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Holiday Season Essentials

In the spirit of the season, this blog offers a bit of fun facts about Christmas and holiday traditions. Enjoy!

  • The tradition of Christmas trees goes back to ancient Egyptians and Romans, who marked the winter solstice with evergreens as a reminder that spring would return.
  • The Christmas tree gained ground as a holiday tradition when Prince Albert of Germany introduced the tree to his new wife, Queen Victoria of England. A drawing of the couple in front of a Christmas tree appeared in Illustrated London News in 1848.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer first appeared in 1939 when Montgomery Ward department store asked one of its copywriters, 34-year-old Robert L. May, to create a Christmas story the store could give away to shoppers as a promotional gimmick. In the first year of publication, 2.4 million copies of Rudolph’s story were distributed by the retailer.
  • May’s brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny Marks, decided to adapt the story of Rudolph into song. Gene Autry recorded Marks’ musical version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in 1949.
  • Candy canes originated in Germany. The National Confectioners Association says in 1670 a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral gave candies to young children to keep them quiet during long church services. But it wasn't until a German-Swedish immigrant decorated his tree with candy canes in 1847 that they became popular as a Christmas candy. The tradition began to spread, and around the turn of the century, red and white stripes and peppermint flavors became the norm.
  • “Jingle Bells” was originally a Thanksgiving song. James Lord Pierpont wrote a song called “One Horse Open Sleigh” for his church's Thanksgiving concert. In 1857, the song was re-published under the title it still holds today, and it eventually became one of the most popular Christmas songs.
  • Nine days before Christmas in 1965, two astronauts aboard Gemini 6 sent an odd report to Mission Control that they saw an “unidentified flying object” about to enter Earth's atmosphere, traveling in the polar orbit from north to south. They interrupted the tense report with the sound of “Jingle Bells,” as Wally Schirra played a small harmonica accompanied by Tom Stafford on a handful of small sleigh bells they had smuggled aboard.
  • The idea of Santa Claus came from the legend of St. Nicholas, a fourth-century Christian bishop who gave away his abundant inheritance to help the needy and rescued women from servitude. His name was Sinter Klaas in Dutch, which later morphed into Santa Claus.
  • By the time the Puritans settled in Boston, celebrating Christmas had been outlawed from 1659-1681. If anyone was caught celebrating, they would face a fine.
  • After the Revolutionary War, Congress held their first session on December 25, 1789.
  • On June 28, 1870, toward the end of the legislative session, President Ulysses S. Grant signed into law a bill designating Christmas a legal, unpaid holiday for federal employees in the District of Columbia.
  • While roast beef, turkey, and spiral hams are popular fare for Christmas dinner, in Japan, it has been a longstanding tradition to consume fried chicken. In 1974, KFC capitalized on this opportunity by asking the people of Japan to enjoy Christmas with a bucket of KFC, and the Japanese responded by ordering their chicken in advance. Approximately three million KFC orders are made every year in Japan.
  • In Thailand, water is used to celebrate the New Year. Referred to as Songkran, the people of Thailand participate in water fights, which lasts for three days.
  • Ethiopia is the only country that does not utilize the 12-month calendar. They use the Coptic Calendar instead, which has 13 months and as a result, the country celebrates New Year’s Day on September 11.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the JMI Pump Systems staff. May you have a blessed and prosperous 2021.

Plugger Boxes for Pumping Installations

Plugger boxes provide convenience to connect all wiring required for a typical pumping station installation.

JMI Pump Systems offers pluggers from Alderon Industries and SJE Rhombus, which offer ease of installation and many safeguards.

The mini power post from Alderon is designed for electrical code compliance and is rated for outdoor use. It features easy and safe access to the pump and pump switch inside the vented post. All electrical wiring is in a UL listed 4X enclosure, which prevents harmful septic gases and moisture from affecting electrical wiring. Plus, the wiring box is high-impact PVC.

Options include an indoor remote alarm and indoor light; a junction for alarm float to connect to remote alarm; and riser connection kit with conduit nipples and fittings.

The post is 2.5 feet tall.

The JB Plugger also is an easy to install junction box with convenient wiring connections for use with one single phase pump in effluent and sewage chambers.

This junction box provides a convenient location to connect all wiring required for a typical pumping station installation. The junction box employs a receptacle to accept a 120VAC or 230VAC piggy-back plug and a pump plug. It also features an easy to use terminal strip which can be used for connecting an alarm system in the junction box.

The JB Plugger package ensures a liquid-tight seal and strain relief for the cable entering the junction box from the pumping station.

Features include a NEMA 4x enclosure with hinged door; separate alarm and pump control circuit; riser extension coupling and washers, customer engineered liquid tight cable seal; and strain relief for pump and float cords provided by cord seal.

Options include an alarm system for a high- or low-level alarm, pump switch for pump control, and control switch for alarm activation.

For any of your pump needs from complete systems to accessories to expert advice, contact us at 262-253-1353 or sales@jmipumps.com.

What Kind of Pump Do You Need?

JMI Pump Systems advises contractors and facility managers who are not sure what type of pump would meet their needs. In this blog, we’ll tell you about the pumps JMI offers and what they can do.

Sump Pumps

Also called drainage or clear water pump, they are installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace to help keep the area under or around the building from getting saturated. The sump pump automatically pumps excess water out of the basement to a designated area.

To size a sump pump, a plumber needs to calculate the vertical height (lift) and the horizontal distance associated with the distribution of the liquid; the peak inflow rate; and the size and type of pipe; and associated fittings and valves. This will provide the total Dynamic Head (TDH) for the system and dictates your required pump GPM output and horsepower. The higher you pump and further you pump horizontally, the higher the horsepower.

Each submersible sump pump has its own pump curve with max GPM and max shutoff head, so it’s important to check the manufacturer specifications of the pump.

Effluent Pumps

Effluent pumps are capable of pumping waste solids, usually only up to ¾” diameter. The applications for these pumps include graywater such as laundry discharge, dishwasher and sink drainage, and septic systems. Again, use the TDH and max inflow of liquid to arrive at the best pump for the job.

Sewage Pumps

Sewage Pumps are used in sanitary pumping applications and are capable of passing up to 2” solids. Like the other pumps, sewage pumps come in a variety of materials of construction, sizes, and horsepower. When selecting a sewage pump, consider how many water fixture units (toilets, sinks, etc.) producing waste in the facility that will be feeding the wastewater system. Pump selection is determined as the others once you have this calculation complete.

Grinder Pumps

With their powerful cutting blades, grinder pumps break down household waste and can help alleviate potential clogs. But even so, the only items that should be going down the drains are the 3Ps – poop, paper, and pee.

Grinder pumps are typically used when pumping from a residence to a low pressurized sewer main, typically required when the gravity sewer is a long distance from the residence or there is a dramatically high vertical lift. Grinder pumps macerate the sewage, reduce it to a slurry, and then pump it through a smaller diameter pipe. The most common pump is rated 2 HP, which provides high pressure/low volumes of sewage pushing the waste over long distances, sometimes thousands of feet. The pump performance must maintain a minimum rate of flow of two feet per second.

Some grinder systems are installed with outdoor lift stations, and some indoors using a large fiberglass basin and sealed cover. Grinder pumps also require a control panel or junction box incorporating an alarm because they are serving the whole house or application.

Cutter/Chopper Pumps

Cutter Pumps are, as the name suggests, pumps that cut and pass sewage solids. Utilizing a tungsten carbide tipped impeller and a high chrome iron cutter plate, cutter pumps solve demanding sewage and wastewater applications. As the solids pass through the cutter plate, they are cut into pieces and the deep vane impeller passes them along.

Some applications for cutter pumps include hotels, restaurants, retail, and municipal pump stations. They also have uses in agriculture and food production, such as pumping manure, and water processing at slaughterhouses.


Note that no matter the type of pump, they all need to be set in a properly sized basin. The depth of the invert through the basin, the total volume of wastewater generated at its peak, and the number of pumps required all help in determining the width and depth of the basin for each specific application.

Back-up Pumps

Emergency battery or generator-powered back-up pumps should always be considered for those applications that would be in danger of flooding during main power or primary pump failure. The specific parameters of the application will determine the performance of the system required.

No matter your pumping application, JMI Pump Systems has one of the largest selections to choose from. Plus, you can depend on our expert staff to help specify the right solution for your situation. For more information, contact us at 262-253-1353 or sales@jmipumps.com.

Packaged Systems Simplify the Installation Process

The packaged systems available through JMI Pump Systems help make the life of a plumber or pump installer easier when it comes to having everything you need at the job pre-assembled and ready to go.

We build pre-packaged pump systems using products from the top names in the business, including Franklin Electric, Little Giant, Barnes, Metropolitan Industries, Tsurumi, Glentronics, Topp Industries, SJE Rhombus, Alderon, Jackel, and more.

Packaged systems simplify the installation process, as all you have to do is take it off the truck, set it in place, connect the piping and power, and off you go. Based on feedback provided by customers, we have found that “kitting” and/or pre-assembling these systems (including the correct basin, cover, pump, switch, and accessories) greatly reduces installation time and improves consistency - eliminating extra trips back to the shop or supply house during installation. Packaging by a single source results in improved responsibility in communication, knowledge, and support.

No matter your pumping application, JMI has the expertise to help you with a customized solution. Contact the JMI team at 262-253-1353 or sales@jmipumps.com for the “No Problem” Service.

JMI Pump Systems Major Announcements

New Location and Name

As we have previously announced, we are moving into the new Germantown facility in early August. Our first official day serving our customers in the new building, W194 N11695 McCormick Drive, will be August 10.

This larger building will allow us to boost production, offer more training opportunities, accommodate an expanding staff and customer base, and elevate our in-stock supply of pumps and pump system components.

As many of you know, Jim Murray Inc. has provided excellent products and services to Wisconsin and Northern Illinois since 1958. Coinciding with the relocation to our new building, we are excited to announce that we will begin operating under a new name - JMI Pump Systems.

This represents our extensive product offering, trusted service, and our unparalleled expertise to determine the proper pump system for your application. It is our belief that the new name pays tribute to our rich history, while providing a better understanding of what we do today and well into the future.

Angela and Jim Murray created a company that set itself apart with its quality service and product reliability. Their sons, James Jr. and Joe Murray, built upon their parent’s legacy and became known as the “go to” specialist and trusted source for even the most difficult pumping situations. Today, we maintain the commitment built by our founders to provide the best products and service in the industry.

Thank you for entrusting your business to us, with some of your families having done so for over six decades. Rest assured we will continue with our commitment to “No Problem” service. Please contact me or anyone on the JMI team with questions or comments. We look forward to seeing you soon – our Partners in Pumping.

Fiberglass Basins/Tanks Have Many Benefits

Fiberglass tanks are technically fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) – that is they are plastic tanks that have been reinforced with fiberglass, similar to the way that rebar strengthens concrete.

The benefits of FRP include reliability and corrosion resistance for both above- and below-ground applications. Underground tanks are suitable for a variety of liquid materials, however, our focus at JMI is on water and sewage applications. There are additional tanks available for onsite wastewater collection and treatment systems for residential or commercial applications such as sewage, stormwater, and effluent lift stations.

One of the advantages of fiberglass tanks is that they are watertight, lightweight, durable (corrosion and abrasion resistant), and have high strength-to-weight ratios. We also offer chemical compatible vinyl ester resin based tanks.

For our fiberglass catch basins, the most popular size is the 36” x 48”, which meets many code requirements for interior garage catch basins. Pair this with our frame and grate and you have JMI’s popular “Big Easy” offering.

All of our fiberglass basins come with heavy duty anti-flotation flanges, and we stock basins with a diameter up to 48”and a depth up to 144”. Also available in stock are all respective covers (steel, PVC, structural foam, and of course fiberglass) along with all associated basin and cover accessories and components.

Fiberglass is a quality product, but performance in the field requires engineering and project expertise. JMI staff have the experience, skills, and knowledge to help you with any water or sewage application.

If you need a fiberglass tank or basin, contact the JMI team at 800-234-5490 or sales@jmipumps.com for “No Problem” Service.

Signs a New Sump Pump May be Needed

We are often asked how long a sump pump should last. The answer is, it’s variable, but a rule of thumb is seven to ten years. (We still have JMI pumps out there since 1958!) However, there are some signs that signal a pump system needs to be serviced or replaced.

Continual running

If your pump runs all the time for no reason, it may be that it doesn’t have a strong enough GPM performance for the volume of incoming water, or the HP to overcome the application TDH (Total Dynamic Head). This can be a sizing issue, as one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to sump pumps.

Strange noises

You may often hear a humming noise when the pump is running, but excessive motor noise can mean a failed bearing. Rattling or grinding noises could also indicate a jammed or damaged impeller.

Failure to turn on when needed

This could mean the float switch is stuck or part of the float mechanism is broken. Also, you may need to check the breaker in your panel.

Continual cycling of turning on and turning off

This can be a result of a power issue, or a float switch issue, but most likely is a basin and/or pump sizing issue. This is the other side of the coin and related to the continual running above. If a pump installed actually is too high of HP or GPM performance, it can shorten the life of the pump with too many start/stops in a short period of time. This causes excessive heat in motors and speeds up the life cycle of the switch.


A heavy flow into the sump pump pit can be a result of a high-water table or underground spring. It also could be the result of excessive rain or less than ideal drainage away from the house. The problem can be addressed by installing a duplex system; another pump and basin in another part of the basement (tying into the drain tile or adding additional tile); or upgrading the pump system.

If you need help determining the age or condition of the pump, contact the team at JMI Pump Systems at 800-234-5490 or sales@jmipumps.com.

Lastly - We always recommend you have a battery backup system in case of power outage or primary pump failure. At the very least, install an alarm (with text alerts available) so you are notified while you still have time before flooding. Again, call JMI for the many options available.

Why Sump Pumps Are Necessary

With the heavy rains we experienced early this summer, area homeowners and businesses were appreciative of having working sump pumps, as the pumps have been tested. For most people, they don’t think about their sump pump as long as it is working properly. With that in mind, we want to address why it is necessary to have protection.

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, more than 60% of American homes have some type of moisture in their basements or crawlspaces. This can cause unpleasant mold, mildew, and fungus in the home, creating a possible health issues for those that reside there. As we live in a region that receives significant amounts of snow and rainfall, a sump pump is an integral part of any home with a basement or crawlspace.


Installed at the basement floor’s lowest elevation, a sump pump is designed to manually remove water collected from the drain tile and potentially surrounding ground water. It is typically encased in a dedicated sump pit known as a sump crock or basin. Most have a mechanized flotation system that causes the pump to turn on and pump down the water to a safe level. The sump pump directs the water outside and away from the structure’s foundation through a discharge pipe. A check valve between the pump and the pipe keeps the water from back flowing into the house.

There are two general styles of sump pumps – a pedestal pump, where the motor is raised above the sump pit, and a submersible pump, which is wholly located below the basin cover. As a sump pump runs on electricity, and is mechanical equipment, it is highly recommended that you have a battery backup in the event you lose power or the pump reaches the end of its life cycle. At the very least, every sump system should at least include an alarm to notify you of rising water.

A good summary of potential benefits from sump pump systems include…

  • a dryer, more comfortable basement throughout the year.
  • advising a homeowner when the water level gets too high.
  • stabilizing the soil around the structure’s foundation.
  • safeguarding wall coverings and paint against flaking.
  • protecting metal appliances (furnace, water heater, washer, dryer, freezers, etc.).
  • raising a home’s property value.
  • providing homeowners with peace of mind regardless of weather conditions.

When it comes to maintaining a sump pump, it is suggested that the system be tested at least every other month by pouring water into the pump to confirm it starts and moves water.

For additional information on sump pumps, the team at JMI Pump Systems is ready to help. Please contact us at 800-234-5490 or sales@jmipumps.com.

The Basics of a Duplex System

Building redundancy into a mechanical system via a duplex pump system is cost-effective and efficient for a wide range of applications. In Wisconsin, duplex pump systems are required in a commercial buildings where there are three or more water closets or when more than 20 DFUS are draining into the sump basin. Duplex systems can also be used for drainage and dewatering.

As its name suggests, a duplex system means there are two pumps to handle the daily flow rates. The heart of the duplex system is the alternating control panel that, through the activation of sensor float control switches, automatically alternates between the two pumps. This not only equalizes pump wear but provides override control should either pump fail or if the second pump is needed to handle a heavy inflow.

The alternating control panel is operated by typically three sensor float control switches: stop float, lead float, and lag/alarm float. There are some systems that do use four floats – incorporating a redundant alarm or off function.

The stop float is the float that turns off whichever pump was called on to run. The lead float is the float that runs on whichever pump happens to be called for at that time. The third float is the lag/alarm float. If the liquid is to reach this float, the lag pump will turn on and the alarm will sound, warning there is a problem with the system.

Note that an alarm device must also be installed on a separate electrical circuit, separate from the circuits feeding the pumps. If you are using one breaker for the incoming pump power for both pumps, it needs to be sized for the possibility of both pumps running at the same time. It is highly recommended to have separate circuits for both pumps and the alarm, totaling three circuits.

JMI Pump Systems is able to assist you with finding the best duplex system for your application, including ones that may require no tethered floats. For more information, contact us at 800-234-5490 or sales@jmipumps.com.

To Grind Or Not To Grind …

Many of you might have seen a recent Facebook post from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District showing a photo of what happens to “flushable” wipes after they’re flushed. Looking at that mess at their pumping station, you see it’s quite the clog.

The recommendation is not to flush those “flushable” wipes, but people won’t stop doing it until perhaps it hits them in the wallet when a professional needs to unclog a lateral pipe or pump system.

Is there a solution to this? Depends on the consumer, what is thrown into the toilet, and equipment installed.

Some homeowners (and professionals too) make the incorrect assumption that a grinder pump will alleviate the problem. With their powerful cutting blades, grinder pumps break down household waste and help alleviate potential clogs. But even so, the only items that should be going down the drains are water, regular toilet paper, and human waste, better known as the three P’s (pee, paper, and poop).

While the industry is making advances in grinder pump cutters and centrifugal pumps with vortex impellers, they still are not able to remove a large volume of the wipes from the sewer system, resulting in the homeowner’s pumping system to clog.

So where and why are grinder pumps used? Grinder pumps are typically used when pumping from a residence to a low pressurized sewer main, typically required when the gravity sewer is a long distance from the residence or there is a dramatically high vertical lift. Grinder pumps macerate the sewage, reduce it to a slurry, and then pump it through diameter pipe as small as 1-1/4 in. The most common pump is rated 2 HP, which provides high pressure/low volumes of sewage pushing the waste over longer distances, sometimes thousands of feet.

Some grinder systems are installed with outdoor lift stations or indoors using a large fiberglass basin with a sealed cover, vent, and discharge, along with a check and ball valve. Most grinder pumps have a control panel with a built-in alarm because they are serving the whole house.

One of our popular models for domestic sewage is the IGP Series Grinder Pump from Franklin Electric, which operate across 208-230V ranges in one model. The GPA (automatic) and GPM (manual) versions’ motors and construction are designed to handle the demands of low-pressure sewage applications, grinding at 414,000 cuts per minute. They incorporate a non-clogging impeller staged for efficient pumping of the slurry with a shut-off head of 130 feet or 200 feet for the dual staged pump. Another good centrifugal based 2HP grinder pump option to consider is the OGP Series from Barnes.

As stated above, grinder pumps are designed to pump to a pressurized sewer main. They are not recommended for a septic tank, however there is an exception if the system is designed appropriately. If the special design is not completed correctly, the fineness of the slurry won’t easily separate from the liquid and therefore won’t get passed on to the secondary system. The result will be a ruined subsurface leaching field. Contact your trusted septic contractor to further discuss this option.

JMI Pump Systems has a large selection of grinder and sewage pumps to choose from. If you are not sure what your application calls for, we will be glad to assist. We are happy to visit a job site to help design, troubleshoot, and even assist with a new installation. For more information, contact us at 800-234-5490 or sales@jmipumps.com.