The Average Lifespan of a Sump Pump

by | Jan 29, 2019 | Plumbing Tips | 0 comments

Basements provide a great storage area for you and your family. They tend to be the ideal resting place for those important family items that you just want to hang on to forever. Whether used for storage or additional living space, the last thing you want is for anything to get ruined.


Water tends to find its way into basements pretty easily. Little cracks and crevices in the walls allow for ground and rainwater to make its way inside and build up quite quickly. Truly something that no homeowner ever wants to see after venturing downstairs.


Standing household water in the basement results in nothing but pure destruction. It brings damage to walls and floors, which leads harm to carpets, furniture, and any stored family belongings. This also allows for the likely introduction of mold, which can lead to even more problems and headaches.


All homes need is a defense system specifically for unwanted water.


That’s where sump pumps come in.


They’re perfect tool to stop rain or groundwater from building up in your basement. Most sump pumps are placed in pits at the lowest part of the basement. Also referred to as sump pits, these drain pits allow flooded water to collect in the pitted area. The sump pump then sends the excess water away from the house.


Sadly, sump pumps don’t last forever. In fact, the average lifespan of a sump pump is around 10 years. But during that time, they can really give your home an accomplished decade of service — one that was spent saving you thousands of dollars on possible water damage.


To help increase the average lifespan, we’ve identified some common problems that lead to sump pump replacement, and we’ve compiled some DIY plumbing tips for routine maintenance so you can get the most.

Routine Maintenance

Sometimes all it takes is frequent upkeep and inspection to increase a sump pump lifespan. It’s important to check up on its condition, especially during the spring and winter months when snow and rainfall are more common.


Square One insurance has put together a list of some quick and easy DIY services that are easy to perform at home.


 Sump Pump DIY 

1. Make Sure the Sump Pump is Standing Upright: During operation, the force of the vibration is enough to cause the pump to lean to one side or in some cases, completely fall over. A sump pump that is not upright runs the risk of having the float arm jammed — this prevents it from being able to turn on again. 


2. Test the Pump: Ensure that the pump is in good condition by pouring water in the pit and making sure everything runs smoothly. This will be evident by it automatically turning on, and draining the water away quickly. If this doesn’t happen, it’s best to contact a professional to identify what may be causing issues.


3. Check the GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter): A lot of moisture in the area can cause the GFCI to trip and shut down. Checking to make sure that it is plugged in and intact. If the sump pump is shut down, a reset of the GFCI is all it takes to get it working again.


4. Remove any Debris in the pump: Buildup is common, especially if the sump pump is frequently active or has more than 1 year old. Regularly removing excess dirt, sand, and other debris will prevent clogging.

When to Replace a Sump Pump

Knowing some of the more common issues will make you better prepared to not only increase the average lifespan or your sump pump, but also to know when it is time for a replacement.


Some common problems that can occur include:


1. The sump pump or sump pit is too small: Having a sump pump that is too small means water is not being pumped out fast enough. It’s important to make sure that a sump pump has enough horsepower to accommodate for water accumulation. To little horsepower, and it will be on the brink of exhaustion.

Having a small sump pit means it will fill up quickly with water. Overtime, this means it will need to work twice as hard because of the continuous amount of water that is flowing into the pit — one of the reasons years are taken off the average lifespan.


2. Old sump pump:  If you have had your pump for about 10 years, it may mean it’s time for a replacement. How much it is used, how far the water travels out, problems with the electrical source and the quality of the pump itself are some common factors that affect their lifespan.


3. No water in the sump pump pit: While it’s a puzzling mystery to some, the chances are that the pump is incorrectly installed, or it’s not hooked up correctly to the drainage system. Another issue could be that the drainage system is clogged itself, and water is not able to get through. If this is the case, contact a local plumber for drain cleaning services as soon as possible.


4. The pump is making noise:  Sump pumps do make noise when they run. However, you should be aware of any irregular noises that occur. Rattling, grinding, thuds, or gurgling are not normal. These sounds can mean problems with the motor. Disconnect the power immediately, and decide if a professional is needed to diagnose and fix the problem.


5. The sump pump won’t stop running: This issue could really impact the lifespan of your sump pump. Especially, if it is continuously running when there is no water in the sump pit.


So what are some common causes of this?


The Float Switch is Clogged: A simple reason for overdrive could just come down to the float switch being clogged or tangled up. Attached to the float itself, the float switch turns the pump on when the float starts to rise. Lift the bracket connected to the float and see if the pump turns on. If not, then a replacement will be necessary.


The Check Valve May be Broken: Check valves are there to make sure that the water in the sump pit flows outside the home, and doesn’t come back into the pit. A broken check valve means a continuous game of ping pong between the pump, and the same water as it makes its way back into the pit.


Sump pumps are a vital part of any home because they protect the household from flooding. Often, they can last for up to 10 years. Without routine maintenance, they can quickly deteriorate, increasing the risk of flooding and costly sump pump repairs. Being aware of common problems can negate these risks, and make at-home fixes easy.

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