How Long Does a Sump Pump Last? A Michigan Plumber Answers

The average lifespan of a sump pump is about 10 - 15 years.

However, the exact life expectancy of your particular sump pump depends on a few key factors, such as:

  • The amount of times the sump pump turns on/off
  • Proper sizing
  • Performing regular maintenance

In this blog, we’ll look at each of these factors more in-depth and how they can affect the lifespan of your sump pump.

Think your sump pump is nearing the end of its life? Just contact our team and we’ll send a professional over to inspect it. If it needs to be replaced, we’ll give you an on-the-spot estimate for a sump pump replacement. Otherwise, we’ll try to repair your sump pump and ensure it lasts as long as possible. Learn more about the sump pump repair/replacement services we offer and what to expect when you hire us.

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Lifespan factor #1: How many times the sump pump turns on/off

If your sump pump is “rapid cycling”, i.e. turning on and off again quickly, your sump pump could see a much shorter lifespan than 10-15 years—especially if this problem isn’t resolved.

For most motors, starting up causes a lot more strain than running normally. So a motor that is constantly starting up, shutting off, starting up—over and over—is going to wear out much faster than it’s supposed to.

Issues that can cause a sump pump to “rapid cycle” include:

  • Incorrect float switch settings
  • Faulty float switch
  • A faulty check valve on the discharge pipe
  • Incorrect sump pump and/or basin sizing

Think your sump pump is rapid cycling? Have a plumber come out to diagnose the problem and correct it.

Lifespan factor #2: Proper sizing

A sump pump that is undersized for the job may not be able to effectively pump out the water, causing the unit to run longer and work harder. This puts a strain on the sump pump and can reduce its lifespan.

The “size” of the sump pump you need for your home is measured by horsepower and how many gallons of water it can pump out of the sump pit per hour (GPH).

At a minimum, you’ll need a 1/3 horsepower sump pump capable of pumping about 2,000 gallons of water per hour to effectively prevent potential flooding. This is typically the standard size for most homeowners.

However, if your home is built on a high water table or you live in an area with frequent heavy rain, you’ll need more power. In this case, it’s recommended that you go with a 1/2 horsepower sump pump, which can pump around 3,000 gallons of water per hour.

Signs your sump pump is undersized:

  • The sump pump is running non-stop
  • The water is quickly reaching a high level in the basin

Keep in mind that if you notice the signs above, it’s possible that the sump pump itself is sized appropriately but the basin is not. If you notice the signs above, it’s best to let a professional inspect your sump pump system to diagnose the issue.

Lifespan factor #3: Maintenance

Depriving your sump pump of the much-needed maintenance it requires will only shorten its life significantly. Having a professional perform annual maintenance will help to prolong the lifespan of your sump pump and offer you peace of mind that the job is being done properly.

Some of the steps a professional will take to properly maintain your sump pump include:

  • Inspecting the sump pit (basin):
  • Testing the check valve:
  • Checking the backup power source:
  • Testing the alarm:
  • Inspecting the cover:
  • Checking the discharge location:

Thoroughly checking/testing each of these components can extend the lifespan of your sump pump and ensure that your unit is operating at peak efficiency.

Think your sump pump might be on its way out? Ask the best plumbers in Michigan!

Schedule an appointment

If your sump pump is on its last leg, don’t wait for it to die and leave you completely vulnerable to potential flooding. Get it taken care of now by calling the team at Thornton & Grooms.

We’ll promptly send over one of our most knowledgeable and trusted plumbers to inspect your sump pump and offer advice on whether you should have it repaired or replaced. Unwanted sales gimmicks and slippery pricing tactics not included.

Visit our sump pump repairs and replacement page for more details on what you can expect when you hire us to do the job.