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 Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me

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NoCoPilot

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PostSubject: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:21 am

I have a sump pump next to the house, my driveway slopes toward the house and my basement will flood in a heavy rain without the pump. This most recent pump has been far & away the most reliable, it's already outlasted the last 3 or 4 pumps.

Therefore I was somewhat surprised this morning when it wasn't working. Our snow yesterday turned to rain overnight and I was getting a substantial puddle already, which would only get worse as the snow melts. I tested the pump and it came on when I lifted the float switch, but failed to move any water.

Shit, I thought, the impeller has finally broken free of the pump shaft -- which is what usually killed my old pumps. I disconnected the power and pulled up the pump and turned it over. The impeller appeared to be in place. What the hell?

So I plugged it in again and activated the float switch. The impeller did not appear to move.

Crap, I thought, the impeller is jammed on a small rock (the OTHER major cause of pump failure). I unplugged the pump again and felt inside the pump inlet to manually rotate the impeller.

Instead of the fluted impeller, however, I felt something flat and glassy. What the hell?

Shining my flashlight down into the inlet, it suddenly became clear: the impeller was encased in a block of ice! It turned, but could not move any water because the flutes were frozen smooth in a block of ice.

So I poured a couple saucepans of boiling water into it and unfroze it and reinserted the pump and verified it worked.

Strangest thing ever -- never done that before. Because of the way the pump sits down in the sump, the water around the pump was liquid (after a week of sub-freezing temperatures) but the impeller up inside the pump never melted.

Weird. It must be Monday.
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_Howard
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:18 pm

NoCo's pump is frozen. Could use that as a metaphor some day.

You're lucky it's just the basement. Living out of town, we have a septic tank. Because of the topography, the tank is about 150 feet from the house and at a slightly higher elevation. So we have to have a pump that moves all of the household waste. You don't even want to hear about the problems that can cause. One thing for sure: you don't ever want to stick you hand inside the pump!
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:22 pm

My dad's house (which I guess is mine now) is right on the water on Haro Strait. His septic is pumped uphill about 100 feet to the septic field.

I want to sell the house before it fails again -- pump was replaced in 2009 (after 30 years).
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:40 pm

30 years? Amazing. I keep hearing that five years is the life expectancy of these pumps. I just had to replace mine a couple of months ago, but that was because something got flushed that shouldn't have, and it killed the pump (which was six years old).
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:44 pm

Yep.  The house still has the original water heater (30 yo) and an upright freezer he moved from the house I grew up in, purchased in 1967.  Never been serviced, never failed, my dad did a power draw measurement on it and determined that it's more efficient than the new ones. Costs like $3.67 a year to run it.


Last edited by NoCoPilot on Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:47 pm

_Howard wrote:
30 years? Amazing. I keep hearing that five years is the life expectancy of these pumps. I just had to replace mine a couple of months ago, but that was because something got flushed that shouldn't have, and it killed the pump (which was six years old).
Hmmm. My understanding is that the effluent is supposed to go into a holding tank. Solids sink to the bottom, gasses & stuff rise to the top, and only the liquid in the middle gets pumped.

Maybe yours is set up differently.
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:51 pm

I think you're talking about a pump in the septic tank, which pumps the liquid to the leach field. This is called a mound system. Then your description is correct. In my case, however, all of the waste in the house gets pumped to the septic tank. From there, the liquids flow into the leach field.
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:58 pm

Oh okay, that makes sense.

A sure sign I'm misunderstanding.
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:04 pm

Then again, you may just have an aeration pump on the septic tank which pumps air down into the goo to keep things percolating. This is unlike the closed tank system, to which you have to add bacteria (which doesn't like oxygen).

In any case, it's all just a big crock of...well, you know.
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:08 pm

Yeah -- another disadvantage of shoreline property.
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:10 pm

But at least you were pleasantly surprised to get a response to this crappy  Sad  thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:16 pm

Bah. You call that a response?
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PostSubject: Re: Incredibly Long Stories of No Interest to Anybody But Me   Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:22 pm

NoCoPilot wrote:
Yeah -- another disadvantage of shoreline property.

Terrific.  And here I was ready to buy the place.
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