Sump Pump Vs. Ejector Pump: What Are the Differences?

Different types of pumps are installed in Indianapolis area homes, with each serving different purposes. While sump pumps are fairly commonplace and have been used in homes for many years, some homeowners may notice a second pump installed nearby. This is the sewer ejector pump, which has a different role – to move waste from basement bathrooms or other plumbing in a lower level up to the main sewer line. In our most recent blog, B&W Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains explains the differences between a sump pump and an ejector pump so you can better understand the purpose of these plumbing equipment.

What Is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is used to remove groundwater that has infiltrated the basement or crawlspace. This pump sits above or within the sump basin, which is a cylindrical pit that extends at least two feet below floor level. Groundwater that makes its way into the basement or crawlspace through the foundation flows to the lowest point where the sump basin is located, and the water collects within it. The sump pump activates to remove this water from the basin, pumping it through a drain line that discharges water outside of the home and away from the foundation, or it’s connected to a storm sewer.

What Is an Ejector Pump?

It can be easy to confuse sump pumps and ejector pumps, as both look similar and are situated within small basins on the floor of a basement. While the sump pump manages groundwater, the ejector pump moves wastewater from basement toilets and greywater from basement sinks, appliances, and floor drains uphill to the main sewer line. Grey water does not contain human waste but may contain particles of other matter washed down a drain, such as hair, food, cleaning products, and more. 

While a sump basin is usually open and you can see the pump down inside of it, it may also be covered with a lid. The ejector pump basin should be covered with a sealed lid. For ejector pumps handling greywater or processing wastewater with human waste, a vent pipe will be attached to the lid to allow for the venting of sewer gases. The ejector pump has a discharge pipe that runs into the sanitary sewer line which carries waste to the municipal sewer or private septic tank

The Differences Between Sump Pumps and Ejector Pumps

The difference between a sump pump and an ejector pump is the presence of sewage. Ejector pump failure can cause raw sewage to enter the basement which poses a health hazard inside the home and must be thoroughly cleaned. Some flooding can result from an ejector pump malfunction, though not typically as much as what results from a sump pump failure. Sump pump failure can cause significant flooding and water damage.

Sump pumps require regular maintenance for their upkeep, including cleaning the pump and sump basin. Ejector pumps do not need regular maintenance for continued operation. Although not required, it’s recommended to check periodically to make sure toilet paper and debris are not caught on the float. The biggest reason for failure is debris caught on the float. Also, if the lid gets cracked, be sure to replace it as soon as possible as sewer gas is a health hazard. 

Another key difference between a sump pump and an ejector pump is why a home may need either piece of equipment. Sump pumps are needed for basements and crawl spaces in areas where flooding is likely, due to a high water table or heavy rainfall. An ejector pump is necessary if you have water-consuming appliances or bathrooms installed in the basement or lower level of your home. Because these plumbing fixtures sit lower than the home’s main sewer line, wastewater cannot flow out using gravity and a pump is necessary to move it upwards and out of the home.

Sump Pump and Ejector Pump Services in Indianapolis

Whether your Indianapolis area home needs a sump pump, an ejector pump, or both, turn to B&W Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains for the skilled service you need for installation, repairs, and necessary maintenance for sump pumps. Call us today to schedule service with a licensed plumber.