Grinders - Things You Should Know

            Grinders are part of living in Portal IV. They provide a low-pressure method of partially processing waste plus a means of conducting the effluent to our system lines and system processing without relying on gravity. But, they may also be one of the most expensive to maintain. Your HOA would like you to know some things about grinders and how best to maintain them.            

            The components of your system include the pump itself; the connection lines from the drains within your home and the discharge lines connecting to our community system; and the electronic control box. The control boxes in Portal IV usually have a connecting port for a standby power generator.

            If your alarm light comes on and the alarm sounds, it could mean any of several different malfunctions. There is a push-to-silence button in or on your control box which can be used to stop the sound, or place the control switch to OFF. The alarm could indicate a malfunctioning control switch, a defective part of the control box, or a problem with the pump itself.

            If the problem is in the pump, it could be one of several possible malfunctions but usually one of the following: the pump motor, the high-water alarm sensor, the high/ low water motor sensor, or the stator/ rotor that pulls the waste water into the pump or a blockage in the community piping system.

            Replacing or repairing the grinder is expensive so proper care is essential to keeping costs down. There are some dos and don’ts: Never turn off your grinder or knowingly disconnect the power supply. If you leave your home for longer than a week, purge your system. The best way to purge is to run water through your bathtub drain: ten minutes for most grinders.  Certain parts of the pump are rubber and purging with clean water helps to keep those parts from deteriorating. Also, when leaving your home for several days, turn off your water supply.  Some residents have ended up with water bill of  over a thousand dollars and significant home damage from a water leakage. 

            If you suffer an extended period of power outage, minimize use of your home water system. For your toilets: If it is yellow let it mellow. If it is brown, flush it down.

NEVER flush or place the following down your drains: glass, metal, latex, shells of any kind including egg, stones, cloth or plastic products, sanitary napkins or tampons, moist toilet towelettes, chemicals, fuel, condoms, bones, paper products other than toilet tissue and grease of any kind including cooking.  

Periodically check that the grinder itself is not buried by silt or other debris from stormwater runoff.

NEVER disregard a grinder alarm. Immediately contact a plumber who is familiar with grinders.  When contacting a plumber you may want to ask: (1) How familiar they are with grinders. (2) What their service charge is and what it covers. 3) Their hourly rate? (4) Do they rebuild pumps? (5) How long do they guarantee their work?

Grinder pumps last about ten years on average,