Pumps: Frequently Asked Questions

Zoeller high temperature submersible pump

Q: “I would like to add a toilet in my basement. I need to be able to pump the sewage UP. However all my drain lines are above. What can I do?”

A: You’ll have to check with your trusted local plumber for what your options are in your particular home, but in many cases, the Zoeller Qwik Jon can be installed with no digging at all. However, your toilet will sit up on the unit (about 5 1/2” above the floor). If you want to drain any other fixtures into it (lavs, laundry sinks, etc.) you will need to run a drain line from the fixture along the baseboard to the Zoeller basin.

Q: “What is the difference between a sewage ejector pump and a grinder pump?”

A: A sewage ejector pump has impellers that enable the pump to pass a predetermined size of solid matter without clogging the discharge. A grinder pump has cutter blades that macerate and shear waste solids and items not normally found in sewage, but may get flushed down the toilet. These smaller particles can then be passed through the pump impellers out the discharge.

Q: “How does a compact grinder pump work?”

A:  The compact grinder pump uses scissor-cutting action to grind and cut the waste into a fine slurry which then allows it to pass through the unit’s discharge line.

Zoeller sump pump package - 900 series

Q: “What’s the difference between an automatic and non-automatic pump?”

A: An automatic pump has a built in float switch that will turn on the pump automatically at a fixed water level. After the water is pumped out to certain water level (also a preset level), the pump will turn itself off. A non-automatic pump has to be manually turned on and off, or with a separate control like a piggyback float switch.

Q: “My automatic pump stops and starts constantly, how can I make the pump run longer?”

A: A pump short cycling is a function of the basin diameter and the “on/off” pumping range. Since the basin is in the ground it is unlikely that it can be enlarged. If you have an automatic unit which has a self contained float switch the “on/off” pumping range cannot be adjusted. But with a non automatic unit controlled with a pump switch you can have flexibility in the pumping range adjustment. Short-cycling can decrease the service life of a switch assembly. If this occurs, an automatic unit can be converted to operate with an external pump switch which will expand its pumping range and decrease the amount of short cycling. Installing a check valve in the discharge line will also help decrease short cycling in most cases.

Q: “How does a VLFS (variable level float switch) work?”

A: The pumps that come with a variable level float switch are non-automatic pumps. You just attach the float switch and the pump will behave like an automatic pump. However, the VLFS allows you to specify the water level (between 6” and 36”) that will turn on/off your pump. This is different than the normal automatic pumps that have a preset water level that turns them on and off. Since the VLFS is detachable, the pump can also be used as a non-automatic pump if you wish.

Zoeller drain pump system

 Q. “Anything else I should know before purchasing a water powered back-up sump pump system?”

A: Because potable water is directly connected to these sorts of pumps (which could have non potable water in it), many codes and municipalities require an additional, special back flow prevention device be installed. The check valve that comes with the HOME GUARD®, for example, is a type of back flow prevention device, but many municipalities and codes do not recognize that style as “approved” (at least at the time of this writing). We recommend you check with your local building department and, if required, also purchase the appropriate double check valve assembly to go with your pump. We always recommend a double check valve, but if you won’t be using one then we hope that you will at least install a quality 3/4” swing or spring check valve.

PlumbingSupply.com offers the largest selection of plumbing related pumps for just about anything!


2 thoughts on “Pumps: Frequently Asked Questions

    1. PlumbingSupply.com

      Hi Issac,

      There are some significant differences between the M98 and the M267 – primarily that the M267 is a sewage pump that will pass 2″ spherical solids, while the M98 is a drain pump that is only capable of handling 1/2″ solids. As its name implies, the M267 is designed to move sewage waste. The M98 is intended for use as a regular “clear” water sump pump, either with a sump pit or with sink drains, like to help pump water from a laundry tray. If you are interested in further specifications and features of these two pumps, please visit our site – M267 information, M98 information. If you need more assistance, please feel free to email our great customer service team at sales@plumbingsupply.com

      Thanks for reading!


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