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When to Invest in a Sewage Grinder Pump

Aug 14, 2023

By webfx

A sewage pump is a device that transfers waste outside your home. Learn whether you need a sewage grinder pump and the benefits of these systems.

Do You Need a Sewage Grinder Pump?

Investing in a sewage grinder pump can help cut through any debris in your home’s wastewater. This tool features a steel blade that grinds solid waste to a pulp, preventing blockage and buildup for long, horizontal and high-head discharge runs. If your home’s sewage pump frequently clogs or becomes blocked, a grinder pump may help prevent these buildups and keep the sewage pump running smoothly and efficiently.

As waste travels from the sewer line to the tank, it can get stuck. A potential clog is even more likely if the waste must travel from a lower level in your home, causing gravity to work against the system and make the process less efficient. By design, sewage pumps transport liquid and solid waste from your home to a sewer system or septic tank, ensuring you never notice it along the way.
Generally, a sewage pump is a wise investment for homes with three or fewer residents. Sewage pumps can help transport fluids away from the basement and below-level plumbing into the city line.

On the other hand, you can also use a sewage grinder pump with a septic tank. If you lack a municipal hookup, a sewage pump can effectively transport bathroom waste from your home into the tank. Here are some of our most popular sewage pumps.

1/3-Horsepower Cast-Iron Sewage Pump

The Zoeller 1/3-horsepower sewage pump features a long-lasting cast-iron casing, helping your system continue working effectively even in harsh environments. The motor initiates when the tethered float switch reaches its maximum threshold, enabling your system to keep flowing with up to 88 gallons per minute of wastewater capacity.

The 1/3-horsepower sewage pumps also feature a non-clogging pump intake, providing reliable service and the ability to process spherical solids of up to 2 inches in diameter. The Zoeller 1/3-horsepower sewage pump boasts all the features you need from a sump pump to improve the removal of wastewater from your home. Zoeller offers consumer versions of commercial-grade products, ensuring you can feel confident in the sewage grinder pump’s effectiveness and reliability.

Each 1/3-horsepower sewage pump is factory-tested and arrives with a two-year limited warranty. Additionally, sewage grinder pump installation is simple, and we provide a start guide and detailed instructions to ensure you can install your pump yourself, if you choose.

1/2-Horsepower Pro Cast-Iron Sewage Pump

The Zoeller 1/2-horsepower sewage pump helps transport wastewater of up to 2 inches in diameter with rates of 103 GPM. This sewage grinder pump can prevent clogs and buildups and comes with a three-year limited warranty. The sewage pump’s operation is automatic, initiated by a dependable vertical float switch designed for years of continuous use.

Our professional approach, emphasizing superior craftsmanship, provides our customers with peace of mind knowing their sewage pump should work reliably, even in harsh conditions. We also understand the importance of superior customer service and prioritize answering any questions our customers may have about our sewage grinder pumps.

1-Horsepower Cast-Iron Sewage Grinder Pump

Zoeller’s 1-horsepower sewage grinder pump has a cast-iron outer casing designed for continual use. This sewage grinder pump is an ideal upgrade for any household looking for a more powerful motor to handle mixed solid and liquid rates up to 48 GPM and 2,880 gallons per hour. A 1-horsepower pump is a powerful unit for large-volume capacity.

A 1-horsepower sewage grinder pump can help propel fluids from low plumbing fixtures or a basement to an elevated line. The cast-iron sewage grinder pump can also be an in-line upgrade, helping reduce hassles and health hazards from sewage backups.

Like other Zoeller products, our 1-horsepower sewage grinder pump features premium, durable materials for reliable service.

Differences Between a Sewage Pump and Sewage Grinder Pump

Sewage consists of wastewater from plumbing fixtures and appliances plus toilet waste, which needs to leave your home and enter the municipal sewage system or your septic tank. Water from your kitchen, sinks, showers or washing machine is gray water, while toilet waste is black water. It’s critical to remove both types, as wastewater contains various bacteria and can make you and your family sick.

While you may commonly hear the terms “sewage pump” and “sewage grinder pump” used interchangeably, they have significant differences in their operating methods.

Both pump types function at elevations that require mechanical assistance to transport sewage up a grade.

Despite this similarity, there are unique differences between both pumps, making it essential to understand the difference between sewage pumps vs. grinder pumps. Learn more about each and when to use them.

Characteristics of a Sewage Pump

Sewage pumps can handle solid waste to some extent. In basement bathrooms and toilets, a pump must transport sewage up into the sewer lines or a septic system with solids intact. While a grinder pump is a type of sewage pump, not all sewage pumps are grinder pumps. Grinder pumps have unique features setting them apart.

Typically, a sewage pump that lacks grinding capabilities can transfer sewage solids up to 2 inches in diameter that can dissolve or break down. Firmer materials may cause significant system degradation and clogs. In most cases, a general sewage pump draws less power and may be less expensive than a grinder pump. A sewage pump cannot move sewage to as high a point as a sewage grinder pump can.

In addition to grinder pumps, there are two common types of sewage pumps, including effluent pumps and solid-handling pumps. Effluent pumps are a type of sewage pump often used in small on-site systems.

An effluent sewage pump works to transfer effluent flowing out of a septic tank. Effluent is a clear liquid because the solids have formed out in a septic tank. Overall, effluent pumps can pump higher levels and be more efficient than some other types of sewage pumps because effluent pumps do not handle solids.

On the other hand, there are solid-handling sewage pumps, also known as sewage ejector pumps, designed to transfer raw sewage. You may require a solid-handling pump because raw sewage often contains too many solids for lower-quality pumps. Most solid-handling sewage pumps feature alternative impellers to minimize the risk of clogging and recessed impellers to aid in passing larger solids.

Characteristics of a Sewage Grinder Pump

Grinder pumps are a subtype of sewage pumps, which is why many people may confuse these terms. A sewage grinder pump uses a cutting mechanism to grind up solids into smaller pieces to create waste that can easily pass through pipes. Because the waste is relatively fine, it’s possible to pump it to a higher level or elevation than traditional sewage pumps.
Sewage grinder pumps are more powerful than other options and tend to be more expensive because of this capability. While a durable, high-quality sewage grinder pump can handle solids, it will still experience wear and tear, so you must only flush items that belong in the toilet.

There are two primary types of grinder pumps, including centrifugal and semi-positive displacement. Most grinder pumps come with a storage tank and an alert system that notifies you if wastewater reaches or passes a particular point due to a grinder pump malfunction. If the system experiences an issue, an alarm will go off, notifying homeowners to correct the problem.

By understanding the fundamental differences between sewage pumps and grinder pumps, you can decide which option is better for your unique needs. Sewage grinder pumps are high-pressure and low-volume systems, meaning they are ideal for moving smaller amounts of raw sewage over a greater distance than a sewage injector pump.

Benefits of Owning a Sewage Grinder Pump System

Properties with plumbing fixtures situated lower than the sewer line often require sewage grinder pumps. Typically, wastewater naturally travels downhill thanks to gravity, but if your property is lower than the sewer line, the wastewater cannot reach the line on its own. In addition to a grinder pump’s ability to handle solids, it also helps send the water up the sewer line.

Here are some noteworthy benefits of a sewage grinder pump system.

  • Create proper flow: A sewage grinder pump can effectively transfer wastewater for a consistent, reliable flow.
  • Reduce buildup: A grinder pump helps eliminate any buildup by processing liquid and solid waste.
  • Prevent flooding: If your system experiences a clog, your pipes might back up and overflow. Fortunately, sewage grinder pumps are quick and efficient, giving you less worry about a clog causing any flooding.

How to Install a Sewage Pump

While a technician can install a sewage pump, residential sewage grinder pumps are also relatively simple to install yourself with the proper instructions and equipment.

1. Prepare Your Installation Site

The first step to installing a sewage pump is to prepare yourself and your work site with these tips.

  • Read the manual: A user manual is essential when installing a sewage pump, as the instructions and specs will vary depending on the model you have. A pump manual provides these directions and lets you know what accessories are compatible with the make and model.
  • Check local building regulations: Building regulations vary significantly among regions, making it vital to know, understand and abide by all regional plumbing and building codes. In some cases, you may need a permit to install a new sewage pump. Before getting to work on your sewage pump, contact your regional building authority to ensure you are familiar with the rules.
  • Ensure proper ventilation: A crucial aspect of installing a sewage pump is to give it adequate airflow. A sewage pump requires a vent to balance pressure as it operates, allowing gases to escape. Typically, the vent will travel from the sump pit and connect to an existing vent or exit through the roof.
  • Evaluate piping standards: You must also understand how to install a discharge pipe, allowing for the water flow of your drainage unit. A pipe standard is approximately 2 inches in diameter to allow for solid waste. Additionally, you will need a check valve to ensure wastewater does not drain into the basin.

2. Select the Right Tools

Any installation job requires specific implements to get the job done. Another way to prepare is to research what tools you will need and have them on hand before starting. While the installation tasks can vary depending on the type of sewage pump, here are some essentials to gather.

  • Boxcutter: A boxcutter helps cut the pit’s seal to remove an existing sewage pump.
  • Bucket: A generously sized bucket is also ideal, as it can store the existing sewage pump and collect wastewater that may drain out.
  • Coupling: A coupling can connect a new check valve to piping or the pump.
  • Doughnut gaskets: Doughnut gaskets attach the basin cover to pipes.
  • Electrical cord grommets: An electrical cord grommet protects wiring from water damage.
  • Hacksaw: A hacksaw is useful to cut pipes to resize or open them.
  • Male-threaded adapter: A male-threaded adapter is a fitting that allows you to connect your discharge pipe to the sewage pump.
  • Pipe wrench: A pipe wrench helps you connect your PVC piping to the sewage pump.
  • Power drill: You will likely need a power drill to make a weep hole in the discharge piping, preventing it from fully drying out.
  • PVC cement and primer: Primer and PVC cement also help connect any fittings and pies to your unit.
  • PVC piping: You will need to select PVC piping that complies with any local building regulations.
  • Rags: You should also have old towels and rags to clean up any wastewater, spills or discharge.
  • Replacement gasket: A replacement gasket will be necessary if you want to replace your pump basin’s gasket.
  • Safety equipment: Protective equipment, including a filtration mask, gloves and protective goggles, can protect you from any potential contamination.
  • Zip ties: Usezip ties to secure any wiring slack.

3. Remove an Existing Sewage Pump

If your home does not already have a sewage pump, you will not need to complete this step. If your basement has an existing sewage pump, you may want to consider these steps to effectively remove it.

  • Vent pipe disconnection: The first step is determining if you need to disconnect the vent pipe. If you can’t remove a basin from the center, you likely need to disconnect and remove the pipes to slide the basin over them. Some homeowners may need to use a hacksaw to properly cut the discharge piping and vent to take off the cover.
  • Remove the basin cover: Once you have access to the basin cover, you will need to remove it, but the cover often uses bolts or silicone for a strong seal, preventing odor and gas leaks. You can use a boxcutter to open a sealed cover and remove any screws anchoring it.
  • Take off the check valve: To take all components from the pit, you will need to remove the check valve from the pump. When installing a new sewage pump, you should consider replacing the check valve to ensure it is working properly. When handling any wastewater or disconnecting the valve, you should always wear PPE.
  • Remove the old pump: Once you detach the pump, you will need to take off the discharge pipe to remove the entire unit from the water. You will need to be careful, as the remaining water can stain your floor or clothing. You can place the sewage pump in a large bucket to prevent wastewater accumulation and dripping.
  • Inspect accessories: You will also want to check the connectors, basin and pipes to determine if any of these are in good shape and compatible to use with your new sewage pump. You can always replace these accessories, especially if they are stained, cracked or damaged.

4. Install the New Sewage Pump

The next step is to install your new sewage pump. These instructions and tips can help you complete this task.

  • Clean debris: One of the first steps is to remove any waste or materials accumulated along the basin walls. You can use a scraping tool to remove an old seal and place a new one.
  • Position the basin: You must secure the container with powerful glue to prevent potential leaks before attaching the new pump. Because the basin uses gravity to operate, you will need to position the new pump below ground, allowing the wastewater to flow into the tank.
  • Install the check valve: You should begin setting up the check valve before placing the pump in the sewage basin. You can attach the component to the pump by applying primer within the fitting and exterior of the discharge pump. You can then place the coupling at the pipe’s top and use PVC cement to attach the fitting to the discharge pipe. Slightly twist it, holding it for a few seconds to secure the bond.
  • Set the float switch: You will want to install the float switch at the top of the pump, securing it with glue. Position the float switch so the trigger aims at the basin and has a complete range of motion. You can open the vent outlet to release water when the component activates the sewage pump. Adjust the float switch so the wastewater level does not become too low beneath the drain inlet.
  • Test the pump and float switch: The next step is to test the pump and float switch and ensure you connect the new pump to the dedicated circuit. When testing the pump and float switch, you will want to enable the pump to run long enough to ensure it is working.
  • Cut the PVC piping: If you install a new discharge pipe, you will want to measure the old one, considering proper dimensions. You can use a hacksaw to cut the piping and smooth out any remaining edges with a deburring tool.
  • Place a weep hole: Drilling a weep hole helps the pump retain moisture and stops the pump from fully drying out. A weep hole also helps control the water and airflow away from the pit, allowing the system to flow freely each time it needs to empty the basin.
  • Connect the pump and adapter to the discharge pipe: You can secure the male-threaded adapter to the PVC pipe’s side using PVC cement and primer. Next, you will want to thread the side of the pipe connected to the adapter into the sewage pump, ensuring you use a wrench to tighten it.
  • Place the pump into the pit: Once you have cut the discharge pipe, you will attach it to the sewage pump and place these components into the basin. Make sure to position the float switch away from the wastewater inlet.
  • Connect the discharge pipe: Next, you should use PVC glue and primer to connect the coupling to the PVC pipe’s top. You can then slide the adapter over the couple from the check valve before securing it to the discharge pipe. Using glue, connect the couple to the discharge pipe, attaching it to the check valve.
  • Test the sewage system: If you have confirmed the correct placement of all components, you can then test the sewage system. You will want to ensure the float switch can move freely within it. Connect the sewage pump to the outlet and fill the basin with enough water to trigger the float switch. You can ensure proper orientation by piggybacking the pump plug off the float switch.
  • Secure basin cover: You will need to attach the cover of the basin using silicone around the opening’s edge and sliding it over the discharge pipe to press it in place. Screw bolts and washers into place, holding the cover down securely.
  • Connect vent pipe to the top of the basin cover: Finally, you will need to attach the sewage pump’s piping to the basin, allowing it to vent gases and odors. These ventilation pipes will need to vent outside or connect to the home’s main stack.

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At Zoeller, we offer the highest-quality products and services to bring our customers value. We are proud to offer well pumps, automatic sensory utility pumpsirrigation pumps, home improvement systems and more.
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