Saturday, 25 August 2012

Shower sump float switch broken - dark cloud overhead

Jubilee has a shower unit which drains into a sump - a cuboid plastic box of about six inches side. From here the waste is pumped up, via a hair trap, and out of a skin fitting. The pump knows when to, er, pump because a float switch in the sump floats up and makes an electrical contact.

That is, this is how it is supposed to work. Unfortunately the float switch has stopped functioning, leading to the shower tray filling with water and threatening to overspill into the bathroom. As a temporary measure I have fixed up a push switch above the shower, so that whoever is in there can pump out the waste without having to traipse round into the bedroom, open the wardrobe and switch the pump on, dripping over everything in the process.

Today I tried to extricate the float switch. In the end I had to cut through one of the switch's supports to release it. Earlier I had tried to unscrew the bolts holding the switch down, but the bolt head just rotated without coming undone. After a couple of uses of the shower I discovered that the floor under the sump - and there's not much under the sump - was damp. Oh dear. Was waste water seeping out where a bolt was now not sealing properly?

Having triple-checked that the float switch was definitely faulty I removed it, as described, and tried to open it up to see what was in it. It sounded like a ball bearing was rolling about inside. Attacking it with a Stanley knife failed to do the trick, so I'll try a hacksaw later.

Meanwhile I've squirted sealant around the bolt heads and the base of the switch unit; I've also had to seal the hole the wires from the switch passed through to the outside. I hope it's all watertight again by the morning!

Speaking of showers, I thought we were in for a deluge when this black cloud formed over Jubilee and Milton Keynes Marina just before six this evening. We read Lucky Duck's account of the storm in Cambridge only 40 miles away and wondered if it was coming here. It didn't. At least, it hasn't yet.

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