If your sump pump is older than 10 years old…the answer is NOW. If you notice your sump pump is not kicking on when the water level rises…the answer is NOW.
What is a Sump Pump
A sump pump is a pump installed underneath the floor in the basement of a home and it collects groundwater. Groundwater can easily rise through the cracks in the foundation of a home during long periods of rain. The sump pump will collect this water and redirect it away from the house.
The Best Time to Replace a Sump Pump
The best time to replace a broken sump pump is before the next big storm. If your pump is older than 10 years, or it is not turning on during a heavy rain..check it and replace the sump pump before your basement floods.
The Spring and Summer seasons this year has brought a lot of rain to our region. Our landscape and grass looks greener and more lush than in prior years but all that greenery could mean problems inside our home.
Heavy and frequent rain can cause the sump pump to work overtime and possibly burn out. Checking the pump often during storms to ensure it is working properly can avoid costly repairs.
I’m fairly certain our sump pump is original to the home and over 10 years old. We have been lucky to not have had any water damage in our basement…YET. It appears the sump pump is still working but I’m not willing to risk a possible failure any longer. I think it’s time to change out the old pump for a new one.
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What Type of Sump Pump Should You Buy?
It is recommended to replace an existing sump pump with a similar model. We have a submersible pump. This type of pump sits down in a hole cut into the floor of our basement and is part of an interior French drain system. When water around it rises to a set level, the pump turns on, flushing water out through piping that runs outside and away from the house.
Another type of sump pump is a pedestal pump. This type puts the motor on a stand a couple feet above the water, and only the impeller (the part that pushes the water) is down in the pit. The thinking is that since the motor stays relatively dry, a pedestal pump should last longer. However, quality submersible pumps are made of cast iron and typically outlast pedestal pumps which are generally plastic. It appears that our pump was made of cast iron and lasted well over 10 years.
Cost of a New Sump Pump
The standard sump pump is 1/3-horsepower, and averages $100 – $200. It is powerful enough to remove 1,800 to 2,200 gallons an hour and is suitable for most homes.
If you’re in a flood zone, or your machine will have to pump water up 10 feet or more of vertical pipe to get it outside, you should consider a 1/2 horsepower. This pump removes 3,000 gallons an hour and will run $150 to $350.
If you think you may need more horse power than that…a turbo 3/4 horsepower can remove 5,000 gallons an hour and will run $175 to $350.
Do You Need a Battery Back-up Sump Pump?
A storm that causes a black out and knocks out power means the sump pump will not work unless you have a backup system. If you are considering this type, you have two main options.
A battery backup is a rechargeable battery pack that keeps your sump pump running in the event of a blackout. Some newer model sump pumps come pre-packaged with a built-in battery backup system.
A second sump pump that’s battery-powered is a common option. It’s nearly as powerful as a main pump, and has a couple of advantages over a battery pack. It kicks on not only during power outages, but also if the primary pump breaks down or needs help with an extreme flood.
Both types of battery backup options switch on automatically when the power goes out, and they’ll give you about 10 hours of pump time. They run between $500 and $1,000.
Another option to consider is a water-powered backup. This type eliminates both the battery and the second motor. It gets its power from your water main. Plumbed to a water line in the basement, it uses the pressure in that pipe to create a vacuum that sucks water from the pit.
The advantage of a water-powered backup system is that there’s no battery to run out of juice or to eventually need replacement, it’s just a simple mechanical valve.
The disadvantages are that water-powered pumps move less water, about 1,000 to 1,500 gallons per hour and they discharge not only the floodwater, but tap water too. And they’re not an option if you have well water, since that means there’s no water pressure during blackouts.
What Type of Sump Pump Did We Choose?
Our existing sump pump appears to be a 1/2 horse power and must be able to pump water upward, so we are replacing with a similar model. We also chose a sump pump with a battery back up system HERE, HERE and HERE. Since we have well water, a water powered pump was not an option.
Our handyman installed the pump for us. Since we chose a battery backup, we needed an additional outlet installed to plug the backup system into. The added comfort of knowing we are no longer at risk for flooding due to a sump pump failure, feels great. Due to the age of the sump pump, I feel like we caught this just in the knick of time. Bring on those nasty thunderstorms…we are prepared!!!
Do you have a sump pump, have you recently checked it?
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8 thoughts on “How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Sump Pump”
Wow! Hadn’t thought of this! Thank you; thank you!!
I know too many people with flooded basements due to sump pump failures..then costs thousands to fix. Hope yours to working well Lynn!!!
A very informative blog on a subject no one thinks about until it is too late. My mother had a flood in her basement a few years ago as her 17year old sump pump, (the same age as the house) failed – I did not even know it needed replacing every few years! Luckily the insurance covered it, but it was a noisy week of listening to five big fans drying out the basement baseboards, and the trouble of having to pick new carpeting, and pay the deductible. I check it frequently now – lesson learned. It seems to have been a summer of lots of rain all over.
17 years, that’s impressive for a sump pump. But you are absolutely right, we don’t think about it until the basement floods. I have many friends who have gone through this too, wanted to bring awareness in hopes of saving someone else the agony. So glad to hear yours was covered by insurance, that helps a lot! Thank you for dropping in sweet friend.
I always enjoy your blogs…..your lovely decorating always reminds me I should be renovating my house instead of procrastinating!
Thank you so much! I appreciate the sweet words. Updating and renovating our homes is an ongoing process, it’s a job that will never be completely done, but I enjoy it. If you start slowly, you may find that you enjoy it too 😉
I have not enjoyed any of it so far (although I like the end result) and I have been working on this old house for the past 8 years, tackling a couple of projects a year.
I have finished all the basic outside stuff (new roof/decks/driveway/all new windows and doors/french doors to the deck/removing 12 dead ash trees/landscaping etc. The only thing I have done inside is the floors, new air-conditioning and the basement (because it flooded from a broken hot water heater). So the fun stuff – kitchen, bathrooms, staircase, painting and new window treatments is coming up. The kitchen is the next project – but I think I am procrastinating as it is such a big job, although I do know what I want. The hardest part for me is choosing who to hire, as I have made a few bad choices in the past…..I should blog about them someday, as they are funny in retrospect but not at the time!
WOW! You have been busy, sounds like you have accomplished a lot. Knowing what you want is a huge piece of the puzzle. I have been burned too in the past with a kitchen contractor, and it definitely stinks! Find out as much as you can about the contractor and don’t give a big deposit! That was my mistake and we paid dearly. But for the most part we have had very good experiences with contractors, and when we find someone we like, we stay with them. Good Luck!! I hope it works out for you!