If you’re in the market for a sewage pump, you’re going to need to decide whether you want a sewage grinder pump or a sewage ejector pump, and if you’re going to buy the cheapest pump you can get away with or if you’re going to spend more to get better performance and long term liability. We’ve spent enough time in manholes and sewage pits to hopefully provide some convincing answers to these questions. To put it bluntly, a grinder pump is the better option if your family, tenants, or employees use your toilets as wastebaskets, while a regular sewage pump will work well if the people who use your drains only flush human waste down them. And it’s always worth spending more on a good sewage pump than on whatever you’ll find in your local box store.
If you want a good sewage grinder pump, go with the Liberty Pumps PRG101A and say goodbye to clogs for the next decade and a half. But if you don’t need a grinder and just want high reliability and the ability to pass solids, you’ve got several options to choose from. The Zoeller M267 is always a safe bet, but today we’re going to take a look at the Liberty Pumps LE51A Submersible Automatic Sewage Pump. It’s one of the best sewage ejector pumps on the market, and we’ll explain why below. You can buy it here.
Key Features of the Liberty Pumps LE51A Sewage Ejector Pump (60 Second Summary)
The Liberty Pumps LE51A is an automatic submersible sewage ejector pump for residential and light commercial applications. It features a 1/2 horsepower electric motor, a 9,600 gallon per hour maximum flow rate, a 24 foot maximum pumping height, and the standard 3 year Liberty Pumps warranty. It is 12 inches tall, 10.9 inches wide, 7.5 inches long, and weighs 43 pounds. The motor is housed in class 25 cast iron.
The LE51A’s thermoplastic impeller is capable of passing 2 inch spherical solids. Its motor is oil-filled and thermally protected. It runs on 115 volts single phase AC and draws 12 amps at maximum load with rotors locked at 22.5 amps. Thermal overload occurs at 221F. By default, the LE51A includes a 10-foot quick disconnect power cord; the LE51A-2 is an otherwise identical model that includes a 25-foot power cord. The maximum liquid temperature is 140F and the pump includes an automatic mechanical wide angle float switch with a piggyback plug. It uses a 2 inch FNPT discharge.
The maximum pumping speed of 9,600 GPH at zero feet drops to 7,140 GPH at 10 feet, 3,360 GPH at 20 feet, and shuts off at the max head of 24 feet.
How Does the Liberty Pumps LE51A Compare to the Zoeller M267, Liberty Pumps LE41A, and PRG101A?
Compared to the Zoeller M267, the LE51A is the faster ejector pump (9,600 GPH vs 7,680 GPH) as well as the pump with the larger max head (24 feet vs 21.5 feet). Warranty coverage of both pumps is the same. The LE51A is capable of handling hotter fluids (140F vs 130F) and has the option of a 10-foot or 25-foot power cord. Both are capable of passing 2 inch spherical solids and both are equipped with 1/2 horsepower motors. In our experience, the Zoeller has a greater reputation for long term reliability, and we’d expect an up to 20 year lifespan for the M267 vs an up to 15 year lifespan for the LE51A.
Compared to the Liberty Pumps LE41A, the LE51A is again the faster pump (9,600 GPH vs 8,700 GPH) as well as that with the greater max head (24 feet vs 20 feet). Both have the same warranty coverage, fluid temperature limits, and power configurations. Both are capable of passing 2 inch solids. However, in addition to being faster, the LE51A also has the stronger motor (1/2 hp vs 4/10 hp) and reputation for being significantly more reliable than the LE41A, to the point where we would not recommend the LE41A if it were at all possible to buy the LE51A.
Compared to the Liberty Pumps PRG101A, the LE51A will pump more quickly (9,600 GPH vs 2,760 GPH), but that and price are its only advantages. The PRG101A is simply a superior sewage pump. As a grinder pump, it’s not going to stop the first, second, or hundredth time a feminine hygiene product is flushed down a toilet. It won’t clog on diaper wipe after wipe, it won’t choke on towels and rags. It’s designed to handle things that shouldn’t be flushed down toilets but are. If that’s a priority, don’t try to save money with the LE51A. The PRG101A also comes with a far more powerful motor at 1 hp and more than twice the max head at 50 feet instead of 24 feet.
Our Short and Long Term Experiences Installing and Using the Liberty Pumps LE51A Ejector Pump
Installation is more complex than a typical sump pump installation, but not more complex than your everyday sewage pump setup. You’ll either want to hire a plumber, have a lot of experience in sewage pits and septic tanks, or have someone nearby who does. The main thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to have all of your accessories (and extras) at hand before beginning the project, as there’s nothing worse than needing to stop in the middle of everything because you broke your only check valve and all the stores are closed until the following day, and you’d promised everyone running water that evening (we’ve seen it happen). We recommend buying (and using) a good wet / dry vacuum for the installation. Unlike yards of PVC, cement, couplings, and attachments, it’s not required, but it’s guaranteed to come in handy.
Once installed, you can expect somewhere between 7 and 15 years of reliability, although we’ve seen pumps last significantly longer and have unfortunately seen some give out long before they were due. If multiple decades of unstoppable reliability are a high priority, save your money and get a sewage grinder pump instead of a sewage ejector pump; by design, the PRG101A is going to be more resistant to break down than the LE51A.
Troubleshooting and Installation Tips to Get Your Liberty Pumps LE51A Working Sooner
The main issues you’re likely to run into with the LE51A at startup include the pump not running, the pump not turning off, and the pump running without pumping.
If it doesn’t run at all, you’re either dealing with a power issue (a blown fuse, poor voltage), a stuck switch (due to a physical obstruction), not enough liquid in the pit to activate the switch, or a defective switch.
If the pump doesn’t turn off, the switch is either stuck open due to a physical blockage or defective.
If the pump runs or hums but refuses to pump sewage, you’re either facing a blocked or clogged discharge, a backwards or closed check valve, a closed gate or ball valve, too much lift for the pump, or a jammed impeller or plugged volute casing.
All of these issues are readily fixable, but most will require you to open the pit and physically inspect the pump.
Liberty Pumps LE51A Sewage Pump Pros, Cons, and Value Comparison
In conclusion, if you need a fast, powerful, and reliable sump ejector pump, the Liberty Pumps LE51A should be on your short list. It has very few competitors in its price range, with the most serious one being the Zoeller M267. If you aren’t dealing with a residential or commercial environment where people are flushing trash down the drain, either of these pumps should be able to handle appropriate sewage for years to come. On the other hand, if you are managing a home or business where there’s a significant risk of things like feminine hygiene products or sanitary wipes ending up in toilets, or if you simply can’t afford to have any downtime in your sewage system, you’d do well to upgrade to a grinder like the PRG101A. In the end, the answer depends on your clientele, your budget, and your tolerance for risk.
You can buy the Liberty Pumps LE51A here on Amazon or the LE51A-2 with a 25-foot cord here. You can buy the Liberty Pumps PRG101A here. You can buy the Zoeller M267 here. You can buy a good wet / dry vacuum here. You can buy a silent 2 inch check valve here.
If you find our work at PumpThatSump helpful, you can support our relentless reviewing of every sump pump on the market by shopping via our Amazon link for whatever you need to make your house a home. Despite being self-employed, we promise not to spend it all on health insurance.