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 a sump pump last? The U.S. Department of Housing and Development estimates that sump pumps runs for 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 work effectively for around 10 years. Each model has an expected lifespan based on its construction, build material and pump power. More expensive pumps tend to have a longer life expectancy but there are many good value pick on the market.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent sump pump failure and extend the life expectancy of your pump like:
- Performing regular sump pump maintenance
- Keeping the sump pit free of debris with regular cleaning
- Preventing rust
- Using the right size pump for your home
- Proper sump pump installation
- Install a backup sump pump
- Type of pump – A pedestal sump pump tends to last longer than a submersible sump pump
Want a pump you can depend on to last for at least 5 years? We recommend the Zoeller M53 Mighty Mate. It is affordable for most homeowners and built with a tough cast iron body that gives it a long lifespan!
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. We always say – the best time to replace your sump pump with a new one is before your current one fails!
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 switch 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 style sump pump 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.
Keep an eye out!
Sometimes a sump pump’s suction pulls small rocks into the intake pipe, which reduces suction and makes your pump work harder than necessary to keep water moving. Keep things clear to make sure your pump and the backup system works as effectively as possible or else it might cause water damage.
If you don’t feel handy, a plumber can also service your submersible pumps 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.
It is always a good idea to test your backup sump pump, sump basin, check valve, and discharge pipe for problems on a regular basis – or else you may end up with a flooded basement.
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 work 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. Power outages can strike at any time during a large storm so it is important part of basement waterproofing to have a backup ready!
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. A battery backup runs 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. It is also important to keep track of how long your sump pump battery will last while the power is out.
Water powered 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.\ of the drainage system.
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 and you are about to experience pump failure are out-of-the-ordinary noises, a switch that doesn’t work, or a pump that is pumping significantly slower than normal and a high water level.
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 and will prevent pump problems and basement flooding.