Plumbing in the Home/sewage pump problem


I have a submersible sewage pump for my basement bathroom that have successfully ejected waste water from my shower, toilet, and vanity for about three year, with the last nine months getting daily shower and toilet use.  The vertical ejection pipe is only about seven or eight feet (max) above the pump.  Recently the motor fails to shut off, especially after the pump ejects three or four times (after a shower).  Nothing ejects; the motor just runs continuously.  Thinking it's a stuck float, I removed the pump and noticed no debris and raised and lowered the float easily.  The float is a cone-ish shaped thing that raises up and down a vertical rod.  Despite that test, the motor still runs continuously after a few successful ejections.  As a result, I think it may be a check valve issue.  I have a two-inch check valve just above the pump on my vertical PVC line.  Above it, I have a shut-off valve.  When the pump's motor runs continuously after a shower, I close the shut off valve for a few seconds and then open it.  Immediately, the pumps ejects waste water and then shuts off properly. I've concluded that the little disc in the shut off valve is malfunctioning after a few ejections and flipping over and getting stuck.  By turning the shut off valve above it close and open seems to create a vacuum or pressure that flips the check valve back over and solves the problem, temporarily.  Before I drop $40 on a new check valve (I plan to get a Zoeller cast iron 2"), what do you think?  Could it be my check valve or is it most likely my float getting stuck?  Could I try waterproof grease to lubricate the float's rod?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

John, You have done everything I would do. My experience tells me you have a intermittent switch issue. The switch is a mechanical type not a diaphragm type so therefore back pressure should have no effect. Further, a seven or eight foot rise in 2" pipe would not be enough to keep the float up if the check wasn't working. Unless you have a really small holding tank.
I would replace or repair the switch. Floats do have a tendency to hang up or down when paper and solids and feminine products get flushed but if you found it clear and it still didn't shut money's on the switch being worn and on it's way to complete failure.

Plumbing in the Home

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Jay Nicholas


Plumbing & Heating (warm air, hot water & steam heat)


40 years in the business, 40 years as a lic. master plumber in NY State. Retired

Graduated Magna cum laude at the School of Hard Knocks

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Commercial, residential and light industrial. You name it ...I have probably worked on it

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