Grinder Pump, Out of Ideas.

Help Support House Repair Talk:

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,581
Reaction score
1,978
Location
Erie, PA
I have this Grinder pump that came with the house we are just in the township but attached to the towns sewer system. Back a few years before we owned the place about 6 neighbors got together who all had failing septics and asked to be put on water and sewer the water was no problem but we are slightly below the fall line and needed a lift station. No one wanted to pay for a community one so they opted for everyone to own their own. Basically what I have is a tank that comes out above grade and it is 24” dia and goes down pretty deep 12 / 14 foot I can’t tell and I’m not sticking my tape measure down there. At the bottom sits a grinder pump attached to an out pipe with a pit-less type disconnect the pump has ropes attached to pull it up. There is a Jbox and a couple of tether floats. One is hooked up to an alarm on the side of the house where there is a couple breakers mounted in a box. The other float is on the end of about a 20’ rubber coated power cable I’m assuming is rated to be in there. The trouble I had from day one is the alarm used to go off as the float would get stuck on the side of the tank a little and wouldn’t flip up before the other safety one did. Once that trips it shuts everything off except the alarm and I get up and go out take the cover off grab the S-stick and bump the float. Worked great and was a PITA and in the winter under 3’ of snow and ice was a real PITA. Part of the problem was as the tank fills what tips the float was the weight of the extra cable down in the stuff so the length of that cable was key. I drain the hot tub into it and it gives me time to experiment and I came on to the perfect length of that cable that seemed to work best and I zip tied the cable to the Jbox so that couldn’t change. Then I got a stack of 1.25 washers and zip tied them to the cable down low in a spot that even gives an extra yank when it hits the height to turn on the pump.

Total success almost. All winter not one misfire the neighbors didn’t need to call and tell me my @#%$&*$ alarm is going off again. The other night right before bed about midnight we hear a slight humming and I said it’s the neighbors something working. You know women they keep going around trying to find the noise and when they don’t sleep no one sleeps. So get up get dressed get the boots on and outside we go. the damn grinder is running and loud. I take off the cover and there is a blast of heat and mist and smells and when the fog cleared my flashlight showed that float balanced perfect on top of the motor and the pump churning the last little bit of water to death. I gave the cable a yank and it shut off. The next day I filled it and thank god the pump is working ok.

Here is the problem with a 24” tank and maybe 6’ or 8’ of cable that it can move around on sooner or later it’s going to get snagged on something it seems. It is on the side of the tank that is the most open and I watched it cycle now at least 30 times and it always stays where you think it should.

Wondering if anyone has a cool trick to try to fix the problem. I would post a pic but I might have to put it with a spoiler alert or something as it’s not a pretty picture. Maybe next time I drain the tub running 450 gallons of 103 water down it cleans it up pretty well. I have a couple ideas left but don’t know if I like them. One would be to shorten the on off points way up and solve the problem but cycle the pump 5 times as often.:confused:
 

inspectorD

Housebroken
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Dec 17, 2005
Messages
4,529
Reaction score
275
Can you put the cable or float in a sort of pipe conduit?
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,581
Reaction score
1,978
Location
Erie, PA
Well the float switch has to turn end for end. When it shuts the pump off it is hanging straight down on the power cord and when it turns on it is pointing up with cord down.
Looks like this.

switch.jpg
 

frodo

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2008
Messages
3,067
Reaction score
1,196
.the 2 floats should not be on the same elevation. 1 is to run the pump the othe is ABOVE the first to be the alarm/secondary pump

bathroom_layout_dims_door.jpg
 
Last edited:

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,581
Reaction score
1,978
Location
Erie, PA
.the 2 floats should not be on the same elevation. 1 is to run the pump the othe is ABOVE the first to be the alarm/secondary pump
Frodo

That’s basically what I have but being as the size of the tank is just 24” across a short tether will work fine but I will be dosing the tank too often. Because of the short swing that keeps the float from wrapping around stuff in the tank. I want to empty about 6’ of water when it turns on.

I had an idea tonight and wondered if you ever wired one this way. The safety float as you show but instead of one float to turn pump on and off. What if I used 2 for that a lower one on a short tether for shutting down and a upper one on a short tether for turning on. I think I could figure out a circuit to do that. Then I could mount them both to a piece of PVC pipe just to hold them and if I needed to adjust them or replace something I don’t have to pull the whole pump. Just a bolt thru the pipe and the tank to hold it.

They used some kind of plastic yellow rope. Not sure if that will rot or not.
 

slownsteady

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Messages
6,904
Reaction score
1,310
Location
Sussex County, NJ
yellow nylon rope, like the kind they use to float lines in a swimming pool will last a good long time. Especially if not exposed to light. When it starts to fray...fibers will start to feel like little splinters....replace it.
 

nealtw

Contractor retired
Joined
Nov 4, 2010
Messages
24,769
Reaction score
3,395
Location
Chiliwack BC Canada
6 ft is likely the problem, we see them here in a plastic sump in the basement floor. Maybe 30 gallons. They go for years with out a hick up
 

frodo

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2008
Messages
3,067
Reaction score
1,196
why would you want to have 6' worth of waste water before you pump?

that is your problem, the tether to the float is to long.

make it 12''.


if you want 6'...move your floats up the pipe at 6' but the actual travel of the float needs to be short

bathroom_layout_dims_door.jpg
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,581
Reaction score
1,978
Location
Erie, PA
Maybe a different kind of float switch..like a caged ball or similar.
https://www.grainger.com/category/float-switches/pump-controls/pumps/ecatalog/N-cc8

Actually your last idea is along the same line; a high contact to start the pump and a low contact to stop it. Make the space between the two as deep as you like.
That’s the exact float I have.

I think it might be one of those times I had to just explain my problem out loud to come up with my answer. The more I think about it a double float on about 1’ of cord might be the solution.

Yep the rope looks just like you would see in a pool. Almost too stiff to be any good for a real rope.

Neal
Yep I have had on in my sump pump at the old house for 30 years or more cord is about a foot long and it dumps about 20 gallons per dose. This thing I want to come on maybe 4 or 5 times a day not 40 or 50 thus the tall column of waste water. If I had built my own the tank wouldn’t have been so deep and much wider more like a septic tank. Actually the right way to do it would have been keep a septic tank and let this pump just dose the outflow of gray water. Or better yet have a community tank for the 6 houses involved with some good industrial strength equipment in there like a lift station. This little town is kind of Mickey Mouse about stuff. I’m just glad they allowed us to hook up or my whole back yard would now be a sand mound with the new codes.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,581
Reaction score
1,978
Location
Erie, PA
why would you want to have 6' worth of waste water before you pump?

that is your problem, the tether to the float is to long.

make it 12''.


if you want 6'...move your floats up the pipe at 6' but the actual travel of the float needs to be short
Right now the same float turns the pump on and off. When it is floating straight up it comes on when it is hanging from the cord straight down the pump stops. The second float is the failsafe float and if the pump doesn’t come on the second float is set just a bit higher than the other one and it kills power and turns on the alarm.

With one float for on and off the tether has to be long enough for how many feet of waste to pump out. thus the long cord.

With my new idea of a float for on and a float for off they could both be short if I can come up with a simple circuit to do that without a couple latching relays if I don’t have to.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,581
Reaction score
1,978
Location
Erie, PA

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,581
Reaction score
1,978
Location
Erie, PA
This looks like the deal. Not sure how they are latching the upper float on until the lower one shuts it off. I might have to give them a call.

Double Float.JPG

Double Float 2.JPG
 

nealtw

Contractor retired
Joined
Nov 4, 2010
Messages
24,769
Reaction score
3,395
Location
Chiliwack BC Canada
This looks like the deal. Not sure how they are latching the upper float on until the lower one shuts it off. I might have to give them a call.
Why not high level and a timer.
You could likely adapt a controller out of a washer or something.:trophy:
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,581
Reaction score
1,978
Location
Erie, PA
Why not high level and a timer.
You could likely adapt a controller out of a washer or something.:trophy:
Some stuff takes longer to grind up than other stuff I guess. :(

:worthless: "Better"
 
2
Top