A normal home sewer system is a gravity flow system. In simple terms, this means the sewer pipe exiting the house must be higher in elevation than where the sewer pipe enters the public sewer system. Building codes require, depending upon the size of pipe being used, that this downhill fall be either 1/4” or 1/8” per foot of pipe between the house exit and the public sewage entrance.
When there is not sufficient difference in elevation between the house and the public sewage system to meet required codes, a sewer ejector pump is required. A sewer ejector pump is just what it says it is. It’s a system that pumps sewage from the house to the public sewer.
Grinder Pumps. A grinder pump is basically like a garbage disposal on steroids. It will grind up almost anything to a liquid, and then pump it out of the holding tank. Grinder pumps are more expensive than standard ejector pumps, but they are a much better option.
Standard Pumps. A standard ejector pump does not have a grinder capability. Without the grinder action, just about anything can plug the impellers on the pump. These are less expensive than grinder pumps, but tend to have more problems and require more servicing.
Sump Pumps. Sump pumps should not be confused with sewer ejector pumps. Sump pumps are for pumping water only, and as everyone knows, not all sewage is liquid.
Ejector pump systems can have either one or two pumps. Dual pump systems cycle between the two pumps, always having one pump in reserve incase one pump goes bad. Single pump systems are just that, a system with only one pump.
All pumps have a check valve or one way valve attached. This allows sewage to be pumped out of the holding tank, but when the pump stops operation, the check valve does not allow residue in the line to drain back into the tank. The best type of check valve is a ball valve.
Most systems have three or four floats to operate the control panel. Floats tell the pumps to turn on when the holding tank gets to an established level of capacity and to turn off when the cycle is completed.
If any of the floats or check valves in a system go bad, they can cause damage to or even totally burn out a pump.
If you are considering new construction or a remodel that is going to require an ejector pump system, please keep us in mind, we have installed a large number of these systems.
If you already have a system installed and are having difficulties, again, please keep us in mind, we have a lot of experience in maintenance and repairs to ejector pump systems.