It is no stretch for me to venture to say that on a fairly routine basis I pick up the phone and the customer on the other end is shopping for a grinder pump. I often discover their not looking for a grinder pump at all. In some cases, the customer is looking for a pump that can reliably handle solid sewage without plugging, or jamming. That’s not to say many customers who need a grinder pump don’t, but there are a few important things to remember if a grinder pump is your only option.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the following.
“My last pump became clogged and now I want a pump that will shred, slice, chop, and grind the solids so I don’t have to deal with this again.”
Though this logic appears sound, many folks make the mistake that a grinder is the solution to all their sewage pumping problems. This could not be further from the truth and can easily (and often does) lead to thousands of wasted dollars and an even more problems than before.
A grinder pump is designed for use in sewage systems where both high head and the requirement to pump solid waste exists. Often, grinders are limited to applications where no septic tank is present and the sewage must be pushed a considerable distance and/or elevation. However, other more specialized applications exist, some having to do with the waste treatment side of things, others having to do with the velocity at which the waste must travel through the pipe. I must insist, in nearly every case, if you did not have a grinder pump previously, you do not need one now.
Grinder pumps are highly susceptible to becoming clogged if stringy material is present. This includes feminine hygiene products, baby and bath wipes, male prophylactics , and even heavy duty paper towels. Grinders are able to grind the solid waste through a single or series of cutting blades located just before the pump impeller. This cutting action requires a substantial amount of additional torque. Of course, as with any blade, the cutters can becomes dull with time, as this happens the pump becomes less effective at grinding and requires more torque to cut the material effectively. When it comes to torque, a grinder pump starts with high torque to quickly chop solids already within its blades. If a grinder pump becomes clogged or the blades bound even once, this can completely destroy the pumps starting torque, rendering the pump nearly useless. I have personally seen a grinder pump become bound on a small piece of toilet paper, this was due to the lack of torque at start. This lack of torque is an indication that the pump had previously become bound and the motor or the start capacitor became damaged. Though a household can easily control what they flush, it can be more difficult to control what visitors may flush.
Another final note before the list of five reasons you don’t need a grinder pump. You will almost never find a grinder pump offered with a warranty greater than 12 months from date of manufacture or installation. This is due in large part to the high failure rate of these types of pumps.
- They are very prone to becoming clogged or bound
- If a grinder pump becomes bound even once it can ruin the motor or starting components.
- Grinder pumps are very expensive to purchase and often require a special control panel which raises the cost even further.
- Energy costs are very high with grinder pumps because the torque required to perform the cutting drives up the motor horsepower required which makes grinders very inefficient.
- Even in ideal conditions, grinder pumps typically only last a few years before replacement or repair is needed.
If you currently own a grinder pump or are considering a grinder pump for your new construction project, contact us and we can help you evaluate whether or not a grinder pump is right for your application. Maybe we can save you money while providing a more reliable sewage pumping system.