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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
5 days ago I replaced a customers sanitary pump...the float died (3 years old)

I also added an alarm....tested out the pump/float/alarm 3x....

2 days later the alarm goes off...the main float is DEAD...so I replaced it

2 days later the basement is flooded again...this time the alarm float didn't work And the Sanitary pump float didn't work....the pump still works

4 floats dead in 5 days

house is 3 years old and built by a lower price bulk builder

im thinking something is wrong with the electrical and its burning out the floats, but yet not tripping a breaker

not possible to have 4 defective floats when ive never had 1 before

help!!! I make my 3rd trip over tomorrow to replace floats again...

id love to have some electrical advice
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
im a plumber...I don't know how to measure electricity

ive come up with a theory over night

maybe the outlet itself is bad and working occasionally.....so it stops working and it appears the float has died...then I come and pull out the plug and put it back in and then it works again for a while

im going over this morning with an extension cord....im going to plug it all in at a different outlet and see if it all works....its at the point where ive lost $$ on the job...and I cant keep going back to replace floats....if they need replacing again im going to tell him to hire an electrician and that I wont replace the floats again under warranty......something more is obviously wrong with his house
 

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Anything's possible... You can't even check voltage??
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Anything's possible... You can't even check voltage??
im a plumber....I can barely push in a plug into these new childproof outlets

I do have a tester that I use to make sure electric water heaters are turned off....its made to push into outlets...I assume this is what you mean?

the outlet seems to work when a plug is put in...for a while...but after a few minutes it seems to not work anymore....its happening to both the top and bottom plug.....the other day the bottom one was dead while the top one was live
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So the other floats were still good?? Sounds like a loose wire or defective outlet.
I don't know if the other 2 floats were bad...I tested them with THAT outlet....

ive never run into a bad outlet on a 3 year old house...something I didn't even consider until its now 4 possible bad floats...obviously something more is going on than defective floats

me and the customer are having problems making out schedules work this weekend, so I wont be there until Monday afternoon now to see

hes got the alarm 9v battery in now, so no need for power and he's also got an extension cord hooked up to a different outlet......I think his water softener will go off again today, so we will see if it floods his basement or not by tomorrow morning

ive talked to 2 of my electrician friends about this and it doesn't seem to make sense to either of them...one talked about the possibility of electrical surges
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
so the 3rd float died....and I replaced the whole pump system this time....it worked great (again)

just got a call....its dead AGAIN!!!(3 days later)...basement flooded again

I am now refusing to replace it again....4 floats, 2 sump pumps....4 trips....its beyond a total loss...its now costing me hundreds

I gave him the phone # of my electrician and said to call me when they figure it out...I will most likely replace the float for the 5th time...I may charge him for the part


no idea's anyone why it kills the float and not the pump???
 

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The float is just a set of contacts, the weakest link in the power to the pump.

You are just having a terrible week
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
YES I AM! having a terrible week

it CANT BE the floats or the pump....impossible....the pumps were bought 6 months apart....the floats have been 3 different brand names.....and most from different time periods

when its slow I always get horrible jobs...this stuff is common in Jan/Feb....this one is so bad im ready to give the guy his $$ back and move on...I cant solve his problem
 

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You need an electrician -------or the customer does---

I suggest you buy a simple electrical tester--a Wiggy---and learn how to use it-----
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I meet with the electrician and the pump manufacturer at the job site tomorrow morning

I haven't had something this frustrating in many years.....
 

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Somehow your getting too many amps through the float switch. What's the motor's startup amps rated at? What is the switch amps rated at? If they are in line, either the voltage under load is low, creating a high amp draw, or here could be something else in the effluent causing the pump to bind up. I know for a fact that the power surges are way worse around here than they used to be 10 years ago, ever since Duke bought out Cinti Gas & Elec.

Maybe a lug is loose on the panel? I've had it happen on a 175a 3ph 240, & it did some strange things before it smoked!

What all goes through this pump?

The odd part is that the breaker doesn't trip!:blink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
pumps (all 3 that have been in the crock over the past 2 weeks) always work when you plug them in directly (skipping the float)....somethings killing the floats only......found out today that the alarm float didn't work this past week either.....so it may be 5 floats dead now

sump pump manufacturer said the float I sent them was bad...but the 2nd one was good (I remember it needed to be straight up to work and it didn't want to float straight up...so I think there was an issue and it really isn't good either)

house is done by the cheapest builder in town....

its a sanitary pump made for poop, but right now all its handling is water softener discharge....every time the WS goes off the pump doesn't work

if I cant figure it out tomorrow the customer gets his money back and I move on....im giving up...if the electrician cant figure it out I most likely will end up paying for him too.....this situation is becoming beyond belief...how does it work when I test it, but 2 days later it doesn't work anymore....same pattern, multiple times, multiple pumps, multiple floats

one time I even had them use a extension cord to another bment outlet....same result(not sure if the original outlet had wrecked the float already)
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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one time I even had them use a extension cord to another bment outlet....same result(not sure if the original outlet had wrecked the float already)
That pretty well tells the tale--you're not qualified to be charging clients to fiddle with such stuff. Not trying to be mean, but seriously, if you don't have the skills to test a float...

This is something that's been brought up here before. We all have to have at least a little cross-trade competence. A plumber needs at least an elementary understanding of electrical theory, how big a hole he can drill in framing and so forth. Just as the framer needs to allow for the plumber's needs.

I'd suggest that you take a course in basic electrical theory and practice. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
went there this morning with electrician and pump manufacturer

found out everything Is good...the homeowner knocked the water softener discharge out of the floor drain and it went off all over the floor...it wasn't the sanitary pump this time....

so we have 1 bad float (from original pump) and 2 defective floats in a row (1 is verified by pump manufacturer and the other one is being tested)...

homeowner was bleaching floors and must have pulled hose out of the floor drain or knocked it out with the mop

it really sucks to be me sometimes.....

I gave the homeowner the pump manufacturers business card and if it floods again he is going to handle it from this point on

nothing wrong with the electrical...cost me $150 out of my pocket, but made my electrician friend happy
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So, what brand did you say this unit was??... So I can be sure to never buy it.
I wont say the distributor, but its basically repackaged Little Giant pumps...ive been veeery happy with their products....never had a call back or complaint until now

and to have the rep. meet me at 7am to help me work through it is amazing...ive been a good customer for them for 7 years now...pay my bills within 5 days.....I guess I deserve good service
 
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