To many homeowners in our area, the sump pump is an invaluable device. Without it, you may have to worry about flooding in your basement or crawlspace, which leads to major property damage, and the potential for mold and mildew to develop. And that’s something you certainly want to avoid.
You can prevent your sump pump from failing when you need it most by replacing an older sump pump before it breaks. You don’t want to wait for your basement to flood before doing so, but how can you tell it’s time for a replacement?
The Sump Pump Lifespan
Sump pump manufacturers often state that sump pumps have an average lifespan of about 10 years. Of course, this number can vary significantly. In some homes, sump pumps switch on and off throughout the day and night, wearing down the motor faster. In others, the sump pump is rarely used, meaning it may last for much longer.
Still, we recommend replacing a sump pump after about 10-12 years. Being proactive in the replacement of your sump pump means you don’t have to worry about your sump pump quitting work before you get a chance to realize it.
Testing a Sump Pump
We recommend a thorough investigation of the components of your sump pump if you want to be sure it runs smoothly when you really need it.
- Bring a flashlight into your basement or crawlspace, and take a look at all of the components of your sump pump. Look for any cracks in the pump or the encasement. This may mean your sump pump is due for a replacement.
- Check for other signs of a problem such as a float that is not sitting upright, or anything you may be able to reposition yourself.
- Assuming your drains lead outdoors (and not to the sewer lines), you should clear out debris blocking the pipe that drains outdoors, and clear out any debris inside the sump as well.
- A quick check of your sump pump involves simply pouring water into the pit. Fill to the top of the pit, and the motor should activate.
Weighing the Odds
Not sure whether it’s worth it for you to replace your sump pump before it gives out? Some people feel okay with taking their chances. If your home rarely floods and you have an unfinished basement, risking a small flood you’ll have to clean up after may seem more cost-effective if you’d rather keep your pump around until the day it fails.
However, for a finished basement or any basement used for storage, testing the pump often and replacing an older sump pump early is always worth it.
How to Replace Your Older Sump Pump
When you do realize it’s time for a new sump pump, you may want to try to install it on your own. However, we strongly recommend against this. Replacing a sump pump can be a complicated process. And if water cannot drain properly out of the home for any reason, you’re in for a mess.
We recommend calling a plumber to handle this job. Professional plumbers have the tools and training to replace a sump pump quickly so that your basement is protected faster.