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Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 02, 2021 08:56AM
I have a main Sump Pump (Zoeller, 0.3 HP from 1998) and a back up 12V sump pump. Both had a check valve and were connected by a Tee.

The main pump was pushing water up the pipe, and the water was flowing back into the 12V pump. The check valve was bad. I even got a plumber to come and give me an estimate and he complained how difficult it was do cut the PVC pipes so basically I told him to leave.

I bought 2 of these valves from Home Depot and I was about to start the replacement.

[www.homedepot.com];



but then I went to Lowes to buy some additional fittings and saw a "quiet" valve

[www.lowes.com]



I installed the quiet ($30) valve on the main pump since I thought this will run 99.9% of the time and the cheaper, non-quite valve on the 12V pump since this will rarely run and when power is out, the valve noise is the least of my concern.

I put everything together with PVC glue, hose clamps on these valves, and checked by dumping a few buckets of water and everything was fine. No leaks.

Yesterday is started raining and last night I checked the sump pump an all was fine.

This morning I hear leaking water. I go in the basement and I see water leaking from the 12V pump, just like before. What is happening here? How come in failed in just a few days, of which only one day was rainy?

is it a bad valve? a bad design? do I have debris in the water that hets stuck in the valve? I am tempted to replace it with the $30 model too, since at least I can see what's inside.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2021 08:56AM by space-time.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: neophyte
Date: January 02, 2021 09:45AM
You of course won't know for sure how it failed until you take it apart and inspect it. The flapper may be stuck in the open position (too forceful pump, initial water blast forcing the valve into a narrow pipe?), or as you surmise, debris preventing the flapper from closing. Or the vertical pipe above the valve is more horizontal than vertical, so the backflowing water "seeps" around the valve and not allowing its weight to close the valve. Also, if the pump runs until there is no more water, air in the line may "belch" the valve open after the pump shuts down.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: January 02, 2021 10:38AM
I wonder if there isn't some sort of suction or backflow issue. Being able to see inside the valve is a definite plus.



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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: January 02, 2021 11:39AM
First you should see if there is an obstruction the discharge pipe. I think you are seeing the main sump pump pumping water sending water (at least some) back through the 12v unit because the discharge line is partially blocked. In fact, you just might disconnect the 12v unit and test the main unit.



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2021 11:43AM by modelamac.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: btfc
Date: January 02, 2021 12:00PM
Bad 12v pump? Too much back pressure? Too much debris?
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: Ammo
Date: January 02, 2021 12:39PM
I don’t know if this applies to your situation, but my sump discharge runs thru a PVC pipe to outside of the foundation where it then runs thru a hose to the front yard to get the water far enough away from the house. The hose has a flexible accordian-like structure. Last winter water froze in the hose and the pump couldn’t push the water thru.



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Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. —Wendy Mass
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 02, 2021 12:44PM
the pipe is not clogged, it is a 1.5" pipe, and when the main pump runs, the flow outside is very strong. As I said, I tested it and it worked fine. The issue is that this new check valve started leaking again. Just like the old one.

I think these $10 check valves are junk and I plan to get a second $30 Zoeller quiet check valve, just so I can see what it is inside.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 02, 2021 12:46PM
The good news is that instead of $4-500 that they plumber was estimating, I spent less that $100 in parts so far. And I learned a new skill: working with PVC pipes.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 02, 2021 12:47PM
Quote
Ammo
I don’t know if this applies to your situation, but my sump discharge runs thru a PVC pipe to outside of the foundation where it then runs thru a hose to the front yard to get the water far enough away from the house. The hose has a flexible accordian-like structure. Last winter water froze in the hose and the pump couldn’t push the water thru.

nope, the pike is clear.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: January 02, 2021 02:44PM
Just curious (& assuming both pumps are in the same sump); if there is
AC power to the '98 Zoeller, is the 12vDC pump disabled by a controller?
Also, all the diagrams I've seen & my own sump pump have the discharge
pipe going above then sloping down to the outlet point to prevent backflow.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2021 02:45PM by MrNoBody.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 02, 2021 04:08PM
the 12V is not even plugged in yet. adjusting the level of the float switch for the 12V to kick in only when 120V pump fails (no power, or just failure) was my next step. I think the previous owner had it way too high IMHO.

And the 1.5" discharge pipe goes up, then horizontal to come out of the basement, then down about 12" along the side of the house and then about 8 feet away from the house.

As I said, the failure is clearly the cheap overbuilt valve in the 12V pump branch.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: bruceko
Date: January 02, 2021 05:28PM
could it be that tightening the clamps on the fernco fittings is deforming the back flow valve?
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: January 02, 2021 05:30PM
....did you check your *************** pump.....???



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 02, 2021 06:02PM
Quote
bruceko
could it be that tightening the clamps on the fernco fittings is deforming the back flow valve?

interesting theory. I can try to loosen or tighten some of those hose clamps.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: January 03, 2021 08:48AM
Quote
space-time
The good news is that instead of $4-500 that they plumber was estimating, I spent less that $100 in parts so far. And I learned a new skill: working with PVC pipes.

Win-win !

I honestly don’t understand a plumber who “won’t work with PVC pipe”. Dude is stuck in the 1960’s. “Cast iron and lead and oakum seals only !”

PVC is crazy easy. You just need a saw to cut it, a knife to debur the cut, a piece of sandpaper to scuff the joint lightly, and cement.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: January 03, 2021 10:45AM
....so he should stick that in his pipe [ non PVC pipe ].....and smoke it........???



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I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 03, 2021 01:05PM
I honestly don’t understand a plumber who “won’t work with PVC pipe”.

No, he didn't say that. He complained that it's a lot of work to cut the pipes and replace that valve. I guess he didn't want to be on his knees working on that sump pump.

What I did instead was to cut the main pipe, take the entire assembly out and put it on a work bench, replaced the valves and some fittings, tighten everything properly and put it back into the well. Then reconnect with a PVC Compression Coupling so next time I need to take it out, no cutting/glueing needed.
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Re: Sump Pump check valve failed in 2 days. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: January 03, 2021 09:52PM
Those $10 Home Depot-type check valves should work fine. They don't last forever, however, 2-3 years before they start to get "flappy" and/or leak.



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