New septic lift pump won t shut off: Plumbing  -- Home Building Discussion Forum and Review New septic lift pump won t shut off: Plumbing -- Home Building Discussion Forum

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 01-23-2010, 09:42 Post: 168186
kwschumm



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 New septic lift pump won t shut off

Yesterday the alarm went off telling us the septic tank level was too high. The pump was not running so I pulled the pump (a Meyers brand pump) and took it to the pump store who matched it up to a Little Giant pump. It fit fine and, when fired up, pumped like a champ.

Unfortunately it never shut off when the water level got low and had to be shut off when it started sucking air.

The tank has an external float assembly with two floats about 18" apart vertically. I have no wiring diagram that shows how pump cycling is supposed to be controlled.

Can anyone offer suggestions on why the pump may not be shutting off when the water level is low?






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 01-23-2010, 13:19 Post: 168187
hardwood

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 New septic lift pump won t shut off

KW;
Can you make the pump stop if you push the lower float down with a wooden stick or something non conductive?
The ones I'm familliar with have only one float that slides up and down on a rod with adjustable stops on the top and bottom to stop the pump when the water drops below the float when the weight of the float pulls the rod down tripping the on/off switch.






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 01-23-2010, 15:00 Post: 168189
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 New septic lift pump won t shut off

I installed overflow pumps on my three cisterns. They too have float switches, although only one per pump. I'm guessing your dual floats are simply for redundancy, as float switches on the cheaper pumps don't always seem to last as long as the pump itself. Anyway, my pump housings have a guide slot on the top edge. I have to run the float wire through the slow, and adjust it to a length that effective shuts off the pump at a level of my selection. Perhaps your floats are not routed through such guides, and are floating out too far away from the pump body (?)

//greg//






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 01-23-2010, 15:04 Post: 168190
kwschumm



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 New septic lift pump won t shut off

Hi Frank,

Both the upper and lower float are hanging by their cords so when the water rises they should float up to the horizontal position and drop to vertical as the level falls. So they are both in the "low water" position now. Moving the floats up and down didn't shut off the pump. I think the upper float controls only the in-house high water alarm (that works) but I'm not sure how the lower float is supposed to work. Are they generally wired in series with the pump? Do they go bad? I expect they have a mercury type switch in them which shouldn't generally go bad, but ???

I also am suspicious whenever two things fail at the same time. The old pump was definitely bad, maybe a failing float switch caused it to burn out.






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 01-23-2010, 19:19 Post: 168194
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 New septic lift pump won t shut off

Ah, so you just bought a replacement pump - and used the existing float switches? I have a single float switch that's just gathering dust in my plumbing parts box - if you're interested. This one too is almost certainly a mercury switch.

//greg//






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 01-23-2010, 19:38 Post: 168195
hardwood

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 New septic lift pump won t shut off

OK, a different design than I've dealt with. Your floats must be on an arm similar to a toilet tank float?






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 01-23-2010, 20:17 Post: 168196
kwschumm



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 New septic lift pump won t shut off

Greg, yes, I just bought a new pump and installed it in place of the old one. The floats were never touched. Tomorrow I'll go out and put a meter across the float inputs and make some measurements to see if it works. It appears that the float switches full voltage, can that be right? I'll just disconnect it and do a continuity test with wires disconnected while moving it up and down.

Frank, there is a pole in the tank that has two hooks that are adjustable for height. They each have a float that pretty much just hangs over the hook. I haven't been close enough to see just how they are attached but that's pretty much it.






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 01-23-2010, 20:46 Post: 168197
JD-855-in-WI



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 New septic lift pump won t shut off

Top float is for the alarm. Bottom float is for the pump control, it should be wired in series with the pump. The question is where is splice was made. Either a bad float switch or shorted at the splice. Meter the switch, check it for operation.






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 01-23-2010, 20:53 Post: 168198
kwschumm



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 New septic lift pump won t shut off

Thanks, JD, that's sort of the conclusion I had come to. The splices were made just as they originally were unless I screwed it up. I cut the old wires and pigtailed the new in the same locations but there was some question as to the color coding. The old pump was hardwired with black (hot), white (neutral) and green ground. The new pump had green, blue and brown. When I cut the plug off I tested the colors at the plug and concluded that blue was hot (the wide spade on the three prong plug).

Is the float switch supposed to switch hot or ground?






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 01-23-2010, 23:06 Post: 168199
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 New septic lift pump won t shut off

Green/blue/brown is the color coding of British 220v wiring. Blue=line, Brown=line, Green=ground. Where was your replacement pump manufactured?

//greg//






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