how long do sump pumps last

How Long Do Sump Pumps Last: Signs And Cost?

Sump pumps should be replaced every 7-10 years. Sump pump repairs typically cost $475, with high costs averaging $550 and low costs averaging $400.

You might not realize when your sump pumps have completely worn out because it only operates when necessary, which could go for weeks at a time. Here are nine signs that you can look out for and avoid pump failure and avoid waking up in a flooded basement.

How Long Does a Sump Pump Last?

A sump pump needs to be replaced every 7–10 years, even if it was professionally installed and is of high quality. Your sump pump gathers extra water from drains and directs it away from the house. It is typically found in a basin on the basement floor. The frequency of use, the volume of water it must move, and the cycle runtime all have a significant impact on the lifespan of your sump pump.

If you don’t know how old your sump pump is, you should think about replacing it or, at the very least, having a licensed plumber check it out and clean it. It’s ideal to schedule this for early fall or late winter. A sump pump replacement is much less expensive than having your basement flooded, so keep in mind that springtime is when it is most in demand.

What is a Sump Pump?

An apparatus called a sump pump is used to pump water from your basement to the exterior of your house. A sump is a pit that was naturally formed; it’s typically a hole that was carved out of the main part of your basement floor. This pit, known as a basin, holds the sump pump. There are valves on the pump that can detect rising water levels or pressure. Sump pumps automatically remove extra water from the basement and away from your property using a discharge line when the water level gets too high. This line, called an effluent, connects the sump pump to a designated drainage area.

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

Sump pumps are devices that monitor rising water pressure and levels in order to prevent dangerously high levels. To determine the amount of water in the basin, these pumps use a switch. Rising water levels that trip the switch cause the pump to start pumping water into a discharge pipe and away from the house’s foundation. Using electricity, a battery, or water to power a pump are all viable options. While backup pumps that can run on water or a battery in the event of an electrical blackout are common in sump pump systems, primary pumps are typically wired in.

What Are the Signs of the Sump Pump Needs to Be Replaced?

Sump pumps can be identified in a variety of ways to determine when they should be replaced. You should inspect your sump pump at least once a year, preferably about a month before your rainiest season, for maximum safety and to prevent costly water damage. When you check on it, look for the following nine signs of damage and old age:

Strange Noises

Your pump may be making unusual noises if one or more parts are worn out or damaged, which is usually the case. If your sump pump’s impeller, the fan that pulls the water down from the top of the pump, makes rattling or grinding noises, for instance, you likely have a damaged or jammed impeller. A failed bearing is likely to be the cause of an audible motor. Regardless of the strange noise, it’s probably time for a replacement.

Excessive Vibrations

If your pump vibrates a lot while it’s operating, it’s possible that the impeller’s blades have been bent or otherwise harmed by sucking up tough debris. This bending has the potential to cause the entire structure to sway, and this swaying produces vibration. You might be able to straighten out some minor bends in the impeller, but it would probably be better for you to just buy a new sump pump.

On/Off Switch Issues

Each and every pump has a switch that is controlled by a float arm. The float arm, as its name suggests, floats on the water. When the water level reaches a certain point, the arm will flip a switch to turn on the pump.

This procedure can be stopped if there is a problem with the float arm or the switch. Running continuously is among the most typical signs of this issue. One of these two components is likely to malfunction if the pump does not shut off.

An additional frequent issue is irregular cycling, where the pump seems to stop even though there is still a lot of water to pump or it starts even though there isn’t enough water to warrant pumping yet.

Wiring issues, which typically occur after a power outage (see below), could also be the root of both of these issues. If you’re having these issues, it doesn’t matter what the cause is—you need to replace the sump pump.

Lack of Horsepower

If your sump pump takes a while to empty the water, you may not have enough horsepower to handle the volume of water it must pump or the intricate pipe layout it must do so through. A sump pump with more horsepower is required to efficiently move water through pipes with high water volumes, numerous elbows, or vertical fixtures.

Even if your pump is relatively new, it is insufficiently powerful if you are experiencing abnormally long run times. A new one that can handle the task should be obtained.

Evidence of Rust

Your sump pump is close to failure if there are any signs of rust. Whether it’s actual rust or a red-tinted bacteria known as “iron bacteria,” the rust-like substance will gradually start clogging the pipes so that your pump has to work harder to push water through and, eventually, will no longer be able to get enough water through anymore. This calls for a new pump to be installed right away.

the Motor Keeps Getting Stuck

This most frequently occurs in pumps that must handle a lot of sediment or other challenging material. Your motor might be impacted if you notice that it frequently stops abruptly. You can purchase a filter now to help extend the life of your pump even if you don’t currently have this issue but are aware that your pump will eventually need to handle too much sediment.

To keep your sump pump operating properly, you will still need to clean out this filter every six to twelve months and replace it every few years.

the Motor Stops

When the motor stops working, one of the biggest issues and most obvious signs that you need a new sump pump arises. Make sure to confirm that it is not a problem somewhere else, though, before you dismiss it as unfixable. For instance, the pump may have blown a fuse or become unplugged. Therefore, if your motor isn’t working, check the plug and your fuse box. You need a new sump pump if neither of those is the problem.

Sump Pump is Constantly Running

The arm and switch mechanism of a sump pump must function correctly for it to be effective. The switch is controlled by the float inside.

It could easily wear out the engine and be quite annoying if it runs all the time. Another indication that it can’t control how much water it receives is a pump that runs nonstop. See if you can replace it.

Recent Power Outage

The electrical system of your pump may be harmed by power outages in your home. The harm done to your sump pump cannot be repaired, even if you have backup power installed. Therefore, if you recently had a power outage, check your sump pump to see if it was harmed as a result.

how long do sump pumps last

How Much Does Sump Pump Repair Cost?

If they are in good working order, sump pumps can only be helpful. Sump pumps that aren’t kept up have a lower pumping capacity or might even stop functioning altogether. The average cost of repairing a sump pump is $475, with high costs averaging $550 and low costs averaging $400.

Sump Pump Repair Cost by Type

Pedestal and submersible sump pumps are the two main types of sump pumps, and each type has unique characteristics that affect how much sump pump repair costs.

Pedestal Sump Pump

With pedestal sump pumps, the motor is dry and above the water while the drawtube of the pump is at the bottom of the sump pit.

In comparison to submersible sump pumps, pedestal sump pumps are less expensive to install and maintain. Given that the motor is not submerged in water, they typically last longer. In contrast, pedestal pumps typically have lower pumping capacities than submersible pumps.

Expect to pay on the lower end of the sump pump repair cost scale for pedestal units: around $400 to $475.

Submersible Sump Pump

Sump pumps that are submersible rest entirely inside the sump pit, including the waterproof motor.

Pedestal pumps are less frequently used than submersible sump pumps. Since they rest inside the enclosed sump pit, they are regarded as being stable. Furthermore, they free up room on the basement floor. The cost of installing submersible sump pumps is higher than that of installing pedestal pumps, and consequently, so are repairs.

Submersible sump pump repair costs will be on the upper end of the pricing range: around $475 to $550 or more.

Factors in Sump Pump Repair Price

Type of Sump Pump

Repairs of pedestal sump pumps are frequently simpler than those of submersible sump pumps.

Age and Condition of Sump Pump

An average submersible sump pump is expected to last seven years. About 10 years is the typical lifespan of pedestal sump pumps. Parts for an extremely old sump pump might be hard to come by. The sump pump repair may be made more challenging by additional problems like rust.

Extent of Problem

The discharge lines of your sump pump determine how effective it is. Discharge lines that are frozen or clogged indicate that there is a problem outside, which may require digging, rather than just with the sump pump.

Electrical Work

All sump pumps must be connected to specific GFCI outlets that are placed close to the sump pump.

If the issue is electrical, a qualified electrician must fix or replace the GFCI outlet or even the wire that runs from the outlet to the electrical service panel and circuit breakers.

Replacing a GFCI outlet with an existing wire costs between $140 and $160 per outlet.

Common Sump Pump Repairs

Stuck Sump Pump Float

Depending on the amount of water in the sump pit, the plastic float causes the pump to turn on or off. The sump pump float requires freedom of motion in order to function, much like the plastic float in a toilet tank. There shouldn’t be much of a service call fee for just loosening the float.

Jammed or Broken Float Switch

The float switch is activated by the sump pump’s float. It is frequently possible to manually unjam a switch. The switch can be changed if it is broken.

Inoperable Sump Pump Impeller

Despite the fact that sump pumps have screens, debris can get through the screens and clog the impeller, which moves the water. It is necessary to take the pump out of the sump pit in order to repair the impeller on a submersible sump pump.

Sump Pump Maintenance

Many annual sump pump maintenance tasks can be performed by the homeowner:

  1. Unplug the sump pump.
  2. Away with the sump pump cover.
  3. Remove the sump pump.
  4. Remove the check valve.
  5. Use a soft cloth to clean the housing.
  6. The pump inlet screen should be cleaned with a wire brush. If your sump pump runs frequently, clean the inlet screen every three to four months.
  7. If the manufacturer recommends it, relubricate or oil the sump pump.
  8. Replace the sump pump’s check valve, then reinstall it in the sump pit and cover it.

Sump Pump Replacement Cost

In many cases, replacing the sump pump is more cost-effective than repairing it, especially if the appliance has reached or passed its expected lifespan.

Pedestal sump pump replacement costs range from $400 to $900, for an average cost of $650.

Submersible sump pump replacement costs range from $800 to $2,000, for an average cost of $1,400.


Does the Sump Pit Need to Be Cleaned?

Yes, the pit needs to be cleaned before the sump pump is removed. Hand-pick out any substantial debris. Use a shop vacuum set to wet mode to remove the remaining material.

Do You Need a Battery Backup for Sump Pumps?

Even if your sump is working properly, it could still lose its functionality if there is a severe thunderstorm. You can use a rechargeable battery pack to keep your sump pump running for a few hours during a power outage if you aren’t quite ready to make the investment in a generator. In fact, a built-in battery backup system is already included with many modern sump pump models. If your primary sump pump malfunctions or requires assistance, you might also think about purchasing a backup battery-operated sump pump.

What’s the Most Common Cause of Sump Pump Failure?

The most frequent reason for sump pump failure is typically dirty sump pits that produce debris that blocks the impeller blade. If you need your sump pump serviced, the servicer might not clean out the sump pit unless you specifically ask for it to be done.

How to Find the Right Pro for Your Sump Pump Repair?

There might be waterproofing experts or contractors in your area who specialize in working with sump pumps and other residential waterproofing systems. Sump pump maintenance is typically a basic skill for plumbers.

Is There a Way to Fix a Noisy Sump Pump?

The most frequent cause of the check valve opening and closing being audible throughout the entire house is a sump pump. The house’s pipes vibrate when the valve opens and closes. You can swap out your existing check valve for a silent, spring-loaded check valve.