For a homeowner, one of the worst home emergencies involves clogged sewage pipes that are backing up and overflowing. This nightmare situation creates health concerns, involves timely and costly clean up, and is just a major nuisance.
Clogged sewer lines are a concern for any homeowner although it’s an even greater concern for people who live in properties built above and below pressure municipal sewer lines, such as many homes and communities built around Lake Travis. In these situations, grinder pumps are a necessary part of a building’s plumbing system, although what exactly are they, how are they integrated into a property’s plumbing system and what is their value to a homeowner?
What is a Grinder Pump?
A grinder pump is a waste management device that connects to a building’s plumbing system. Wastewater from a property’s appliances, toilets, and bathtubs/showers drain into the grinder pump’s holding tank. Once the water reaches a certain level, the grinder pump is activated and pumps waste into the pressurized municipal sewer line system. Grinder pumps are a necessary part of any building connected to a pressure municipal sewer line as the pump moves wastewater from a building, to the sewer line, and eventually to a water treatment facility.
How is a Grinder Pump Integrated into a Plumbing System?
A grinder pump system involves 3 main elements:
- the grinder pump unit
- a holding tank that holds the pump
- a pump panel
Once the wastewater inside the holding tank reaches a stipulated level, the pump automatically turns on and begins its task of evacuating the sewage.
The pump has level sensors inside the holding tank that are called float switches. These sensors will get triggered and set off an alarm if the wastewater level in the holding tank rises above the stipulated level, so you are alerted to this issue. These sensors also control the “on” and “off” operation of the pump.
Grinder Pump Installation
The installation of any grinder pump is a job for a licensed plumbing professional. Grinder pump installations often require excavation to ensure equipment and pipes are located below frost lines and are correctly connected to a property’s existing plumbing system. To ensure pipes hold up against changing seasons and temperatures, the grinder pump holding tank is made of fiberglass-reinforced polyester or high-density polyethylene. The grinder pump should have an easily accessible lid that extends four inches above the surface and a control box that is on the outside of the unit.
Grinder Pump Maintenance
A grinder pump requires preventive maintenance to maintain performance and extend its life. Common grinder pump problems that require service and maintenance are:
- Grease build-up on the float switches causing the tank to either overfill or not turn on at all.
- Clogging or jamming caused by material not getting effectively evacuated
- hygiene products, disposable wipes, or any cotton products flushed down a drain can (and will) cause clogging and jamming within the grinder pump – limiting its effectiveness.
- Electrical pump panel consists of various electronic components which might go bad and routinely need to be replaced.
Foul odors coming from the location of your pump outside can be an early warning sign that something is wrong with the grinder pump. An alarm going off is a clear indication that the pump needs to be either serviced or repaired by a professional plumber immediately.
What Does a Grinder Pump Service Involve?
It is recommended that grinder pumps be serviced on a yearly basis.
A professional grinder pump service from a licensed and friendly plumbing technician at Lantz’s Lakeside Plumbing & AC will involve:
- Removing grease or unwanted debris in the tank
- Checking float switch operations
- Checking electrical panel components.
- Checking for possible leaks / wear-and-tear damage to pump, holding tank, or sensor/alarm
- Checking the pump motor health
- motor amperage
- unwanted grounds on the motor
- motor windings
Here are helpful tips to maintain your grinder pump and ensure it provides value to your plumbing system for years to come:
- Do not flush hygiene products or disposable wipes
- Do not flush oils, paints, or combustible materials
- Limit water usage after an alarm goes off to prevent sewage from backing up
Regular care and maintenance will help ensure the grinder pump at your property will function optimally now and in the future.
If you have a residential or commercial property in Lago Vista, Cedar Park, Leander, or Jonestown and need a professional grinder pump installation, service, or repair, call the licensed plumbing experts at Lantz’s Lakeside Plumbing & AC. We are open 7 days a week and offer next day appointments at affordable rates. To schedule a service call, call us at 512-267-1188 or fill out a brief form.