Are you concerned that the sump pump in your home is nearing the end of its life? Replacing your sump pump before it fails is essential for preventing flooding and avoiding issues with water damage and mold growth in your home. Here, we’ll explain how long sump pumps normally last, the factors that can impact their lifespan and how to spot the signs that your sump pump should be replaced.

Average Lifespan for a Sump Pump

The majority of sump pumps will usually last for somewhere around seven to 10 years. A sump pump can potentially last for longer than this, but you run the risk of the pump suddenly failing if you wait too long to replace it. Replacing a sump pump will almost always be much cheaper and less of a hassle than what you’ll have to deal with if your pump fails and your basement or crawlspace floods. This is why many experts recommend replacing the sump pump in your home every five years or so just to be safe.

While seven to 10 years is the average life expectancy of a sump pump, there are a variety of factors that can directly impact how long your pump lasts. One factor is how often the sump pump runs. A pump often will fail sooner in places that are much more prone to heavy rains and flooding or where the water table is much higher. The reason is obviously that these issues will lead to the pump running much more often and experiencing greater wear and tear.

While it may sound contrary, a sump pump that only runs very rarely will also usually not last as long. Most sump pump motors are factory sealed with oil to ensure everything is properly lubricated and prevent the motor from overheating or seizing up. If the pump doesn’t run occasionally, it can lead to the motor no longer being sufficiently lubricated or moisture building up inside the unit. Either of these issues can then lead to the pump quickly overheating or dying once it finally does have to run.

The type of sump pump you have can also affect its lifespan. Submersible sump pumps typically last a bit longer than pedestal pumps. Submersible pumps sit inside the sump basin and are covered with water whenever they run. The water helps to keep the pump cooler to reduce the chances of its motor overheating.

The Importance of Sump Pump Maintenance and Testing

One last factor that can have a major impact on the life of a sump pump is whether it is properly maintained. Testing your sump pump regularly and making sure to have it professionally maintained every year will almost always enable to it last longer than it might otherwise.

What Type of Maintenance Does a Sump Pump Need?

One important part of maintaining your sump pump is to test and run it at least a few times a year. All this requires is using a hose or buckets to partly fill up the sump basin with water. Testing and running your pump again helps to ensure that the motor is properly lubricated. It also allows you to make sure that the pump is working effectively so that you can easily determine if you need to have it repaired or replaced.

Another essential part of maintaining a sump pump is occasionally removing it from the basin and cleaning the inlet screen. This screen often ends up getting clogged with mud and debris, which limits the amount of water the unit can pump and can lead to it overheating and burning out. Occasionally cleaning all of the rust, slime and bacteria that form on the pump will also help it to last longer.

One final thing that you should do is make sure to keep the sump basin clear of debris. If not, there is a much higher chance the inlet screen will get clogged and potentially cause the pump to fail the next time it needs to run.

How to Tell if Your Sump Pump Is Wearing Out

One of the most common questions we see is “How do you know when a sump pump is going bad?” Knowing when a sump pump is on its last legs and may soon fail isn’t always easy. In fact, there are often times when a pump will work just fine one day and then suddenly no longer run the next time it’s needed. This is one of the reasons why we recommend never to go for more than 10 years without replacing the sump pump in your home.

There are also many times when you will first notice various issues that indicate your pump is no longer working properly. One of the most obvious signs that a sump pump is starting to fail is when it starts running much more loudly than normal. Excessive noise can indicate a more minor issue such as a clogged inlet screen, but more commonly it’s a sign that the pump’s motor is beginning to wear out.

Monitoring your sump pump whenever it needs to run can also help you determine when it’s no longer working properly and needs to be replaced. As long as your sump pump is correctly sized, it should have no issues quickly pumping all of the water out of the sump pit or basin. During heavy rains when the basin continually fills up, a sump pump may run for quite a long time. However, it should still be capable of pumping enough water to keep the basin from ever filling up all that much. You may notice that the pump is running continuously and the water level in the basin isn’t really going down. This likely means that the pump can no longer work effectively enough and should be replaced.

The most common reason that a sump pump fails is that its motor overheats because the pump has to run continuously for a long time. This is why it’s a good idea to keep notes about when your pump runs and for how long it runs each time. If you notice it has started running for longer than it used to, it’s definitely a good idea to replace it before it suddenly gives out.

One final factor that indicates your sump pump likely needs to be replaced is if it’s covered in lots of rust and slime. Rust and corrosion can lead to the housing on the pump developing a leak, which then allows water to get inside the motor and destroy it. Slime on the pump results from iron-oxidizing bacteria that feed on the iron in the water in the sump basin. When this slime builds up on the pump, it will often end up clogging it. This results in there not being sufficient water flowing through the unit to cool the motor, which can quickly cause it to overheat and burn out.

Your Trusted Plumbing Professionals

If you need to have your sump pump repaired, replaced or maintained, Erica's Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Restoration is always here to help. We are a women-owned company that has been providing expert plumbing services in Broward and Palm Beach County since 2009. In addition to plumbing, drain and sewer services, we also specialize in the full range of air conditioning services as well as mold, water and fire damage restoration. To schedule a sump pump inspection or any other service, contact us today.

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