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Author Topic: Is there a sump pump alternative?  (Read 381 times)

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Offline ponderosae

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Is there a sump pump alternative?
« on: December 22, 2019, 04:42:00 AM »
After reading many reviews, it looks like they don't make any of them like they used to, so is there something better than a modern sump pump that would actually keep working?

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Is there a sump pump alternative?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2019, 06:19:06 AM »
I've got an older aerobic sewage  system that uses a sand filter and a sump pump .About every year I was replacing the pump.80 dollar cheapy .I finally bit the bullet and installed a heavy duty effluent pump which was the best part of $200 and never had a problem .Well not trouble free actually  I've since replaced the original once in 20 years .----don't get me started on aerobic sewage systems .Talk about a pain in the posterior .good grief . >:(

Offline ponderosae

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Re: Is there a sump pump alternative?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2019, 06:52:02 AM »
Thanks, I'll check those out too. I was just looking at a transfer pump, which says it can use a flow switch (sold seperately) to turn it on and off, and it seems that I could use a garden hose to pipe thread adapter to plumb it, for another alternative... or I guess the hose would be redundant (if not too long in the first place) and I could simply use adapter(s) directly to pipe there.

Yeah, it looks like the effluent pump is similar (like a kind of transfer pump, and I see some of them have pipe threads—of course—the first one I looked at happened to have garden hose threads). One of the sump style piggyback float switches I looked at said they work with transfer pumps too, so I guess those are mostly sold separately for that purpose. I was thinking that the pedestal sumps might work better, likewise for not being submersed and prone to water damage, but the reviews were sketchy on one of those as well, so it seems that an alternative setup with separate parts would make it easier to keep up with (especially since the stores around here had sold out of most sump pumps when I looked)... it's no wonder, since about everyone's must break that often!

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Is there a sump pump alternative?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2019, 08:09:04 AM »
Garden  hose size would be an itty bitty pump .I was referring to a two inch discharge pump only  pushing up about 4 feet into a 6"  tile .
As far as a regular sump pump I have two in my crawl space .A deep one that discharges first and a high sump in case the deep pump fails for some reason and they are both 1" discharge .

Offline ponderosae

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Re: Is there a sump pump alternative?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2019, 08:16:43 AM »
Right, I was considering a smaller one because there isn't much flooding there unless the rainfall is above average, so I would think it could keep up with a relatively small volume of however many gallons per hour (which a hose can drain by gravity to empty a hot tub without a pump, so I don't think it takes much more power than that). It also seems to be more powerful in a way (maybe higher pressure), because it can suck water up about twice as high as the sumps say they can push it. I don't know much about this stuff in particular, I've mostly experimented with air pressure, but that has plumbing in common anyway. I'd think the most important thing with those would be to keep the inlet pipe out of the silt, sand, etc., which seems to be another problem with submersible pumps, because they may end up getting clogged with that (or of course the top could get wet if the float switch gets clogged or otherwise malfunctions, and then the whole thing is shot).

I've been using a shop vac there in the meantime, and it doesn't stir up too much sludge unless I'm near the bottom (where the sump pump would sit), so I suppose a transfer pipe could vaccum it from much higher up than a sump pipe spewing from the bottom, and would then turn on more often (to transfer less at a time)... I guess it depends on how adjustable the float switch is.

Well, there's been nothing to vacuum all night, because the soil seems to drain pretty well there. I left the sump filled at least halfway earlier, and it emptied itself when the rain stopped, so it doesn't look like a small pump would have to run very often.

Offline ponderosae

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Re: Is there a sump pump alternative?
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2019, 06:36:43 PM »
Okay, maybe this turned out to be a hypothetical question, since there wasn't a transfer pump near by either, and I didn't feel like going to every store again (or ordering something during a holiday). But I found a pedestal sump pump to try, and its directions mentioned that basins are recommended, or at least setting it on top of bricks instead of dirt or sand. So I set it up on a paver, and skipped buying a check valve, because I was able to reuse the existing pipes (which didn't have one), after resizing the fitting end, and then I figured that letting some water fall back in would help rinse it out too.

Besides, it would have cost more to piece the other contraption together (unless maybe with a drill driven pump, since I had an extra drill, but I found nothing but bad reviews on those little pumps, so I got a pretty big one, and luckily there was just enough room for the retrofit, as if I'd planned it that way). Otherwise, I guess when the installation is too far from ideal, it could explain why the pumps don't seem to last very long. The other one was there for a long time though, and it also had plenty of bad reviews, so whatever (it was discontinued, and I had to try something else anyway). The main thing was that I didn't want to submerge another one in its place. It's surprising how much quieter this non-submersible pump is though, it really purrs (whereas I'd read that some of the transfer pumps are much louder).

I also found an alternative explanation for why check valves are recommended (since the manual didn't say why that was, and I'd prefer to know what I'm talking about). One potential result of backflow is that the pump impeller could rotate backwards and unscrew off the motor shaft (according to a list of 8 Reasons for Sump Pump Failure). So that's something I may have to reconsider installing as well. Yes, apparently the sump pump setup has to be pieced together anyway. It looks like there are both quiet and loud check valves for sump pumps in particular (which is the major complaint about those), but I don't think mine will run often enough to cause a racket with the standard valve. There were other reasons to prevent backflow too (besides efficiency) like blocking water inflow from broken pipes elsewhere, due to pressure changes (if the pipe is connected to others like that), it could flood the sump in reverse without a check valve installed.

Hopefully trying to set it up better will help this time (well, I didn't have anything to do with the last one, but looking at the old instruction manual, it wasn't very helpful in detailing a proper setup). Between a lack of information, and things being thrown around in shipping, that might explain why they all have mixed reviews. Also for this pedestal type I was thinking that putting a fine mesh screen around its perimeter could keep spiders out of the motor (since it has larger vent holes all over), and I'm putting river rocks around the paver that I set it on to contain the dirt there much more (they don't recommend using smaller gravel which could get sucked into the machine).

Offline hedgerow

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Re: Is there a sump pump alternative?
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2019, 01:15:43 PM »
We have a lot of ground water around here and I have drain tile running around the inside at the footing on my basement dumping into a plastic pit. I went threw a lot of different brands of sump pumps. Zoeller pumps lasted well but I still would loose the switches every two years from cycling. I still use the Zoeller brand check valve and installed a AMT pedal stainless pump about 10 years ago and have had zero issues with it. It wasn't cheap I think $500.00 or more. My runs year around a  lot more in the spring but even now It kicks on every five minutes. 

Offline ponderosae

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Re: Is there a sump pump alternative?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2019, 06:19:59 PM »
Sounds good (and looks like it has more of a solid cover over the motor), I hadn't seen those high end pedestal types (industrial/commercial they say). But I thought the residential kind still looked too big when I saw it at first (not really knowing what the purpose of its dimensions were). Maybe that's one of the reasons that they don't seem to be as popular. The one I found (Superior model 92553) had been on the shelf for about four years, while the submersible models kept selling out. It works very well so far though (testing it several times, I couldn't even finish pouring a bucket of water in before the pump got it out of there). It doesn't empty it below a certain point, since I had to prop it up off the dirt, but the pit still drained overnight with the rocks added (and those really cleared up the water). I also wrapped teflon tape around where the float connects (to prevent galvanic corrosion there, just in case), because its threads were a different type of metal (copper vs stainless steel it appeared). I'd read some reviews where the zinc coated ones had rusted on another brand too, so I got the bigger one with more stainless parts.


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