Sump Pump? Ejector? Sump-jector??
Do you know the difference between a sump pump/basin and an EJECTOR pump/basin? If not, don’t feel bad – you’re not alone. One of the bigger sources of confusion for our customers is the difference between the two, so I thought I’d better explain it!
As you should know (from surfing our website, of course), a sump basin is a pit in the basement or crawl space floor that connects to drain tiles which run around the base of the foundation walls. The drain tiles collect groundwater and channel it to the sump basin before it rises high enough to seep into the house. The sump pump runs automatically as needed to pump the groundwater out. To learn more watch our video Sump Pump 101.
A sump basin should never have sewage or bad smells coming out of it – any bad smells coming from a sump indicate a problem that should be checked out by a licensed plumber. Normally, sump basins are not sealed gas-tight, and use only a loose-fitting cover (except for RADON systems – look for a future blog topic).
An ejector basin is a pit in the floor that is connected to SEWER PIPES, and it’s used to collect the waste from plumbing fixtures on a building’s lower levels, where the sewage cannot flow out by gravity (because they’re below the level of the city sewer). The ejector pump is designed to grind up any solids, and pump the waste up & out to the city sewer.
Common sense (and your sense of smell) will tell you that an ejector basin MUST BE SEALED GAS-TIGHT! Not only does sewage usually smell horrible, it emits methane gas, which can cause an explosion. Ejector pumps are NOT sump pumps – a regular sump pump or battery backup is NOT designed to handle sewage which may have solids in it. Sump pumps can ONLY handle clear water. Which leads me to the infamous “Sump-jector”…
Some old homes have both sewage AND drain tiles connected to the same basin. This creates a tough situation, because you have no choice but to use ejector pumps. I have yet to find a really good system to backup EJECTOR pumps, one with all of the nice alarming features that our battery backup SUMP pump systems have. If you have the dreaded “Sump-jector”, feel free to call me at The Sump Pump Company, and I can explain your relatively limited options…
~ The Sump Pump Company