At Dusty’s Drain Cleaning, Inc., we provide a wide variety of plumbing services for both our residential and commercial customers, including emergency as well as non-emergency services. The majority of our lift station/sump calls are for emergency service work. If you’d like to avoid having to make such an emergency call, it is important to identify if you have (or need) a lift station or sump pump in your home. It is equally vital to maintain the equipment and use it correctly. Proper care and observation of this equipment may help prevent a catastrophic backup in your home.
What Does a Sewage Lift/Pump Station Do
A sewage lift/pump station is used for pumping wastewater or sewage from a lower to a higher elevation. It is particularly useful when the elevation of the source is not sufficient for gravity flow and/or when the use of gravity conveyance will result in excessive excavation and higher construction costs.
There are two main pieces to a lift station: the wet-well and the controls. The wet-well is where the inflow is discharged and where the pump sits. It sits in a basket that might be made of steel, but is more commonly made of fiberglass or concrete. The pump has a check valve and a shut off valve that direct water into the outflow. The check valve stops the pumped water from coming back into the wet-well when the pump shuts off, and the shut-off valve allows for the isolation of the pump.
Most stations will also have a level-sensing device called the float switch, which, in normal operation, allows the pump to switch back and forth after each pumping cycle.
Why Maintain Your Sewage Pump?
A pump’s electronic controls and electrical portions are under constant stress and exposed to a corrosive environment. Performing routine and preventative maintenance can help stretch the life of the pump and save you from costly repair bills.
Here are few suggestions on how to maintain your pump:
1. Pump out and clean the wet-well at least twice a year or more often, if necessary, to prevent solids and grease buildup. Buildup can damage the pump or get caught in the impeller.
2. Have the impeller inspected two to four times a year. These inspections help ensure the impeller is free of debris or any other clogging materials.
3. Examine and grease the check valves at least twice a year to make sure they are in proper working order.
4. Inspect the light and alarm systems weekly. A working alarm system can immediately alert you to problems.
5. Regularly look over all electrical components to ensure there are no poor connections or worn parts.
At some point, you may need to completely replace the pump instead of just having it serviced. On average, that is about every 15 years, depending on household size, the amount and type of waste water and solids, etc. But, by following the tips above, you will get the longest life out of your equipment and save yourself from unnecessary emergency calls and expenses.