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Danny Yoerges

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Hi all-
I moved into a house about 18 months ago, and the sump pump went out my first winter. The pipe exits the house above ground, and water froze at the point of exit, causing a stoppage, which I'm guessing burnt out the motor.

I replaced it with a WAYNE 3/4 HP Submersible Sump Pump (CDU980E), and it has gotten increasingly louder. It doesn't run all that often, but when it does, it only runs for 3-5 seconds. It makes a loud sound when it starts up, and a loud clunking sound when it shuts off.

I suspect the problem is one of the following:

1) The pump is mechanically malfunctioning.
2) The pump is too powerful (though I don't imagine Wayne manufactures pumps that get unreasonably loud as they get more powerful.)
3) The orientation of the PVC pipe layout between the pump and the exiting wall is not ideal. Pictures attached.
4) The pump is resting on a piece of cinderblock (propped up on bricks) in the bottom of the basin. Without this, the pump would not reach the PVC pipes extending downward into the basin. It is securely nested between bricks around it so that it cannot move.

I am willing to pay a plumber, though I'm handy and could likely take care of something pretty basic myself. I installed the pump myself, but didn't alter the existing PVC pipe, which very well may be the culprit. Honestly If it's the pipe, I think I should get a professional, as it seems like one of those jobs that would look easy on paper, but is difficult in practice.

Any ideas are welcome!
Thanks,
Danny
 

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Jeff Handy

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The pump is likely too powerful, and also it is likely wearing out.

No need to raise the pump on a giant pile of bricks.
A few bricks are good to keep it up off the loose crud at the bottom.

Add some more pvc pipe, with a glue coupling or a Fernco coupling, to make the discharge line longer.

It looks like the check valve is way down in the pit.
Move it up to about halfway up to the beam.
Easier to service it, and less weight of water slamming down when the pump stops.

The pump is probably getting noisier as it gets ready to fail internally.

Also could be getting plugged outside from mud, or a pinched or collapsed discharge line.

Personally, I have had mostly bad luck with Wayne pumps.
Switch failure, motor failure, oil seal failure.

Wayne also makes pumps that are re-branded by others, such as Rigid sold by Home Depot.
I think some Ace Hardware pumps are also Wayne.
 

SHEPLMBR

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The shutting off clunk may be your check valve slamming shut. How old is the pump?
 

Danny Yoerges

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Thanks all. @SHEPLMBR the pump is a little over a year old. The clunking is, indeed, likely the valve slamming shut.

@Jeff Handy what are signs the pump is, in fact wearing out? The reason I got a powerful pump is I wanted the water to really be pushed out of the line so that it wouldn't get stuck at the opening and freeze in the winter. I'm guessing you're saying its too powerful because it should run longer than a few seconds, but by running for a short period of time, is that somehow damaging the pump itself?

As for the valve/PVC: you're saying I should buy some PVC and add it to what I have using some couplings, and move the valve up the line? In other words, I should...

1) cut the PVC line about midway to the beam
2) move the valve up to that spot (should I also get a new valve?)
3) add a new length of PVC long enough to allow the pump to rest comfortably on a couple bricks at the bottom of the tank

Thank you!
Danny
 

Jeff Handy

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Yes, move the check valve up to halfway.
That will reduce the clunk, and better for the pump overall.

You might have to drill a small air bleeder hole in the side of the pvc pipe, about 1/8 inch or a little smaller, angled down slightly, towards the water.
Just above the pump.
That lets the water under the check valve drain out.
Some pumps have this bleed hole built in.

Pvc pipe and fittings are cheap.
Buy a new threaded adapter, schedule 40 type if available, it is stronger than dwv type of threaded adapter.
Use a pvc coupling if you want to reuse some old pipe, to make it longer.

Threaded adapter at the pump, to pvc pipe halfway up, to new check valve, up to beam.

I like Zoeller check valves, but there are other good ones.
Good ones have a better hinge on the flapper, and the flapper is backed up by metal, so less likely to sag and fail.

The way to avoid the discharge line freezing is to maintain slight downhill slope, starting a foot or so inside the house.

So when the pump stops, no water is laying inside subject to freezing temps.

If your line runs underground, it has to stay sloping down until it eventually comes out to daylight.
Or you can put an elbow at the end, coming up to a surface drain.
But that is prone to freezing right there.
You can put a heat tape around that part, up to the surface, with its own thermostat.
Some people just drop a little bird bath heater in the drain box.

Post some pics of what the drain is doing outside. At the house and at the outlet.

A bigger pump will not push water uphill after it stops, problem will still exist.
If it is too powerful, it might be sucking air at the end of each cycle, which ruins the bearings.

Gradually increasing noise is a sign of impending failure.
 
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Austin O

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Just for reference, 3/4 HP sump pump is POWERFUL! That kind of pump can move a lot of GPH regardless of head height. They are best suited for pits that take on a lot of water during heavy storms. You did a great job securing the discharge line by the way and agree moving the check valve should be the first fix. I don't think it would hurt adjusting the switch height to its maximum range to give it a little bit more run time during a cycle.
 

RS

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It sounds like the pump is too big for the application, and you need a vacuum breaker at the high point in the system. Then remove the check valve. that would allow the water outside to drain away, and the water inside to drain back to the sump, then there is nothing to freeze.
 

Danny Yoerges

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Thanks, @Russ Smart

Sorry, I stepped away from this project and am now returning to it. Does anyone else second Russ' idea for the vacuum breaker? I'm doing some research on that, and it sounds like there are a number of alternatives, such as drilling a hole at the top of the high point in the line (which, for me, happens to be inside the house, as you can see from the photo as the line nears the wall/point of exiting to the outside).

I see some schematics putting the check valve all the way near the ceiling. Is that too high? My fear with that would be that the water below the valve would slam down onto the pump.
 

RS

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I don't think you need to worry about the water running back down through the pump, it's done all the time. What I did for our son years ago was run the discharge out through the wall 2 feet above ground level, in the box sill, then installed a T vertically. The bottom went to a drain tile under the lawn, in the top of the T I ran a pipe up about 30 inches and put 2 ell's on it, to point it down. When the pump shut off, the water inside the house ran back in the pit, (no check valve), and the water outside continued to run into the drain tile. I think it worked well, I never heard him complain. If the drain tile happened to freeze the water would come out of the vent and spray on the lawn, at least it's outside! This is near Duluth MN where it gets cold!
 

Jeff Handy

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You cannot drill a hole anywhere in the drain line, except where the line is still inside the sump pit.

Otherwise, pressurized water will shoot out of that hole.

Think about it.
 

Diehard

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Assuming the sump is say 18" in diameter the pump would be pumping 5" of water height x 18" or about 7 gallons of water, minus the volume displaced by the pump.

Looking at the pump curve for this specific pump you will see that up around 20 feet of head, the pump would be pumping at least 60 GPM. Assuming that vertical discharge line is about 10 feet and about another say 15 feet of 2" horizontal run, the total friction loss at or close to 60 GPM would only amount to a few more feet of head to overcome. So we can say we could expect close to a 60 GPM flow rate from this pump, in this application.
That would mean, at less than 7 gallon to pump per cycle, the pump is probably starting at least 10 times a minute. That's much, much to frequent for even a fraction HP motor.

So if you tried to make good on your 5 year Warranty they would probably blame the application, if they were made aware of it. ?????????

When picking a pump, one should have an idea of the starts per hour, as too many is what can cause a motor to overheat and fail. Less critical with fractional HP motors but I'm sure they have their limit as well.

Wayne Sump Pump.jpg
 

frodo

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right here right now, over there later on.
i suggest you fill a 5 gallon bucket with water
pour into the pit and visually inspect the pump while it is running and stopping
to determine exactly where the clunk is coming from

Is the pump moving on the bricks?
is the check valve slamming shut?
is the discharge pipe slapping the wall?
Your pump is advertised to be silent running
I think it is the check valve

If it is a swing check in the vertical position, replace it with a spring check
 

Diehard

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Your main problem, as a few have mentioned is that your pump is oversized.
Water hammer is based on velocity and your running about 60 gpm through a 1-1/2" pipe results in a velocity of 9 to 10 feet /sec., which is quite high.
I don't suppose you had that problem with your previous pump.
 

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