What's that Noise Outside My House? - Pump Alarms and What to Do Next

It’s happened to many of us. You’re watching TV or come home after a trip to the grocery store only to be distracted by a buzzing or chirping sound coming from the outside of your house (or maybe your basement). “What IS that?” you wonder. You search out the sound and discover that it’s coming from a box with a flashing red light on top. What does this mean? What should you do next?

This outside box is a control panel and probably means that you have a grinder, sewage or effluent pump on your property. If you have a septic system, you most likely have either (or both) effluent or sewage pump(s). If you have public sewer, this is most likely either a sewage or grinder pump. This sound and flashing light indicates an alarm situation, and is designed to indicate an issue with the pumping system before a catastrophic issue occurs.

What could cause an alarm on a pumping station? There are a variety of issues that could go wrong including bad floats, electrical surges, extended power outages, clogged impellers, faulty starting components, and more.

What should you do next? Primarily, we recommend limiting the use of wastewater as much as possible. Your tank has a safety storage factor in place, but if you have the ability, it is always wise to eliminate flushing toilets, bathing or using any sort of water unless absolutely necessary. If your alarm is due to an extended power outage, try waiting to see if the alarm resets after power is restored. You should also immediately call a pump service expert that is equipped to accurately diagnose the problem and get you back up and running in the shortest time-frame possible.

Following these instructions may help avoid costly (or unnecessary) repairs, cleanups and allow you the peace of mind knowing your pump equipment is operating reliably and at peak efficiency.

Feel free to contact Kolstad & Fiess if you have any questions or concerns relating to your pump system.

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