.
  • Then I saw some smoke, and the pump wire was quite hot.
  • No problems splicing the float wire together (only had a black and white wire in it, by the way).
  • Every time I attempt to remove the plastic wire coating, a portion of the wire is lost in the process.
  • Attempts to burn away the plastic with a lighter have been unsuccessful, and as soon as I try to peel it away, the plastic reappear.
  • So here’s where I’m at a loss.
  • Putting on some gloves and boots and getting a little dirty is not anything I’m opposed to; I’m just concerned that it’s becoming a little out of my league.
  • The wiring is more of a source of concern for me.
  • Is it because the wire is old that I’m having such a difficult time removing it, or is that particular type of wire not designed to be stripped?
  • Alternatively, it might be the location where the wire enters the pump.

Is there anyone who can give me some advice? BTW, I believe it is a single float, and the voltage is 110. I’ve included some photos. Thank you very much! BrentCharlotte, North Carolina

How To Hard Wire A Float Switch To A Submersible Pump

Automatic operation of submersible pumps is accomplished through the use of float switches. The float switch moves in tandem with the amount of water in the tank, and it is this movement that controls when the pump goes on and off. In this post, we’ll go through the proper approach to hard wire a float switch to a submersible pump in order to enable automated functioning of the device. Please take notice of the following: Pumps and wiring that operate at 115V are covered in the following section.

  2. These three wires will be connected to the pump, and these three wires will be connected to the incoming power supply.
  3. The ground wire from the panel will be connected directly to the ground wire from the pump, eliminating the need for a separate ground wire.
  4. The float switch is composed of two legs.
  5. (Please keep in mind that the majority of float switches have a white and a black wire, which means you will most likely have a white to black connection).
  6. What is discussed in the preceding paragraph is illustrated in the diagram below.
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Troubleshooting Pumps: The Pump Motor Doesn’t Run

Check the wires in the septic system for damage with a voltmeter or comparable gadget to determine whether or not they need to be replaced.

Interested in Pumps?

Get the latest Pumps articles, news, and videos delivered directly to your email! Now is the time to sign up. Pumps+ Receive Notifications Checking for faults with a septic pump’s electrical system, the pump itself, and its controls are all important first steps when it won’t start. Dealing with electricity may be extremely dangerous; thus, exercise extreme caution while working with electricity and turn off power supply breakers when testing components inside the electrical system. If you are not 100 percent sure in your ability to execute any of these tests safely, consult with a specialist before proceeding.

Electrical problems

If the pump does not appear to be operating at all, does not respond to any testing, and does not appear to be pumping effluent, it is possible that there is a wiring issue.

Examine your circuit breaker first, and then try to use a voltmeter or similar equipment to check the wires in your septic system for damage to determine whether or not they need to be changed. If the wires are damaged, replace them.

  1. A fuse has blown or a circuit breaker has been triggered on the circuit. Check the fuses and circuit breakers. Fuse replacement is necessary as needed. Take note of the pump manufacturer’s suggested size as well as the pump nameplate rating. In the event that a circuit repair is required, contact an electrician. The power cord for the pump is improperly connected and makes poor contact with the pump. The pump cable cap prongs should be checked for tightness and corrosion if the system is equipped with a piggyback plug in. Alternatively, replace the plug, clean the plug prongs with abrasive paper, or have the electrical receptacle changed
  2. The branch circuit wiring is insufficient to support the pump load. Check the voltage on the line and compare it to the manufacturer’s standards if necessary. The pump should be hooked into a separate circuit breaker from the rest of the system (or fuse). If the circuit breaker also supplies electricity to other outlets or appliances, an additional outlet should be added so that the pump has its own circuit breaker as well. The pump motor overload tripped the circuit, which necessitated the call for an electrician. Allow the pump to cool for five to ten minutes before reconnecting it to the power source. If the overloadtrip occurs again, remedial action should be taken. Verify that the line voltage is within specifications by comparing it to the manufacturer’s specs. Check the voltage of the branch circuit with an electrician or with the power provider. Make sure that the pump is connected to a separate branch circuit since the voltage provided is insufficient. Voltagenmust be within 10% of motor ratings on either side of the equation. Check that adequate power is being sent through the system by measuring the voltage at the pressure switch, the control box, and any other components through which power is being delivered. a. If you notice that the electricity is too high or too low at the power panel, you may need to call the electric utility provider for assistance. Thermal overload and shutdown will occur as a result of low voltage at the pump. Call your local electrician to fix the circuit and, if necessary, contact your energy supplier. Check the controlpanel connections and watertightness as well. Look for clear evidence of flaws and wear on the control panel with a visual inspection. Check for faulty connections as well as burned or melted components. Perhaps your prior examination of the power supply at your control panel led you to the conclusion that a bad splice connection or broken conduit could be the source of your problem. Make a visual inspection of any electrical splice connections for corrosion and other visible evidence that power is not being delivered to the pump. It is important to ensure that the conduit, and thus the wire within it, has not been damaged (for example, if it has been struck by a lawn mower).

Pump problems

It is possible that the motor for the lift pump is not functioning properly, in which case power is still flowing to the pump but it is unable to function. At this stage, make sure that the pump is not clogged and that it is capable of performing its intended function; otherwise, the pump will need to be fixed or replaced totally.

  1. Theimpeller has been blocked or restricted. Disconnect the power, remove the pump from the sump, and inspect it for freedom of rotation of the impeller and shaft. Clean the volute and impeller, and remove any obstructions
  2. The bearings have frozen in their positions. Disconnect the power, remove the pump from the sump, and inspect it for freedom of rotation of the impeller and shaft. Lower bearing of the column pump should be free and lubricated. In order to repair the pump bearing, contact a licensed service shop. The water level is not sufficiently enough to activate the control switch. Water should be added to the sump to make it turn on. Control floats or weights must be readjusted
  3. An internal motor problem exists. Pump should be removed, power should be disconnected, and rated voltage should be connected before the controlswitch is actuated. To have your vehicle repaired or replaced, contact an authorized service shop.

Float/control problems

In comparison to a float tree, a pump linked to a line is used. If the pump detects sewage levels using a float, the float may become caught or destroyed, in which case the pump will not operate. Usually, you can adjust the float or otherwise correct it so that it floats normally again, but if the problem is severe enough, you may need to replace the float totally.

  1. The operation of the float is hampered or restricted in some way. Water should be added to the sump to make it turn on. Make any necessary adjustments to the control floats or weights. If the float rod is bent or obstructed by debris, consider adding a separate float tree to make pump removal and float operation easier. If the float rod is bent or obstructed by debris, consider replacing it. Examine and keep an eye on things. Make necessary adjustments to the control floats or weights
  2. The float switch is faulty. Remove the pump, turn off the power, connect the power to the rated voltage, and turn on the controlswitch. Inspect for deformation, charred or melted components, or a significant amount of black discoloration. Unplug the pump’s chord from the piggyback plug on the floatswitch, and then reconnect the cord. To test the pump, just put the plug straight into an electrical outlet. If the pump continues to run, the float switch has failed and must be replaced. (Do not keep the pump plugged in for an extended period of time or it may burn out.) Make any necessary adjustments to the control floats or weights. Replace the liquid level control with a new one. Give the pressure switch a thorough visual inspection to check for flaws and wear and tear. Turning on and off switches is essential for a fully functioning system, and they are reasonably priced.

a little about the author Sara Heger, Ph.D., is an engineer, researcher, and lecturer in the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program at the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in environmental science. She has given presentations at several local and national training events on topics such as the design, installation, and administration of septic systems, as well as research in the related field. Her responsibilities include serving as the education chair for the Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Association and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, as well as serving on the National Science Foundation’s International Committee on Wastewater Treatment Systems.

Heger will respond as soon as possible.

This article is part of a series on troubleshooting pumps:

  • If the pump motor does not turn on, troubleshooting is necessary. Pump problems include: the pump turns on, but there is no water
  • The pump turns on, but there is no water. Pump problems include the following: the pump runs continuously or cycles too frequently
  • Pump problems include the following: the pump makes a lot of noise
  • Pump Troubleshooting: There is a strong odor of sewer gas

Troubleshooting Pumps: The Pump Turns On, But There’s No Water

Get the latest Pumps articles, news, and videos delivered directly to your email! Now is the time to sign up. Pumps+ Receive Notifications When the septic pump begins but does not discharge any effluent, there are two primary places to check: the pump itself and the tank or pipe that is connected to it. Always use caution while working with electricity, and remember to switch off power supply breakers when checking components inside the electrical system to avoid electrocution. If you are not 100 percent sure in your ability to execute any of these tests safely, consult with a specialist before proceeding.

Pump problems

  • Impeller that has been blocked or damaged. Remove the screen and take note of the state of things. Remove any obstructions from the impeller by cleaning it. Product types such as hygiene wipes, feminine products, and other bathroom garbage items may be at fault. It may be necessary to educate the property owner on the importance of not flushing certain goods. A blocked screen or pump intake is the source of the problem. Examine and note what is causing the screen to get clogged. Clean the screen and, if necessary, consult with the proprietor
  • The motor is constantly reversing its direction. Remove the pump from the tank and disconnect it from the power source. Keep an eye on the impeller and the shaft rotation. If the pump is a single-phase device, it should be taken to a qualified service shop for repair or replacement. The bottom of the tank contains sludge if it is a three-phase device
  • Have an electrician reverse the rotation by inverting two of the three power lines. There should be minimal to no sludge in the dosing chamber, which is located near the pump’s intake. It is possible that tank cleaning will be required.

A pump that has been sat in and pumping muck for some time.

  • Pump that was not appropriately sized. Check the design or code to discover the type of pump that is required. The total dynamic head — which is calculated from the friction loss, elevation difference, and the needed head at discharge — is the most important feature to validate. It is possible that you may need to confer with the permitting authorities, designer, or engineer in order to determine the appropriate size. If it is discovered to be too tiny, it should be replaced with a pump of proper size. An electrical supply that is not acceptable. Check the phase of power the pump requires (this information may be found on the pump label or wiring schematic). The pump or the wiring will need to be changed if the system demands three phases of electricity but the electrician only provided two phases of electricity.

Tank or piping problems

  • The amount of water entering the system is excessive. Check for leaks in the tank. Check for leaky fixtures in the house or building, such as toilets, faucets, and other such items. Check to be sure that clean-water sources, such as footing drains, are not interconnected. Additionally, ensure that the soil treatment area is receiving water. Effluent from downstream components may be returning to the treatment plant if the pond is completely filled
  • Pipedischarge may be blocked by obstacle or ice. Examine and keep an eye on things. a discharge line that has to be cleaned, snaked, or thawed
  • An insufficient discharge pipe diameter Measure the diameter of the discharge pipe and compare it to the manufacturer’s recommended diameter, since it should not be smaller than the pump’s output. The pump must be replaced or larger-diameter discharge pipe must be installed
  • A faulty, inoperative check valve or one that is mounted in the incorrect direction. Examine the check valve for an arrow showing the direction of flow and adjust the check valve to be installed in the other direction if necessary. Alternatively, if the check valve is oriented correctly but still does not function properly, peek inside the dosing tank after a dosage. If there is turbulence at the bottom of the tank, this indicates that the valve is not functioning properly. Check and clean the check valve if necessary. The valves must be opened, and the problem may be due to air locking the valve, which must be released as soon as the pump begins to pump effluent into the system, which might be the source of the problem. It is possible that the built-in little air release will become clogged, and that it will need to be cleaned. It is possible that you will need to drill a 1/4-inch perforation in order to avoid the problem in the future
  • A static and friction head that is too high. If the discharge pipe length is excessively lengthy, the friction losses may outweigh the pump’s ability to operate. Keep track of the number of pipe fittings and reducingbushings that you have. Remove any reducing pipe fittings and elbows that may be present. You will almost certainly require the installation of a higher-head pump as well as larger-diameter discharge pipe.
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a little about the author Sara Heger, Ph.D., is an engineer, researcher, and lecturer in the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program at the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in environmental science. She has given presentations at several local and national training events on topics such as the design, installation, and administration of septic systems, as well as research in the related field. Her responsibilities include serving as the education chair for the Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Association and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, as well as serving on the National Science Foundation’s International Committee on Wastewater Treatment Systems.

Send an email to [email protected] if you have any concerns concerning septic system care and operation. Heger will respond as soon as possible.

This article is part of a series on troubleshooting pumps:

  • If the pump motor does not turn on, troubleshooting is necessary. Pump problems include: the pump turns on, but there is no water
  • The pump turns on, but there is no water. Pump problems include the following: the pump runs continuously or cycles too frequently
  • Pump problems include the following: the pump makes a lot of noise
  • Pump Troubleshooting: There is a strong odor of sewer gas

What do I do if My Septic Alarm is Going Off?

In the event that your septic alarm goes off, it may surely create some anxiety and uncertainty; and if you happen to be experiencing this right now, then you’ve arrived to the correct location! Don’t be concerned; it does not necessitate urgent action. Instead, take your time to go through this full essay so that you will be prepared to act now or in the future if the situation arises. What Septic Systems Are and How They Work The alarm works in conjunction with the septic system to alert you when the water level within the pump tank has increased to an unsafe level or has decreased to an unsafe level.

  • The timer is in charge of regulating the time intervals during which the pump is permitted to pump wastewater into the drainage system.
  • Thus, during periods of excessive water use, the drain field is kept from getting overflowing, which might cause damage to the drainage system.
  • A large amount of water is injected into the system in between pumping cycles for whatever cause, and the water has nowhere else to go but back into the system’s pump tank.
  • Depending on how much water was and continues to be put into the system and how the pump is set up to operate on a timer, it may take many pumping cycles until the water levels are returned to normal.
  1. There is an excessive amount of water being put into the septic system. This is the result of excessive water use, which might be caused by multiple loads of laundry, an excessive quantity of dishwashing, or a disproportionate number of long showers.
  1. Somehow, groundwater is making its way into the system. If there is an excessive amount of standing water surrounding the septic tanks, whether generated by rain or another source, the water may seep into the tanks and cause the internal water level to rise.
  1. It’s possible that one of the components of the septic system is malfunctioning. If anything goes wrong with your system — including the pump and floats — the alarm and timer will go off and the septic system will stop working correctly.

The Best Thing to Do If Your Alarm Goes Off Alternatively, if you hear an alert, you should press the red button or turn on the alarm box. The alarm will be turned off as a result of this action. There should be a red light and a green light on the alarm box, which should be situated someplace on the unit. The green light indicates that the alarm is operational and should be left on at all times. It is shown by a red light if the alarm is getting a signal from the pump tank indicating that the water level is increasing above or decreasing below what is expected.

  • If the breaker occurs to be tripped, look around the septic tanks to see if there is any standing water.
  • It is possible that the red light on the alarm box will go out on its own after allowing the septic system to operate for a couple of pump cycles (which should take approximately 10-15 hours).
  • If the red light turns off, it signifies that the system is operating properly and that it only needs to catch up with the extra water that has overflowed into the storage tank.
  • To be clear, an alarm signal from the septic system does not always imply that sewage is about to back up into the house right away.
  • Do you require septic system repair on a regular basis or emergency service?

To arrange an appointment, please call (804) 581-0001 or send us an email through our contact page. Want to learn more about septic systems? Explore our septic system web sites by clicking on the “Septic” navigation option in the top navigation bar.

WAC 296-46B-501:

001 Sewage treatment and disposal systems (1) Sewage, effluent, or grinder pumps in on-site and septic tank effluent pump (S.T.E.P.) disposal systems will be considered unclassified if no more than five residential units are connected to the system, residential units are connected to a municipal sewer system, nonresidential systems have residential loading characteristics, and all of the following general installation requirements are met: (a) An suitable amount of ventilation must be provided in the pumping chamber.

If the system venting has been approved by the local jurisdiction authority, venting may be accomplished through the building or structure plumbing vents or by a direct two-inch minimum vent to the atmosphere;(b) Equipment that, when in normal operation, may cause an arc or spark must not be installed in any pumping chamber;(c) Float switches installed in a pumping chamber must be hermetically sealed to prevent the entry of gases or vapors;(d) Junction boxes, conduits, and piping must In the case of systems that process less than three thousand five hundred gallons of wastewater per day, the following professionals may be certified: I an on-site wastewater designer licensed under chapter18.210RCW; or (ii) a professional engineer engaged in the business of on-site wastewater system design licensed under chapter18.43RCW.

  1. A professional engineer who is involved in the business of on-site wastewater system design and who is licensed under chapter18.43RCW may certify systems that process three thousand five hundred gallons or more of wastewater per day in accordance with subsection (b).
  2. This paperwork must be submitted to the electrical inspector prior to the inspection.
  3. Drains from any commercially manufactured tub, shower, basin, sink, or toilet do not qualify as floor drains under this definition.
  4. In order for buried access covers to be properly identified, an identification plate must be installed at the electrical panel or another visible point on the structure.
  5. (5) Indoor grinder pumps installed in chambers having a capacity of less than fifty gallons are exempt from the requirements of this part, with the exception of the venting requirements set out in paragraph (1)(a) of this section, which must be met.
  6. The wiring methods for secondary treatment effluent pumping chambers, such as sand filters, are unclassified and do not require any particular wiring techniques.
  7. New septic and effluent tanks that incorporate electrical cables and equipment must be examined and authorized before they can be used to collect sewage from the surrounding area.

(8) Pumps used in on-site sewage disposal systems must be equipped with audible and visible alarms to notify the homeowner if the system is not functioning properly. The alarm must be connected to a circuit that is separate from the pump’s circuit.

Fixing a Sewage Ejection Pump

Consider whether or not you have a faulty switch before replacing the pump or bringing in a plumber if your ejector pump fails. You can change the switch on your own for roughly twenty dollars.

Tools Required

Attach the new switch chord to the pump using a plastic zip tie at the same spot as the previous switch cord was attached to the pump. When sewage ejection pumps fail, it is possible to create an unsightly mess on the basement floor very fast. Before you panic and contact a plumber (who will charge you a minimum of $250), double-check that the “float” switch is operational. Most sewage ejector pumps and certain sump pumps are equipped with a floating ball that is connected to the pump by a separate electrical line; if you notice two cords coming out of the basin, you have a float switch in your system.

  1. The switch is connected using a “piggyback” plug, and the pump is connected to the back of the switch so that it does not operate until the switch is activated (Photo 1).
  2. In contrast, universal replacement switches are available for $20 at home centers and plumbing supply stores, and replacing the switch is a straightforward procedure.
  3. If everything is in working order, disconnect the pump from the piggyback connector and plug it straight into the wall outlet.
  4. If the pump does not turn on, it is likely that the switch is faulty; however, changing the pump ($300, including the switch) is just as simple as replacing the switch—simply lift out the old pump and replace it with a new one.
  5. Then you may take off the basin top.
  6. Using a pencil, indicate the location where the cord that holds the switch is linked to the pump after it has been lifted out.
  7. Make sure there is an air bleed hole located towards the bottom of the waste pipe as a final check (another potential cause of pump failure).
  8. Replacing the pump and reconnecting the pipes is a simple process.

Check to see that the float switch can be moved freely and is not jammed against the side of the enclosure. If the original gasket or seal has become degraded, silicone caulk can be used to seal around the edge of the basin. Flooding can be avoided by modifying a floor drain.

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Figure A: Sewage Pump System

When the water level in the tank rises, the floating switch activates the pump, which grinds the waste and ejects it via the waste line to the surface. The check valve prevents effluent from leaking back into the basin after it has been treated. When the pump is serviced, the shutdown prevents backflow from occurring. How to Install a Basement Bathroom Plumbing System

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