When you buy a home with a basement, there will be several things that you will learn about having something beneath the normal ground level. One of the most confusing and scary parts of your basement will be the sump pump, with the longevity of the sump pump being a big concern.
Your sump pump will last between 9 to 11 years, depending on how often it is cleaned and properly maintained. The pump's internal parts start failing after this amount of time, becoming irreparable, requiring that you install a new sump pump that can work effectively.
There are many reasons that a sump pump may stop working properly before its time is up, and many people forget to maintain the pumps regularly. You need to learn several things about sump pumps before simply buying them, ensuring that the pump will last long enough.
How Often Should a Sump Pump be Replaced?
We recommend replacing the sump pump completely every 8 to 10 years, ensuring that you have gotten the maximum amount of use out of the current pump. Sump pumps should be replaced often to ensure that they effectively pump out all of the water from the basement, preventing leaks.
We always recommend that people ensure that the current sump pump is inspected and ready for them in their new homes. Often, sump pumps are not replaced by the current owners of a home before selling the home, leaving new owners with old and unusable pumps.
Sump pumps that have been maintained throughout their lives will usually have maintenance stickers on them. Allowing you and the pump inspector to know how old the sump pump is and when it needs to be replaced with something new or even something stronger.
How Much do Sump Pumps Cost to Replace?
Depending on the location of your home and the strength of the sump pump that you need, they are usually priced between $300 and $700. Smaller sump pumps will cost much less than sump pumps that are larger and use newer technologies.
Sump pumps are usually not connected to anything other than power, which means that sump pumps do not need to be connected to your Wi-Fi. The pumps are entirely self-contained, turning off and on automatically, allowing you to buy only the pump capable of properly draining your basement.
If you think that a pump is too much or that you are being overcharged for a small sump pump many times, you can purchase one online. You will have to ensure that the sump pump fits in the well in the basement and is strong enough to drain the water that will accumulate there.
Do Sump Pumps Need Maintenance?
At the least, sump pumps need to be maintained once a year, with the pump checked over by a trained technician. If your sump pump is a lot more active or working at the upper limits of what it is capable of, we recommend checking on it at least once every six months.
The more a sump pump is used, either manually or automatically, the more maintenance it will require to live a longer life. We always recommend checking the sump pump more often than simply ignoring it and letting it break down and become useless.
A brand-new sump pump not being maintained properly may break within three to five years, a long distance away from its full lifetime. Many times, when a sump pump breaks because of the lack of maintenance on the system, it will break a lot more than just the pipe, damaging other parts of the sump system.
How Do You Know if a Sump Pump is Failing?
The clearest sign that something is wrong with your sump pump is when noises are coming from the machine. Usually, the bearings inside the pump are breaking, or something has become lodged inside the impeller causing damage to the entire system.
If your system is starting to show signs of not being able to empty the basement or constantly running, it is also starting to fail. Usually, the pump is unable to properly drain the water, having to work constantly to try and compensate.
Further, if your basement is suddenly becoming too moist and slightly flooded, then you can rest assured that the sump pump has already failed. If it is the rainy season where you are living, it will mean that you need to get someone in to replace or fix the pump as fast as possible.
Do All Basements Need A Sump Pump?
Yes, all basements that are significantly below the ground level of the surrounding area will require a sump pump to drain out the moisture that accumulates. Only homes that do not have basements do not need a sump pump as is nowhere for the water to gather can cause an eventual problem.
The water that sump pumps are removing from basements usually accumulates because of the ground's moisture. Further, when it rains, the water will force its way through the basement walls; concrete is not waterproof and easily allows water to flow through it. (Related: Basement Waterproofing Cost & Consumer Guide)
However, it should be noted that if the space beneath your house is only a few feet deep and not too large, you may not need a sump pump. These are usually not basements and will not gather moisture and water to such a degree that it needs to be drained out.
Is Replacing A Sump Pump Easy?
If you are replacing a sump pump before it has completely broken, the process is rather easy, involving only the removal of the old pump and installing the new one. Most homeowners with a basic toolset and patience can replace the sump pump with the help of one or two friends.
However, we recommend that you get a technician specializing in replacing sump pumps with doing the task if you are unsure about your abilities. If the pump has not been replaced properly, you can cause a lot of damage to your basement, many times causing a flood to happen.
We always recommend looking at a few videos of the process before starting, even talking to a few professionals about it before simply doing it. You can often purchase all the parts needed with the technician only coming in for an hour or two to do the actual replacement.
The sump pump of any home should last you close to ten years without giving you any major issues. You will have to maintain the sump pump with regular repairs and basic maintenance to keep it working for this long, with many homeowners replacing it first when buying a new house.
Just remember, the sump pump should rarely be heard and should never be seen!