A septic system is something that is easily forgotten until something goes horribly wrong. What should you avoid running down your kitchen sink? Is one type of toilet paper safer to use than another? How often does your septic tank really need to be cleaned? These were just some of the questions that I had about my septic tank after it had backed up and filled my yard with raw sewage. Since then, I have spent hours researching septic systems so that I would not have to go through that again. I have developed my website to make learning about septic systems a little easier for others like me.
Submersible pumps are low maintenance items in most cases, but they require occasional maintenance to keep them operating at maximum efficiency and to extend their operating lifespans. If you have a submersible pump operating in a fountain or other water feature, then you should take the time to perform a few simple maintenance steps. Below is a list of tools and materials you will need as well as a step-by-step procedure for maintaining your pump:
Tools and materials needed
A step-by-step procedure for maintaining your pump
1. Work safely with electricity – it's important to remember that when water and electricity are in close proximity to one another, safety is the most important consideration. Modern submersible pumps contain insulated cords and ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) to protect users, but never entrust your life with these technologies. Be sure to unplug submersible pumps when handling them or when placing your hands into water that contains pumps. In addition, do not remove safety devices such as GFCI plugs, and always discard pumps that contain damaged cords with exposed wiring.
2. Remove the pump from its mounting – the exact location of your submersible pump will vary depending on the specific type of installation, but look for it in the lowest part of your fountain or water feature. Some pumps are attached to their footing with suction cups, while others may use screws or simply rest in place. Once you locate the pump, carefully remove it and its electrical cord.
3. Open the pump housing – most submersible pumps contain a housing that either slides free from the pump or is removable with screws. The housing covers the impeller and shaft, and usually has an adjustable grating that prevents debris from damaging the pump. Remove the housing from the pump and set it aside.
4. Remove the impeller and shaft – submersible pumps typically use an impeller that is not mechanically attached to the pump itself. Instead, the impeller rotates within a magnetic field; this offers the advantage of preventing the need for a sealed, waterproof shaft between motor and pump. However, it also means the impeller is more apt to be jammed by debris since its movement can be disrupted more easily.
Pull the impeller free from its location inside the pump and inspect it for damage. If you see any signs of excessive wear, cracking or other problems, then you should purchase a replacement part from the manufacturer or a distributor. If the impeller is dirty or covered with bacterial slime, then a thorough cleaning will suffice.
5. Clean the impeller and pump housing – pour one cup of bleach into the five gallon bucket and fill the remaining space with water from a garden hose. Drop the impeller and pump housing into the bucket and allow the parts to soak for 30 minutes. After soaking, remove the impeller and housing, and brush the parts with a plastic bristled brush; scrub slime, mold or any other debris from the components and rinse the parts with clean running water.
6. Reassemble the pump and adjust the intake setting on the pump housing – look inside the pump base and remove any obvious debris particles with a brush. Wash out loosened debris with running water, and reinstall the impeller by inserting it back into the pump base.
After reinstalling the impeller and housing, adjust the intake setting on the pump housing for maximum flow if the water feature permits. Restricted flow rates can cause the pump to clog and overheat, leading to a shortened lifespan.
7. Test the pump for proper functioning – once the pump is cleaned and reassembled, insert it into the five-gallon bucket filled with clean tap water. Plug the pump in and observe it to be sure it is working correctly; do not insert your hands into the water while the pump is plugged in or operating. If the pump is functioning properly, then remove it from the bucket and reinstall it in the fountain or water feature.
For more information or tips, work with a landscaping company that offers water feature repairs, like Kona Land and Water Escapes.