How Long Do Sump Pumps Last

How Long Do Sump Pumps Last

How Long Will a Sump Pump Usually Last?

Sump pumps are an essential safety measure for areas that are prone to flooding. If water does ever start to seep into your basement or crawl space, the unit will automatically kick on and start pumping it out of your home to ensure water damage and mold growth don’t become an issue. Like any other piece of equipment, a sump pump can only last so long before it stops working as well or fails altogether. This makes it essential that you regularly check to make sure your pump is still working and also know when to replace it before it fails. As such, it’s important that you know how long a sump pump will typically last, which is what we’ll look at today.

Average Lifespan for Different Types of Sump Pumps

When choosing a new sump pump, one thing you’ll need to decide is whether you need a continuous-duty unit or if you can get by with an intermittent-duty pump. Intermittent-duty pumps are less expensive and tend to have a longer lifespan. This is because the units are designed so that they’ll only ever run for a set period of time before needing to shut off and let the motor rest. This can be a potential issue, as the water could rise quickly enough that your basement or crawl space starts to flood in the time that the pump is off.

Continuous-duty pumps, on the other hand, can run continuously 24 hours a day without ever needing to shut off. While this makes them much more reliable, it also means that a continuous-duty pump will sometimes have a shorter lifespan. If your sump pump only occasionally needs to run and usually not for longer times, then both types will typically last for around 10 years. However, in areas that are prone to flooding where the pump needs to run for many hours at a time, then a constant-duty pump may only last five to seven years instead.

Another factor that can affect the lifespan of a sump pump is whether it’s a submersible or pedestal-style unit. Submersible units are usually much more effective, but they also may not last as long since they sit directly in the sump pit and are constantly exposed to water. That being said, the water that surrounds a submersible pump also helps to cool it and prevent the motor from overheating whenever the unit runs for a long time.

Pedestal-style sump pumps are generally only recommended for areas that rarely experience heavy rains or runoff from snow melt. This is because a pedestal pump has no real way to effectively cool down its motor, which could lead to overheating and the motor burning out if the unit runs for more than a few hours at a time.

Why Maintenance Is Essential for Preserving the Life of Your Sump Pump

Many sump pump owners are unaware that these units need quite a bit of regular maintenance to continue working properly. We always recommend testing your sump pump at least once every three to four months to ensure that it still turns on and pumps properly. You can do this by using a hose or buckets of water to fill up the sump basin until it triggers the float and the pump turns on. If you find that the pump doesn’t turn on, you’ll want to have a plumber repair or replace the unit as soon as possible to ensure your home doesn’t flood.

Cleaning a sump pump’s inlet screen is also essential. The screen works to prevent dirt and debris from getting sucked into the unit and damaging or jamming the impeller. If the screen isn’t cleaned occasionally, it will eventually start to get clogged. A clogged inlet screen will limit the effectiveness of the pump and also put a huge amount of extra strain on the unit’s motor since it will have to work harder to suck water in. The only way to prevent this is to remove the unit from the sump basin and use a brush to clean any debris and gunk off of the inlet screen. This should usually be done once or twice a year, but you may want to do it quarterly if your sump pump gets lots of use.

If you have a submersible sump pump, the inlet screen will be located underneath the base of the unit. On pedestal pumps, the screen is at the end of the intake pipe that sticks down into the sump basin.

It’s also a good idea to take your sump pump outside once a year so that you can fully clean and inspect it for any damage. Cleaning a submersible sump pump is essential, as it helps to prevent rust and corrosion from forming. This is usually something you can easily do on your own, but you may still want to hire a professional plumber since they’ll know what to look for. They can also then handle any repairs or replace the pump if it has any issues.

How to Know If You Need to Replace Your Sump Pump

The most obvious sign that you need to have your sump pump replaced is if it fails to turn on when the basin is full of water, but there are also other ways you can know when it’s time to have the unit replaced. Age is an obvious factor since sump pumps always have a limited lifespan. If possible, you should make a note of when your new pump was installed so that you can be sure to replace it within 10 years. While a pump could potentially last for longer than this, the chances of the unit failing greatly increase the older it gets. After 10 years or so, it’s only a matter of time before the unit dies, so it’s really not worth taking this risk.

Another sign that it’s time to replace your sump pump is if it starts struggling to pump as much water as before and needs to run much longer whenever the sump basin fills up. The first thing to check in this situation is that the inlet screen isn’t clogged. If the screen isn’t clogged and the pump is still struggling to keep up, it usually indicates that the motor is starting to wear out and the unit will soon need to be replaced.

Unusually loud noises when the pump is running also typically indicate that the motor is wearing out or has some issue that is causing it to work much harder. This issue is always easiest to spot with a pedestal sump pump since the motor isn’t submerged, so the unit will always make more noise.

Submersible pumps are much quieter since the water helps to muffle the sounds of the motor. As a result, you may not notice that the pump is louder than usual until the basin is mostly empty and the pump is about to shut off. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to test your pump regularly so that you know how it normally sounds and can more easily detect when it isn’t working correctly.

Sacramento’s Sump Pump and Plumbing Professionals

If your sump pump isn’t working as it should or has reached the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced, the team at Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air is here to help. We specialize in sump pump installation and maintenance. We also install and service water heaters, water filtration systems, water softeners, and all other plumbing fixtures and appliances. Our team can assist with leak detection, drain cleaning, and any of your water, sewer or gas line needs. We even have a team of certified HVAC technicians who can keep your home’s heating and cooling systems running perfectly. If you have any questions about sump pumps or need any plumbing or HVAC service in the Sacramento area, give us a call today.

How Long Can A Sump Pump Run Continuously

How Long Can A Sump Pump Run Continuously

How Long Can a Sump Pump Run Continuously?

Sump pumps are a crucial part of many home plumbing systems, serving to protect houses from water damage caused by excess water buildup. They’re typically installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace and designed to pump water away from a home’s foundation and into a nearby storm drain or dry well. The use of a sum pump helps prevent water from seeping into basements and crawlspaces, causing damage to walls, floors, furniture, and other personal items stored in these areas. Sump pumps are particularly important in houses located in areas with high water tables or prone to heavy rains, as they help prevent water damage and mold growth. With proper installation and maintenance, sump pumps can provide safe, reliable protection for homes for many years.

What’s a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a device used to remove water that has accumulated in a sump basin that’s typically located on the lowest floor of a residence. The pump is designed to prevent water damage by removing water before it reaches critical levels and causes flooding and other types of water damage to a house.

How Do Sump Pumps Work?

Sump pumps work by using an electric motor to power an impeller or rotating device, which then moves water out of the sump basin and away from the building. The water is usually pumped into a drain or outside and away from the foundation of the home or building. When water levels in the sump basin rise, it activates a switch, which then turns on the pump. The pump continues to operate until the water has been reduced to what’s considered a safe level. After the pump has run for a period of time, it will automatically shut off when the water level in the sump basin drops below a certain level. The cycle then repeats as needed to keep lower levels of a home or basement dry and free from water damage.

Why Is My Sump Pump Running Continuously?

Unless your pump is installed in an area that’s well below the water table, your device shouldn’t be running continuously. In situations where there’s flooding or excess water threatening your home, your pump can work continuously for up to 22 hours without showing signs of breakdown or fatigue. Standard household models are designed to work for six hours, showing signs of wear and tear with excess water volume. Many homeowners have questions about whether a septic system can run continuously. We’ll take a look at different situations that you may find yourself in to protect your sump pump and your house from damage.

After Heavy Rains

Excess water after a heavy rainfall requires that your sump pump put in some overtime to keep your home safe and dry. You can expect to hear the familiar drone of your pump longer than usual to compensate for the extra moisture seeping toward your foundation. Your sump pump could cycle on and off continuously for a few days to extract all the excess water from the foundation and allow the area to dry out. If your pump keeps running after rains have subsided, however, you may have another issue to deal with.


During winter, your property may stay saturated with extra moisture for months. High water tables and saturated soil means that moisture is regularly making its way toward your foundation. It’s normal for your sump pump to run several times a day in these situations. As spring approaches, it’s not uncommon for a high-end pump to be working nearly 22 hours a day to drain water away from your house. If your pump seems to be running continuously in the winter, you could have a frozen discharge line, causing the pump to extract and remove water even when volume isn’t excessive. Heat tape on the discharge line should be adequate for thawing out components and restoring proper function again.

Normal Conditions

Regardless of weather or soil conditions, your sump pump should never be consistently pumping for days on end. Your pump has a float switch; this acts as an automatic water meter to let your device know when to start removing water from the sump well. Unless you experience torrential rains or flooding into your basement, your pump shouldn’t be constantly activating this switch.

Can a Sump Run While Dry?

The majority of pumps will not function dry for very long. They’ll likely break due to overheating or damage to other areas of the pump. If your pump is running during dry seasons, then something is amiss.

Why Do Pumps Run Continuously?

Your sump pump shouldn’t be running continuously. It’s not uncommon for it to cycle back to back if there’s a large volume of water to deal with. However, if your pump fails to turn off, then there’s likely a mechanical issue due to one of the following scenarios:

  • Float switch malfunctions
  • Overloading of mechanical components
  • Power fluctuations that cause your unit to run continuously
  • Clogged discharge pipes
  • Wiring issues
  • Pump damage or defects

How Long Is Too Long?

If your pump is running dry or pumping continuously for over 22 hours, you’re at risk for sump pump failure. Constant running for more than a day at lower than normal water levels can cause switch issues, engine braking, or overheating. Pumps that work overtime or at higher volumes are expected to break down sooner than expected. Standard pumps with proper maintenance and repair can last from 12-15 years. Failure to maintain and repair your sump on a regular basis could shorten your pump’s lifespan by as much as three to four years.

High-end, commercial pumps are made for pumping large volumes of water for longer periods of time. While it’s uncommon to see a pump like this installed in a residential home, these efficient machines can last for up to 20 years with proper maintenance and care. Even with the added assurance of better quality, your pump shouldn’t have difficulty keeping up with volume and showing signs of continuous cycling.

Simple Care and Maintenance Steps for Your Pump

To ensure that you make the most of your sump pump and its lifespan, take these steps for proper care and maintenance.

Clean Your Pump

Have your pump cleaned and inspected regularly to remove debris and sediment that may clog pump components as well as to prevent clogging and damage to your unit.

Test Your Pump

Have your pump tested and evaluated regularly to ensure that it’s functioning properly. Pour one to two gallons of water into your sump pit to ensure that it turns on and reduces water levels in the pit.

Get It Professionally Inspected

Have a sump pump professional regularly inspect and service your pump annually to ensure that it’s in good condition and working as intended. Scheduling this inspection prior to spring will give you peace of mind that you’er ready for the spring thaw and additional rain.

We’ve Got Your Sump Pump Covered!

Crystal Blue Plumbing and Heating has been proudly serving valued clients of Sacramento and the surrounding areas since 1976. We go above and beyond to meet customer needs with services such as HVAC heating, cooling, installation, plumbing repair, drain and sewer services, repiping, water heater service, and sump pump service and repair. Don’t let the spring rains sneak up on you and cause damage to your home! Contact Crystal Blu Plumbing and Heating today to schedule your sump pump inspection.