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Sump Pump help..

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Jay H, Apr 18, 2007.

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  1. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Although not about stoves and such, I figure most of us here are fairly handy... My sump pump that came with the house I bought died from this noreaster monday. We had a power outage and by the time my power came back, my non-submersible pedestal sump pump (A Flotec PM3600D) was underwater and not functioning... So I borrowed a submersible pool pump and pumped out all the water (A lot!! ran for 12+ hours though it's a small flow pump) Anyway, I need to replace it but would like to find a submersible pump. Basement is unfinished and I already plan for water so no big deal, no real damage or anything which is why I don't think I need to go with the battery backup DC sump pump. Unfortunately, looking at all the submersible pumps with an auto float valve, they don't seem to move a lot of water per pump cycle. My pedestal sump pumps sits in a sump well about 15" wide and a good 20" or so deep and it moves a lot of water per cycle. I'm afraid during heavy water seepage, a submersible sump pump would almost be running constantly, however, I've yet to find a submersible pedestal sump pump....

    Do you know of any? Is the reason they don't make a submersible pedestal pump because of overheating? One can assume that the submersibles being underwater could use the naturally cold rainwater as a cooling source cause obviously it can't be vented to the air? The pedestal sumps are air cooled...which makes them not submersible...

    Is there a submersible pump that can pump a large volume and from a large sump well??? Should I be concerned about this?

    Also, I am fairly certain that my Flotec 3600D is 1 1/4" NPT female thread as I measured it and it has about a roughly 1.5" outer diameter...


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_pipe_thread

    Seems to indicate that a 1.5" NPT is about 1.90" outer diamter and that is not the case..

    My output tube is a 1 1/2" PVC piping connected to a fixed PVC line through my foundation connected via a rubber hose clamp. I would assume that if I was to buy a 1 1/2" NPT sump pump I could get a converter and run it that way, I'm not concerned at all for loss of flow or anything.

    Jay

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  2. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Jay...The ABC's of "Sump Pumps":

    http://www.hometips.com/cs-protected/guides/sumps.html

    Not all sump pumps "are created equal". Below are four different styles of "sump pumps". Top left a "Flotec" (utility) sump pump. 1" discharge. It can pump down to 1/4" of the surface it sits on...for short Durations. Next to it is a Simer 1 1/4" discharge (utility) sump pump....can pump to within 3/8" of the surface. The one below it is also a (suction line)"sump pump" non submersible. To the left of it a "heavy duty" cast iron housing submersible sump pump. These two in front are made by "Little Giant" pump company of OK City, OK...probably the best "mass produced" pumps ever made.

    http://www.lgpc.com/Export/ByCategory.aspx?TypeID=8&CategoryID=34

    A word of caution...unless you are caught "with your pants down" DON"T buy a sump pump from the "big box stores". Shop around on-line and locally from a "reputable" supply type store. The pumps you buy from the big box places are of "B-Rate" quality and don't last as long...a dirty little secret the "orange aprons" won't tell you.
    When shopping for a submersible...keep this in mind: The bigger the discharge, the more durable the pump is. Cast iron base is better than plastic...but more $$$.
    The "ultimate" sump pump is one that is "ejector" rated...Big $$$'s but not much more than the top of the line 1 1/2" cast iron sump pump.

    http://www.nextag.com/little-giant-sump-pump/search-html

    Pedestal pumps are "old school". The closest analogy is the difference between an old "circulator pump" and a new "cartridge circulator"...they both do the same job...just one is better designed than the other.
    Pedestal pumps are popular because of the "float control" method they use (adjustable rod).

    My advice to you: Buy a good quality submersible pump...with or without a float control...then buy an "add on style" adjustable float...they sell them in "user friendly" designs where all you have to do is "plug them in".

    Hooking an 1 1/2" pump to an 1 1/4" discharge line? The "adapter" you need is called an "1 1/2" BY 1 1/4" Reducing BUSHING"...fairly common item and only about $1.98 at the local hardware store. A "word of concern": Unless the discharge line is short...or "well secured" to the wall...don't be surprised if the 1 1/2" pump "rattles" or "shakes" the discharge pipe a bit.

    Did your old pedestal pump "Cook"??? (black marks...smells like burn't pop-corn???) If not...take it out into the driveway on a sunny day and "hose it (the motor)out real good with the garden hose", let it dry for a few days...then blow out the motor with "electrical contact cleaner"....it would make a good "back up pump" if need be. As long as it didn't have power applied to it while underwater...it should be fine.

    I'm not trying to "sell" anything... I just believe I work hard for my $$$'s...and believe spending $$$ IN the USA is the best policy...especially with a company that stands by their word and product after the sale...What else? Easy to find "customer service":

    http://www.lgpc.com/ContactUs/index.aspx

    Attached Files:

  3. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Well, I think it is fried, because power went out when I wasn't home, but power did come back, except at this point, the entire sump pump was underwater and surely the float was underwater in the "on" position.

    In a fit of panic, I ordered a Hydromatic pedestal pump online which basically is a piece for piece replacement of the Flotec, has the same 1 1/4 NPT discharge, same 1/3HP and similar flow rate specs. However, I'm in the middle of trying to cancel it if I can without penalty because, I did find a nice Little Giant TSW-A series which is a 1/3 HP submersible with a built in high-water alarm for $137 which is cost effective for me. They also offer a TSW-C series of the same power but with an available battery-backup (TSW-ASP) unit. I've emailed LG to see if I can retrofit that to the A-series (Do you know this by any chance?). Anyway, I want to buy that but right now, I'm stuck if I can't cancel the Hydromatic one.

    My worries still apply to submersibles, I don't know if they pump out the same volume per cycle a pedestal pump would. One benefit of the submersible ones is that is is generally very quiet cause it's underwater. That is not a concern to me though, actually, I kind of like being able to hear my sump pump running when I'm in bed if I listen very very carefully, cause then I know it's working... The high water alert would alleviate this need, assuming it is battery operated...

    I took apart the Flotec and was looking around in it. The wire coil looks OK, I took out what I was thinking might be a fuse that was hooked up to the switch, but some googling shows it's a ZR capactitor. The power cord is connected to something very small that is simply taped up on the motor coils but I don't know what that is... I can put it all back together and hose it down for kicks and giggles, maybe it'll somehow be resurrected but I'm not holding out any hope..

    Jay

    This is the Little Giant that I'd like to get:

    http://www.lgpc.com/Product/ItemDetail.aspx?ProductID=1307

    The fancy C series with battery backup:

    http://www.lgpc.com/Product/ItemDetail.aspx?ProductID=1312
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Funny thing about sump pumps in my old house - they often failed because they went years without being needed....as opposed to being used too much. I know that may not help much, but when you get up and going again, it's good to exercise the pump every couple of months so it will work then the time comes.
  5. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Very good point WEB! If you have a sump pump down in the basement...A little TLC/Maint goes a long way...sump pump set-ups need preventative maintenance too.


    Jay...Even if you can't "back out" of buying the pedestal pump..."Two pumps in the sump" isn't a bad idea. It's a little more $$$ but "cheap piece of mind".

    I would install a submersible as a "primary" and the pedestal as "secondary/back-up".

    Simple float controls:

    http://www.nextag.com/float-switch/search-html

    Here's the one in particular I was reffering to:
    http://www.plumbersurplus.com/Prod/Little-Giant-RFSN-9-115-230Vm-1-2-1-HP-Piggyback-Remote-(wide-Angle)-Float-Switch-15-Power-Cord-(599117)/13259/Cat/696

    It might sound like i'm "re-inventing" the wheel...but in bigger installs "Duplex Operation is Standard" (One pump "cycles"...then the other, back and forth). Not a very attractive set-up for the average homeowner...but fairly common in commercial/industrial apps.
  6. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Submersibles move water real nice...and are quick! Fairly "bullet proof" too.

    Funny story:
    The Little Giant 1 1/2" cast iron submersible I have in the pictures above is a $198.00 pump. But it was a "nice score" for "free". I did an (electrical) "service change" from fuses to breakers for a customer. The whole time I was working...I was looking at that pump...cast into the corner replaced by two pedestal pumps and shiny new PVC pipe. Customer came down to check on the job "So you get a little water in the basement huh?" He tells me the whole story..."Mind if I get rid of that old (I dared to say it) JUNK pump...for ya??" to which he replied "Go for it" (no questions asked.
    Rolling away from the job...a fellow electrician I brought with me to help on the job says to me "You are a junk collector...Why the ---- did you grab that old junk pump for?(laughing)"

    "YUP...you're right it's junk...Want to bet me $50 bucks I get it up and running in twenty minutes flat on Sunday?...You gotta know what you are looking at before you break my stones (the conversation goes back and forth) I know what I grabbed"

    A year goes by...down the road...I get a phone call "You got a sump pump I can borrow" I bring the same pump over, help him out...and what to do I say after all is "said and done"...

    "Ohh...By the way you owe me $50 bucks for the bet.."...lol
  7. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    BTW....In case anyone is wondering...The four pumps in the above picture...cost me a Grand total of $14.00 out of pocket.

    The simer was a "throw away" (jammed impeller), The 1" Flotec $9.00 the, L-G transfer $5...both "at auction".

    People have "strange hobbies" and collect all sorts of things...guess you might say I collect "pumps"....guess I should have become a plumber instead of an electrician...lol

    Someday I'll snap a picture of my $50.00 pump.
  8. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Well, I put the flotec back together and I plugged it in dry, turned the switch just to see if I could hear the motor spin... Yep, spinning.. So I install the PVC discharge pipe back in, put it back in the sump well, let water trickle down there, connect it all and turn it on... Pops the GFCI... Sounds like I probably have a short somewhere shorting to the case or something fishy. At this point, it's not worth it to me to fish around with it some more. I will save it cause I think the float switch might be useful.

    keyman, since you seem to be a collector, any ideas as to my problem. Would I be able to resurrect this by replacing some part inside. The capacitior seems to be in a sealed case so I don't think that is bad as the case seems water tight.

    Jay
  9. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    ...Yup...A few words on the subject....First of all...Errr Umm...do what I said...("not saying I told you so...but I told you so") Completely hose out that motor...with fresh clean water...blast it dry with compessed air (if available)...then get a can of "Electrical contact cleaner" spray out the motor. Without "going into a dia-tribe" I'll explain why: "Pure Water" for the all practicall purposes (at low voltages) is more "neautral than conductor"...seeing as the pump was "snorkling" in the "flood waters"...trace elements (sodium,iron,etc) have deposited themselves inside the motor. These then in turn create a "minimal" current leakage (not enough to give the sensation of feeling a shock...but enough to 'trip' a GFCI)
    Also...the windings of an electrical motor are made of copper wire coated with a MINERAL VARNISH...which is hydroscopic ('wicks' in water)also creating a potential current leakage.
    "Flushing" the motor will mitigate another potential problem (for any motor that got submerged) which is premature failure.

    This may be a "little more technical than you might be confident with" but in keeping with the "Good,Better,Best Philosphy" all competant, skilled, 'well versed' electrical contractors SHOULD adhere to (..."Having said that, if in doubt consult a LOCAL electrical professional in your area"...) I would suggest:

    Good: The pump is "conventionally" connected to GFCI protected outlet.

    Long term? I would "do some homework" in your locale...about the GFCI...check with the local Code authorities: Without citing chapter and verse from the NEC...You MIGHT be able to replace the GFCI (protected outlet) with a 'NON-GFCI protected'... "Single Dedicated outlet...whose sole purpose is to serve the cord connected equipment FASTENED in place"...this would be "BETTER"

    BEST: (Single Outlet) of the NEMA L5-20R or P (twist lock) configuration for both the outlet and cord cap...Additionally (though probably not required) a #8AWG solid "Grounding Bond wire" attached to the pump itself (treat the sump pump the same way a swimming pool motor would be treated)...I doubt any inspector would take issue with this set-up.

    Questions: Is the pump supplied by a "dedicated circuit"??? If so what is the AMPerage of the circuit (15 or 20 Amp)??? A single outlet must be rated for the current available at the outlet.

    Sound ridiculous? Try "dealing with these situations on a daily basis" like I have. I'm not a "big fan" of putting sump pumps on GFCI's for the sole reason...if the GFCI "nuisance trips" you have the potential for a flood.

    NEMA Configuration Chart:
    http://www.hubbell-canada.com/wiring/bryant/pdf/h/h3.pdf

    "What a single outlet looks like":

    Attached Files:

  10. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    I'm pretty sure the NEC has no rules regarding a sump pump and GFCI and there are religious battles I believe between the two, just like there is no NEC code about whether the ground plug should be on top or the bottom.

    I have a 15amp GFCI outlet that is dedicated for the sump pump. The Flotec is only rated at 3.5amps. Right now, I know this is not to code, I do share a 11amp Microwave that I occasionally use, but only because I haven't really wired that separately and I'm already careful about using it when there is water. I only use it to reheat stuff on occasion and that obviously means I am home.

    Jay
  11. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Without getting into too much detail....In regards to your comments above, I don't "hear anything scary" or anything that would cause concern....

    Having said that...although what you are doing "May/might sound or seem to be 'not good practice'..." I don't really see any "Code violations"...The electrical code leans towards the installed wiring...not necessary how it is utilized...big difference :)
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good info here. Moving to the DIY room per keymans's request to preserve thread integrity.
  13. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Oh, OK, that explains the email I got when this thread was moved. I thought I posted something improper or something! I posted this before this forum (great forum, BTW!) existed.

    Jay
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