Due to the increasing demand for finished basements, many homeowners are installing a secondary bathroom in their basements which is increasing the need to install a grinder pump. Grinder pumps become necessary when the location of discharge is lower than the nearest municipal sewer line. In a situation such as this, without a grinder pump, the wastewater will back up and contaminate the home.
Grinder pumps do exactly what the name suggests – it grinds the wastewater, much like a garbage disposal does, and it sits in a small holding tank until it reaches a certain level. When the wastewater reaches a certain level, it signals the pump to begin pumping the wastewater to the nearest municipal sewer line. The pump is necessary to create the pressure necessary to pump the wastewater uphill to the nearest sewer line.
Grinder pumps are used to discharge all the wastewater from toilets, bathtubs, washers, dishwashers, etc., and are highly sensitive to blockage. Therefore, education is needed to understand what may not be flushed down the toilet or drains that are linked directly to the grinder pump.
It’s very important when considering a grinder pump installation that you have a highly skilled and experienced plumbing contractor such as Tri County Services. If grinder pumps are not installed properly, you increase your risk of frequent problems with the unit.
Grinder pumps are also often installed in commercial spaces, such as restaurant bathrooms, where a large amount of wastewater must be ground down before entering the main sewer line.
Symptoms of a grinder pump issue:
- GFCI trips frequently
- Alarm goes off frequently
- Sewage gas smell emanating from pump area
- Frequent backup of toilet
- Pump does not activate
- Pump burns out often
- Pump cycles too often
- Pump is making unusual sounds
- Float switch issues
- Grinder pump does not meet its life expectancy average of 10 years
- Grinder pump is nearing or over its life expectancy
Causes of grinder pump issues:
- Improper items flushed down the toilet or drains: cleaning wipes, baby wipes, “flushable” wipes, disposable diapers, sanitary products, paper towels, cat litter, grease, toys, food, chemicals, etc.
- Improper voltage or wiring
- Broken seal caused by ill-fitting lid
- Pump is on a shared circuit, not a dedicated circuit
- Lack of regular maintenance
- Improper care during long periods of absence or inactivity (vacations, etc.)