Sewage Pumps Buying Guide
Sewage pumps, also called effluent pumps, are designed to pump both liquids and solids up to 2 inches in diameter from a home into a septic tank. Sewage pumps are used in homes where there is no municipal sewage collection system. Many rural homes use septic tanks to collect black water, or water from bathrooms and kitchens that cannot be reused unless it is treated at a proper water treatment facility. Black water may contain bacteria from cooking, urine, fecal matter, and other substances which could cause waterborne illness in animals and humans.
Other types of water pumps should never be used to pump solid materials. Sump pumps, utility pumps, and jet pumps are not designed for this purpose and will break down or clog if any solids pass through. In contrast, sewage pumps are specially designed for this purpose and may provide years of reliable operation when installed properly.
How to Choose a Sewage Pump
Sewage pumps come in a variety of materials, sizes, and horsepowers. Choose the one that best fits your needs by considering the following:
- Horsepower (HP)
- Gallons per hour (GPH)
- Construction material
- Safety features
What Horsepower (HP) Do You Need?
When selecting a sewage pump, consider how many people live in your house and how frequently the pump may need to cycle. If you have fewer than three people in your household, you may be inclined to choose a pump with 1/2 horsepower or less. Remember, the greater the horsepower (HP), the more material per minute the pump can move. As a result, sewage pumps with more horsepower need to run less often than a pump with less horsepower. The life span of the pump is directly related to how many hours it has run. While they may cost less, choosing a sewage pump with less horsepower could shorten the life of the pump if you know the pump will be subjected to heavy use. Consider a sewage pump with a greater horsepower to prolong the life of your sewage pump.
What GPH Do You Need?
Gallons per hour, or GPH, is a measurement of how many gallons of material a pump can move in one hour. GPH is a direct result of the pump's horsepower and will vary depending on the elevation between the sewage basin or septic tank and the main sewage line. Pay attention to the GPH specifications for each pump. Most pumps will indicate the GPH at standard elevations of five foot increments. For example, "GPH at 10 ft. of head = 3200" means that the sewage pump can move up to 3200 gallons of water per hour if the elevation between the sewage basin and the septic tank is 10 feet. The greater the elevation, the less the GPH. As with horsepower, buying a sewage pump with less GPH may be more economical at first. But if the pump is forced to run all the time because the basin is filling up faster than the pump can move it out, the life of the sewage pump may be shortened. To keep your sewage pump in top shape and ensure a long life, consider a more powerful pump that will not need to run as often.
What is the Sewage Pump Made Of?
Choose a sewage pump that is constructed with high quality materials such as cast iron or high-quality thermoplastic. Iron sewage pumps last longer due to increased durability. Thermoplastic water pumps are more economical and still offer the quality you need. Iron vs. thermoplastic is a decision you will need to weigh based on how much you can spend on your sewage pump and how long you want your sewage pump to last.
Sewage Pump Features
Sewage pumps should come with Thermal Overload Protection. This feature prevents the pump from overheating by automatically shutting off when the internal temperature of the pump's motor reaches a critical level. This feature is key to preventing total pump failure caused by a variety of common and easy-to-fix sewage pump problems. Routine maintenance on your sewage pump will help you identify these common problems and prevent larger issues.