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How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?

How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?
How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?

Looking for information about how long do sump pumps last? If so, don’t hit that back button because you’ve landed on the right page. We’re going to go over what sump pumps are, how long they last, common problems with them, and more.

What Is A Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a piece of equipment designed to control groundwater around the foundation.

A sump pump takes water collected in a sump pit and ejects it away from the foundation. A sump pump is part of a drain tile system.

How Does A Drain Tile System Work?

Rather than merely putting up a barrier to keep water out, a drain tile system prevents excess moisture from building up in the soil around the foundation. When it comes to foundation waterproofing nothing beats a drain tile system. There are two types of drain tile systems, exterior and interior. Both can be installed in existing foundations.

Exterior Drain Tile System

An exterior drain tile system is installed around the outside perimeter of the foundation at the level of the footing. The general installation procedure for an exterior drain tile system is as follows:

  • First, the soil is excavated down to the footing.
  • The contractor then digs a shallow trench around the outside perimeter of the foundation and lines it with gravel.
  • A perforated drainage pipe is placed into the trench and then covered with more gravel.
  • Finally, the excavated soil is replaced.

Any excess moisture in the soil will now flow into the perforated pipe and toward the sump pit. Once the water in the sump pit reaches a certain level, the sump pump will turn on and expel the water away from the foundation.

Interior Drain Tile System

Excess moisture in the soil will now flow into the drainage pipe and toward the sump pit.

An interior drain tile system is installed around the inside perimeter of the basement or crawl space. Installing an interior drain tile system in a basement means using a jackhammer to tear up the floor.

  • A shallow trench is dug around the inside perimeter of the crawl space or basement and then lined with gravel.
  • A drainage pipe with holes is placed into the trench and covered with more gravel.
  • If you’re planning to finish the basement, the slab will be replaced. Some homeowners opt to leave the gravel drainage ditch open.

As with the exterior drain tile system, excess moisture in the soil flows into the drainage pipe and toward the sump pit. When the pit is full, the sump pump kicks in and ejects the water away from the foundation.

How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?

Excess moisture in the soil now flows into the pipe and toward the sump pit.

With proper maintenance sump pumps should last anywhere from 7-10 years. Of course, this also depends on how often the sump pump turns on and starts working. A sump pump that runs often will wear out before one that’s seldom used. However, a sump pump that’s rarely used will also face a reduced lifespan.

Common Problems With Sump Pumps

Common problems with sump pumps include:

  • The sump pump doesn’t turn on – This might be because there’s dirt or some other material inside the pump. Check to see if the lid fits tightly and ensure the float isn’t being obstructed.
  • The sump pump is running continuously – There may be a problem with the float since this is what causes the pump to stop. The pump might also lack the power to pump the required amount of water.
  • The pump turns on when there’s only a little water in the pit, not enough to eject – There may be a problem with the float. It might be positioned too low.
  • The pump doesn’t start soon enough – This could cause flooding. Check the position of the float. It may be positioned too high.
  • The sump pump is just old – If you’ve had your sump pump from 7-10 years it might be time to get a new one, especially if it has been running frequently during that time period.

Sump Pump Maintenance

It’s a good idea to check your sump pump once or twice a year to make sure things are working correctly.

  • Check to make sure the sump pump is level – The vibration created while the sump pump is running can cause it to start leaning over time. This will affect the intake which means the pump needs to work even harder. Brace the pump to keep it level.
  • Make sure the electrical outlet is functioning properly – GFCI outlets will sometimes trip if exposed to water. Press the reset button to reset the outlet.
  • Test the sump pump – Add enough water to trigger the float and turn on the pump. Is all the water ejected efficiently? If not, there might be a blockage somewhere. Is there any visible debris?
  • Make sure the sump pit is properly covered – This keeps dirt and other debris out.
  • Make sure all the components are rust-free – If you find rust on a component, replace it.

You should also consider a yearly professional inspection and a battery-powered backup sump pump, especially if you live in an area prone to floods.

How Do You Know It’s Time To Buy A New Sump Pump?

It might be time to buy a new sump pump if:

  • It has been 10 years since you bought the sump pump. This doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be replaced. However, it does mean that it’s approaching the end of its lifespan. Put a sticker on the pump with the purchase date so you can easily remember when you bought it.
  • The pump runs continuously without stopping.
  • The sump pump doesn’t turn on at all.
  • The pump turns off and on frequently for no apparent reason.
  • The pump turns on but doesn’t pump water. If the intake isn’t blocked, the pump might need to be replaced.
  • The pump makes odd sounds.
  • The pump clogs all the time.
  • The pump vibrates a lot.
  • The pump is rusty.

If you think there might be a problem with your sump pump and you’re in our service area – Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Kearney, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and parts of Northeastern Kansas, contact us today. We serve areas in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri.


Dave Epp

Dave is the President at Epp Foundation Repair with over 27 years of experience in the industry. Dave has worked on thousands of foundation, basement, concrete, and crawl space repair projects since 1993. Dave is involved in several civic and church organizations and enjoys coaching youth sports, mainly football, golfing, and elk hunting.



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