You may only notice your sump pump when it stops working, but it is an essential part of your house. Sump pumps drain HVAC systems and rainwater from your basement. The life of a sump pump depends on several factors, including how it is used and maintenance. Here is how to find out how long your sump pump should last.
How Do Sump Pumps Work?
Sump pumps are usually placed on the basement floor of a house. They collect excess water in a tank or basin and pump it out of your home. This water may come from HVAC drain pipes or rain and flood waters that seep into the basement.
Water accumulates in a sump pump until it triggers a float sensor or activator arm that turns on a motor. The motor then pumps the float out of the basement through a pipe.
Most sump pumps use centrifugal force through an impeller, or fan-like part, that spins and moves the water out of your home.
Most sump pumps require electricity and start automatically and manually. Some run entirely off of water, but their legality depends on your location. Others have battery backups in the case of power outages. Many pumps are submersible and placed in a sump pit where water flows into it. Others are pedestal pumps with the motor not submerged in water.
Sump Pump Problems
If your sump pump stops working, then you know that something’s wrong with it. However, there are other indicators that you need a plumbing professional to take a look at your pump before it gets to that point.
The buildup of rust and corrosion on your sump pump is one indication. If either is forming around the base of your unit, it probably means your motor has also been impacted. Other forms of buildup may also clog your sump pump’s motor. If the motor itself visibly deteriorates, that’s a major sign that you should start thinking about a replacement.
If your sump pump is not turning on regularly, or if it’s turning on and off too frequently, something is amiss. The float switch in the pump’s basin may be malfunctioning or broken, or the check valve might be experiencing issues. Another issue that’s common but is harder to spot is the discharge pipe; if it gets clogged due to buildup, the entire pump can malfunction. Running continually or turning on and off too much can lead to the pump’s motor overheating and even burning out.
Sump pumps can also make noises that reveal a problem. A low-sounding hum is normal for a sump pump, but if you hear a higher-pitched noise, that means something is probably wrong with the motor or that a part needs to be replaced.
How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?
How long your sump pump lasts is affected by how much it is used and how much water it has to push out. How often the unit has been cleaned and maintenance performed also determines the lifespan of sump pumps.
Depending on these factors, your sump pump can last between 7 and 10 years. On average, sump pumps last about 5 to 7 years. Even a well-maintained sump pump usually should be replaced in about 10 years. In some cases, pedestal pumps can last over 20 years, but typically sump pump life spans are shorter.
Sump pumps that handle high volumes of float or are not used sufficiently will not last as long. Sump pumps that turn off and on frequently tend to have shorter lifespans.
Keeping Sump Pumps in Good Condition
Though most maintenance should be left to professionals, there are a few things you can do to extend your sump pump’s lifespan. Periodically check on the outlet it’s plugged into and make sure that the plug is seated fully into the outlet, not hanging out. Chances are that your pump will be plugged into a GFCI outlet, so when you check the plug, also make sure the outlet doesn’t need to be reset.
You can also gently make sure the pump stands straight up, as well as pour a small amount of water in to verify that it turns on when it detects water above the amount set in the basin. Regular maintenance can help the pump last longer.
Sump Pumps and More
Please feel free to contact us at Affinity Plumbing and Water Conditioning for more information about sump pumps, repairs, and maintenance. We are based in Shakopee, MN, and also provide plumbing, water heater, and water conditioning services. Call us today!