Your trusty sump pump is the last line of defense against a flooded basement during heavy rains or busted water pipes. This relatively simple device can save you from massive water damage and costly home repairs.
The average basement sump pump is out of sight and out of mind, so it is often forgotten. As such, many people are unaware that their sump pump may not be up to the task when they need it the most. Unfortunately, waking up to a flooded basement is often the first sign of a failed pump.
Saving your home from a flooding disaster is as simple as being mindful of your sump pump’s condition, but how long does a sump pump last and what are the signs that it needs replacing or repairing? This article will tell you everything you need to know.
How Long Does a Sump Pump Last?
Even the best, highest-quality sump pumps have an expiration date, which is usually around 7–10 years. If yours is about this old, you should consider having it replaced. An old sump pump can fail at any time.
Most sump pumps are installed in basements, where they collect excess water and moisture to redirect it away from the property and into the storm drainage system. The more work a sump pump has to do over its life will determine how soon it needs replacing.
The area where you live could be more prone to moisture in the basement than other areas, which can influence how long a sump pump usually lasts. If your home is in a flood-prone area, it might be prudent to have your sump pump checked and serviced more often.
If you aren’t sure how old your pump is, we highly recommend you have it inspected, cleaned, and serviced by a qualified licensed plumber.
Pumps will do most of their work during spring and summer, so the best time for an inspection is around early fall to late winter. Having your sump pump routinely serviced will give you peace of mind, and it can save you a bundle in expensive repair bills.
Signs Your Sump Pump Needs Replacing
If you don’t want your first warning sign of a busted sump pump to be a flooded basement, common sump pump problems have symptoms that will alert you to an imminent sump pump failure.
A strange noise from your pump could indicate worn-out or damaged parts. A loud motor noise might be a failed bearing. Jammed or damaged impellers (the fan that draws water into the pump) will produce rattling or grinding noises.
The impeller, which is like a propeller that acts in reverse by drawing things in, can get damaged by hard debris. An impeller is finely balanced to minimize the wear on the spinning shaft.
Damage can put it out of balance and introduce vibrations that put more stress on the shaft. It’s almost impossible to bend an impeller back into position, so a new pump is the most economical solution.
Irregular use of a sump pump can reduce its useful life, so regular maintenance and testing will give you an early indication of problems. Use a small notebook to record when you test the pump so you know when it’s a good time to have it professionally serviced.
The Pump is Running All the Time
A pump that doesn’t switch off automatically has a switch issue. When water is present, it pushes on a float that activates a switch to turn the pump on or off. If the pump has shifted inside the basin, it can make the float ineffective.
Likewise, tethered switches that drift to the side could get hung up on the basin. Plastic brackets can break, and vibrations could jam the float against the side of the container.
Another reason a sump pump can run continuously is that it doesn’t have the capacity to handle the volume of water. A pump that works too hard will burn out and fail quicker than usual. Ask your plumber or sump pump service near you about replacing your sump pump with a larger capacity model.
The Sump Pump Cycles Irregularly
Pumps that randomly cycle on and off, even during heavy rains, are faulty. For example, does the pump turn on even when there is just a couple of inches of water? Or does it turn on and off at random? These issues can be caused by a faulty float switch or a short in the electrical system.
Signs of Rust
Do you see any signs of rust? The discoloration could be from corroded battery terminals or it could be rust. Sometimes the rust can develop into a gel-like substance that can clog the plumbing and jam up your sump pump.
The pump Doesn’t Turn on When it Should
Sump pumps should activate whenever there is water to remove, which could be when it’s raining, or from water seeping into your basement through ground pressure, melting snow, or damaged plumbing. If you have noticed more water pooling in your basement than usual, it’s time to check the pipes or your sump pump.
Does Your Sump Pump Need Backup Power?
Sump pumps rely on the electrical grid to run, but this won’t do you much good if a storm knocks out the power. Generators are expensive, so a battery backup that runs the sump pump for a few hours during a power outage could be an affordable alternative.
Reliable Sump Pump Service Near You
Broken sump pumps are responsible for millions of dollars’ worth of damages across the country. A sump pump’s life expectancy is limited and influenced by many different variables. Even low levels of moisture in your basement can increase the humidity levels to create the perfect environment for mold to thrive. Save on expensive repair bills and get your sump pump checked by a professional service today.