If your home has a basement or crawlspace, your sump pump plays an integral role in saving your property from costly water damages. Most sump pumps have a lifespan of around 10-12 years. Aside from keeping track of the age of your pump, there are several things to consider to determine when to replace it.
Most sump pumps use a centrifugal pump with an impeller to expel the water. Build-ups of debris and hardwater can cause the impeller to become bent or otherwise become damaged. If the impeller is damaged, it will become unbalanced, causing it to bump and vibrate on its shaft. This can in turn cause the entire sump pump to vibrate. If this is the only issue, the impeller can be replaced to solve the problem.
While most sump pumps make some sound when they kick on and off, it’s important to take note if your pump begins making unfamiliar sounds. Rattling and grinding sounds, as well as the above-mentioned increase in vibration, indicate damaged or jammed parts. If this happens, your pump needs immediate attention. What might start as a small repair if caught immediately could result in replacing the entire pump or a malfunctioning pump and water damage in your home if ignored.
Barring an unusually large storm, your sump pump shouldn’t continuously run even while it’s raining. During a rainstorm that is typical for your area, you should hear your pump kick on and off throughout the storm. If your pump is running continuously, it’s a sign that the pump does not have sufficient power to handle its job. If this is the case, a plumber can help you determine an appropriately sized pump that considers your home's size and the typical weather for your area.
Many people are not aware that their sump pump has a "use it or lose it" factor. Limited use of the pump can actually reduce its efficiency. It’s important to test your pump in between heavy rainfalls. The benefit to regular testing is twofold. Regular running supports the mechanisms inside the pump so that they continue to run efficiently. It also allows you to find problems with the pump before it fails and your basement or crawlspace fills with water.
While your pump shouldn’t be running continuously, it also shouldn’t be cycling on and off excessively. If your pump is cycling in a way that doesn’t match the weather outside, it could indicate an issue with the pump, like a short in the electrical system or a wiring malfunction.
Water damage in a home can be extremely costly. Keeping track of the health and age of your sump pump and performing regular maintenance and checks will save you both money and stress.