It’s easy to overlook your sump pump–until it fails, leaving you with wet feet or, worse, tens of thousands of dollars in damages. But how long does the average sump pump last? The U.S. Department of Housing and Development estimates that sump pumps last about 10 years.
But that number varies widely depending on the pump and the conditions it’s subjected to. Some manufacturers claim their pumps will last two decades, and some pumps fail in five years or less.
Sump Pump Life Expectancy & Lifespan
Sump pumps – like any other piece of machinery wear out over time. Most pumps will last around 10 years. Each pump has an expected lifespan based on its construction, build material and pump power. There are a number of things you can do to extend the life expectancy of your pump like:
- Performing regular maintenance
- Keeping the pit free of debris
- Preventing rust
- Using the right size pump for your home
How to Check Your Sump Pump for Damage
Identifying problems with your sump pump before it actually fails will save you from catastrophe (at worst) and tension headaches (at best). You want to replace your sump pump before it fails, and a routine check-up can give you a heads-up if some of the pump’s components start breaking down.
Every few months during the rainy season, you should check to see if your pump is currently working by pouring several gallons of water over the pump, or just enough to raise the float and trigger the pump to turn on.
Ideally, the float will rise, flip the pump switch, and the pump will quickly remove the water. The pump should shut off as soon as the water hits the bottom of the tank. If the pump doesn’t shut off quickly, you might need a new float.
If you have a submersible-style sump pump (as opposed to a pedestal model, which sits outside the tank), it’s a good idea to pull the pump completely out of the tank to clean out the drainage grate and make sure the output areas are free from obstructions.
If you don’t feel handy, a plumber can also service your pump for you to make sure everything is in working order. The time you take to ensure everything works properly is a smart investment in your home’s well-being, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.
How Long does a Zoeller Sump Pump Last?
Zoeller pumps like the M53, M57 and M98 and some of the most dependable – and longest lasting pumps on the market. It is impossible to say exactly how long your new Zoeller sump pump will last due to difference workloads. As long as you perform regular maintenance (and get a powerful pump) it should last for a long time.
Have a Backup Plan
Most sump pumps run on electricity, which is great as long as you don’t have a power outage. Installing some form of redundancy helps ensure your pump won’t fail when you need it the most.
For backups, some people choose to simply use an electric generator. This is a fairly straightforward solution, assuming you’re either home to turn the generator on when the power goes out or the generator is wired into your home’s circuitry to kick in automatically (a more expensive option).
Another option is a battery-powered backup. Battery-powered pumps are run independently from the primary sump pump but are connected to start in case the primary pump stops working. These units are typically simple to install and cost anywhere from $150-$250, with most of the best options–like this one–close to $200.
Hydraulic sump pumps also work as a short-term backup. They operate solely by the flow of water–usually about the same amount of water as they’re pumping out.
Though they’re not a great solution for extensive use, hydraulic pumps do add an extra layer of security in case your primary pump fails, and you can get a highly-rated one for under $200 on Amazon.
If you check your pump regularly, you’ll have a chance to replace it before it leaves you in a lurch. Some of the top indicators that your pump has problems are out-of-the-ordinary noises, a switch that doesn’t work, or a pump that is pumping significantly slower than normal.
These could mean you need to replace your pump, but they could also indicate there’s an obstruction or another problem that a simple service call would fix.
You don’t know exactly how long your sump pump will last, but you can take steps to keep it running strong. And you can make sure you’ll find out as soon as something does go wrong. That’s a smart investment you won’t regret.