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Tips on cleaning/de-calcifying pumps and sump

Paene Finitur

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I had a bit of a crisis moment a couple of days ago when the AlertMaxx unit which notifies me when there are pump problems started reporting a power failure on my primary basment pump. To clarify, I have a tanked basement with two sumps, ground and foul, with three pumps, one foul and a primary and secondary for groundwater. similar to this set up.


Thankfully, it turned out to be a false alarm as my son and his friends had inadvertently leant against the isolator switches and switched one off!


That said, when I lifted the manhole, I was quite alarmed at the state of the sump, which had a lot of limescale and sediment build up. Ongoing maintenance of the pumps and sump is something of a worry to me since the supplier PPS systems, refused to warranty the pumps on the grounds that they hadn't done the installation and commissioning (the pumps had been hastily but properly installed after a temporary pump failed a couple of times leading to floods) and their servicing and maintentence contracts are pretty expensive so, with money tight, I've not signed up so far.


I'd like to keep the pumps going as long as I can and do any maintenance that I can reasonably do. Does anyone have any tips or advice on cleaning sediment and limescale from the pumps and chamber? It looks like a fair bit of effort might be required and possibly some chemicals although I'm aware that this is groundwater so I need to stick with something that's kind to the environment and the pumps of course!


Any advice, tips, links etc very gratefully received.


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Get a cover over the isolators so they aren’t accidentally switched off, a simple wooden box or something??


Assuming your alert system works on float switches?


go to the Shelly website and buy a Wi-Fi flood sensor for £30 and peace of mind.


you can of course run a hose into the tank and get the pumps to pump in hand this clean water to flush the system slightly, add some hot water

to the tanks afterwards with some degreaser or washing up liquid, let it sit for a while, rinse and repeat.


it’s generally the build up of crud that causes problems.


Maintenance companies exist for these things, they will lift pumps, clean, check for blockages. So unless you want to do this yourself worth the money. I have 4 small sites on a maintenance contract with Kingspan 


anything spend preventing a disaster involving dirty water/sewerage is worth it, compared to the hassle and time involved in clean up afterwards.


good luck

Edited by TonyT
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Tony, I already have a float switch with a monitoring unit and battery backup so fingers crossed, we should not have a flood without prior warning. We also had a power outage of 3 hours last weekend and it coped quite well with that.


I had a beef with the pump suppliers who would not warranty their own pumps because they weren't there for commissioning. I offered to pay for them to come out to do a full inspection, but they still wouldn't warranty them. They charge £300 + VAT for a service which they say needs done twice a year but that doesn't include cleaning the pumps/sump. They also do various monthly subscription call out packages but the costs are pretty.


That might be the average cost for this kind of thing - I'm afraid I don't know - but I'm seriously thinking of just training myself up in it so I can do the work myself. I mean, I'd consider a contract for a 3rd party to do it certainly, but not at those prices. In the meantime, I'd like to be able to do basic servicing on the pumps myself and keep the sumps clean.

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