How Much Does Sump Pump Repair Cost?
Your home’s sump pump plays a critical role in protecting your home from the elements. Without a functioning sump pump, your home would flood during storms and face issues like basement flooding and damage the foundation. The hard work of keeping your home dry can eventually take a toll on the pump, resulting in breakdowns and repairs.
When your sump pump has a problem, how much does it cost to repair it? Before we jump into how much it costs to repair a sump pump, let’s look at a few common problems and signs that your sump needs to be repaired.
Common Sump Pump Problems
When your sump pump runs into trouble, there’s a good chance it’s caused by one of a few common problems. The exact nature of the issue will determine how expensive the repairs are. A worn-out motor is the most common sump pump problem. However, electrical problems and wiring issues are also common in sump pumps. Let’s take a look at the most common problems and how much it cost to fix them.
Signs Your Pump Needs Repairs
Before you have to pay for a professional sump pump repair service, there’s a good chance your unit will give you some warning signs that something isn’t right. While some of these symptoms will be obvious, others may remain under the radar until your annual maintenance appointment.
What are the signs that your sump needs repairs? Take a look at the list of red flags below. If you notice any of them in your own home, call a sump pump expert ASAP. A knowledgeable technician can inspect the unit, diagnose the issue, and make the necessary repairs.
It’s important not to attempt fixing the problem on your own if you don’t have prior DIY repair experience with sump pumps. The combination of water and electrical equipment found in a sump pump can be extremely dangerous for novices and newcomers.
1. It’s beginning to rust
Sump pumps are constantly exposed to water, which can lead to components rusting. This is especially common with older pumps since many newer units are built using rust-proof materials. If there’s only a small amount of rust, you may be able to simply scrub it away. However, extensive rust can eat through components and cause structural weakness to key components. In this case, you should schedule a professional repair service.
2. It’s making strange sounds
Your sump pump should be relatively quiet. If you have a pedestal model, it will naturally be a little louder than submersed units, but it should still be mostly silent. In either case, you’ll probably notice if your unit starts making noises that it’s never made before. Humming could mean you have a jammed impeller or a clog in the airlock. Loud clanging or banging, especially in an older model, could mean it’s time for major repairs or a full replacement.
3. It’s totally dead
A non-functional unit is a major problem. Unfortunately, you’re most likely to notice this after a heavy rainfall, which is also when you’re most likely to see flooding and damage. This is a critical situation that requires professional repairs ASAP. Locked-up or burnt-out components may be to blame, or the sump pump may have reached the end of its lifespan.
4. It’s getting stuck or jammed
Jams are common and are typically inexpensive to repair. In fact, you may be able to fix minor clogs like those caused by collected debris all on your own. An overly dry water pit can also cause the unit to get stuck. If your area is experiencing a dry spell or drought, you can dump some water into the pit to keep it from locking up. But if you’re experiencing a drought and notice a bad odor, that’s a sign you need a professional to come out to clean and test your unit.
5. The wiring is failing
Sump pumps are powered by electricity, and oftentimes their wiring fails and needs to be fixed or replaced. Chances are your sub pump is wired into your home’s electrical system, so the pump is also susceptible to shutting down if your power fails. Not only can this lead to a flooded basement, but it can also put an undue strain on the sump pump when it finally kicks back on. Plumbers refer to this as the pump being “overwhelmed.”
The pressure of handling a backed-up amount of water can be so great that it damages the pump. To avoid these issues, many homeowners invest in a backup generator or battery to keep the pump going. A sump pump battery costs around $150 and is cheaper than repairing a burned-out unit.
6. It’s running constantly
It’s natural for your sump pump to run more frequently when it’s raining, but it shouldn’t need to run 24/7. Usually, this occurs when the pump is struggling to keep up with the amount of water. The cost of repairs depends on how much damage has been done to the motor and how you would like to address the issue in the future.
The problem could be as simple as getting a new float switch. Float switch repair costs between $35-$75 in addition to the cost of labor. If the motor burns out, you’ll have to get a new one. Having a new motor professionally installed will cost between $60-$200. To prevent the same thing from happening in the future, you may want to add a second pump. The cost of installing a second pump ranges from $100-$500 depending on the style and how extensively the plumber needs to dig.
7. It’s reached the end of its lifespan
Sump pumps don’t last forever and will eventually need to be replaced. The average lifespan for a sump pump is between 7-10 years. As your home’s pump ages, repairs will likely become more frequent and more expensive. There may come a point where it makes more financial sense to simply replace the system instead of constantly repairing it.
Average Cost to Repair A Sump Pump
Now that we’ve discussed the most common sump pump problems you’re likely to run into, let’s discuss the cost of getting those issues fixed. According to the experts, the average cost of repairing a sump pump is $450, but the price can run anywhere from $100-$1,1100. That’s a huge range! We’ll break down the different factors that influence the cost of repairs so you can get a better understanding of what you can expect to pay.
A big part of this variation is due to the fact that handymen charge per hour and their individual rates can vary drastically. Plumbers’ hourly rates for this type of work range from $45-$65/hour. The simpler your unit is and the less invasive the repairs, the lower the cost will come out to.
The biggest factor for repair cost is the type of sump pump you have. There are two main types: a pedestal sump and a submersible sump pump. Let’s take a look at the difference and how it influences repair costs:
Pedestal-style Sump Pump: $100-$500
Pedestal pumps are the simpler of the two styles in terms of design, which means they’re also cheaper to repair and replace. Repairs are easier to perform because the pump motor sits on a stand above the water. In fact, homeowners may be able to perform minor repairs and maintenance on their own. However, we still recommend having a professional do an annual inspection of the unit to detect any trouble that’s brewing before it becomes a full-blown problem.
Submersible-style Sump Pump : $200-$1,100
Repairing a submersible unit is more detail-oriented and expensive than fixing a pedestal pump. This is due to the fact that a submersible pump, like the name implies, is submerged below the water. To keep the pump safe from water damage, it’s enclosed in a tough, waterproof case. It functions by drawing water up from below and dispersing it through the pipes. Be prepared to call out a professional repairman for even minor issues, since fixing the pump yourself could be dangerous.
The nature of the issue and the extent of the damage will ultimately determine the price of repairs. An issue with the interior drainage system, the wastewater pipe, or the electrical system will raise the price of repairs.
Average Cost to Replace a Sump Pump
The most extreme form of repair is sump pump replacement. This is your best option if your sump pump is old or if the cost of repairs is over half the price of a new sump pump. The cost of replacing an existing sump pump is much cheaper than installing a pump for the first time. Professional replacement will cost between $400 and $1,1000. Of course, the price you end up paying will vary based on what kind of unit you have and the cost of labor in your area.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Sump Pump Repairs?
There are a few important factors to take into consideration when determining how much repairs will run. Extensive rust and old-age are two factors that seriously drive up the cost of repairing a pump. That’s because these two conditions are indicative of extensive--and sometimes irreversible--damage. Whether you choose to repair the pump you have or invest in a replacement pump, you should be prepared to shell out a significant amount of cash.
Type of unit: The type of unit you have significant affects the cost of repairs. An above-ground unit called a pedestal pump is cheaper to repair since the components are situated above the waterline. Another popular kind of unit, called a submersible unit, is much more costly to repair since the machinery is submerged below the water.
Age of unit: You should also factor in the age of your unit. Pedestal-style pumps usually last around 10 years while their submersible-counterparts have a shorter lifespan of roughly 7 years.
Older units are harder and more costly to repair because they’re reaching the end of their service life and are becoming less and less reliable as they age. You may find yourself in an uphill battle where you’re replacing one part only for another to fail a short time later.
Be sure to compare the price of repairs against the cost of a new unit. If the repairs are slated to cost more than ⅓ of the value of a brand new unit, then you may want to opt for a replacement.
Regional price differences: Your location also impacts how much you pay to have your sump pump fixed. Everything from the regional cost of living to local labor rates and regional insurance requirements will factor into the final cost of service. Cost of labor is typically cheaper in rural areas than in cities. The price of permits also varies widely between municipalities. A repair job that costs $300 in a city may cost only $250 in a small town or rural community.
Pump Location: The pump’s location in your home can influence the cost of repairs, depending on how it affects accessibility and ease of repairs. Pumps should be located at the lowest point of your house. This is typically the basement, but in homes with no basement, it may be a cellar or crawlspace. If the pump is difficult to reach or surrounded by dense plumbing, the repairs will be harder to carry out and therefore more expensive.
Pro or DIY Repairs: A major factor in the overall cost of repairing a sump pump is the price of labor. If you’re feeling handy and want to give DIY repairs a try, then you only need to pay for the price of parts. Hiring a professional plumbing company is going to be a lot pricier since you’ll also need to pay the hourly labor costs of a skilled, licensed pro.
Your decision shouldn’t only be about dollars, though. Attempting to repair a sump pump with no prior skills or knowledge of how they can be dangerous due to the risk of electrocution. Not to mention, doing shoddy repair work can damage the pump further, resulting in pricier repairs. To have the job done correctly the first time, skip the DIY and call up the professionals.
Pump Material: Both styles of the sump pump are available in either plastic or metal constructions. Plastic pumps are a popular choice because they’re cheaper, lighter, and better at moving coarse liquids like water containing heavy silt. However, they’re not as adept at handling high pressure, so they’re not the right fit for everyone.
Metal pumps are tougher and last longer but cost twice as much as plastic. https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/your-sump-pump-ready-spring will run $150-$300 while patching-up a plastic pump will only set up back $75-$200.
Type of Floor: While the type of floor in your home seems unrelated to your sump pump, it can actually impact how much it costs to repair the pump. Most basements have floors of gravel, dirt, or cement. Dirt and gravel floors are much easier to work with if the repair technician needs to dig around to fix the problem. Cement floors, on the other hand, need to be drilled or chiseled through, which means a lot more labor. Repair work performed in a cement-floored basement can cost up to $1,000, while installation work for a second pump can rise as high as $5,000 for the new unit.
While there are certain cost-related factors you can’t change, one thing you do have control over is who you hire to carry out your pump repairs. Many plumbing companies and handymen offer free estimates for their work, but others will charge you for that time. You can save some cash by working with companies that offer free estimates. Be sure to get offers from two or three reputable local contractors so you can get the best deal for the pump repair job.
What You Need to Know About DIY Pump Repairs
Don’t whip out your tool kit just yet! Before you decide to cut down on pump repair costs by doing them yourself, there are a few important considerations to make. If you don’t already know your way around a sump pump, you should seriously consider calling a professional for service.
While it’s technically possible for a homeowner to do minor repairs to the pump, keep in mind that sump pumps are electrically-powered devices covered in water. This is a recipe for electrocution. The risk of shock is much higher with submersible units.
Homeowners should never attempt DIY repairs on submersible units. Instead, they should call a service professional who is experienced with working safely with electrical and plumbing equipment.
How much does preventative sump pump maintenance cost?
An often-overlooked factor that impacts the cost and frequency of pump repairs is maintenance. Professional maintenance once a year can extend your pump’s lifespan and reliability. It also makes it possible to catch and repair minor issues before they worsen and damage other parts of the unit.
Minor repairs like those uncovered during maintenance appointments will help ensure that your pump reaches its full lifespan. Yearly maintenance typically runs between $150-$250, depending on the style of your pump. Avoiding off a costly, unexpected replacement is well worth the price.
There are even a couple of easy maintenance steps homeowners can do themselves to make sure their pumps are ready for rainy weather.
There are a few other factors that influence the cost of pump repair services. Here are a few other things you should factor into the cost:
Insurance: Some insurance policies cover sump pump failure and repairs. It’s not something that’s typically included by default, so you’ll most likely have to request your insurance company to add it to your coverage. If your insurance company doesn’t cover it, you can purchase it separately from the National Flood Insurance Program. Insurance coverage will defray the costs of pump repairs and replacements, so you have to pay less out-of-pocket.
Filters: Filters can help prevent damage to your sump pump and reduce the frequency and costs of repairs. The sediment and other detritus your pump sucks up can cause clogs and wear out components that will need to be fixed. Filters are a low-cost investment at $15-$25 per unit.
Maintenance: If you live in a part of the country where winter weather drops below freezing, you should do a bit of extra preventative maintenance to make sure your sump pump survives the cold weather. Many sump pumps contain a hose that diverts water away from the pit. During extreme cold, water sitting inside the hose can freeze and form a plug. When additional water tries to drain through the hose, it backs up and floods your basement. This not only damages your sump pump, which will require professional repairs but can wreak havoc on your house as well. A new sump pump hose will run between $15-$60 depending on its length and quality.
Reserve Pumps: Reserve pumps are common in areas that are flood-prone and receive heavy rainfall. The reserve pump is a backup up that kicks in when your main pump is overwhelmed by the amount of water it's trying to move. While a reserve pump can be a lifesaver (literally) if a flood takes place, it also means a bit of extra maintenance and repair. Backup sump pump installation costs between $1,000 to $4,500.
Unit costs are pricey, but remodeling-savvy homeowners can cut down on the cost of labor by doing a DIY install. This Old House has an excellent instructional video that will teach how to install a battery-operated backup sump pump.
Final Thoughts on Repair Costs
Your home’s sump pump is its first line of defense against rainwater and floods. That’s why it’s essential to keep your sump pump in good shape and to have professional repairs done when necessary. Although the cost of repairs can be a little pricey, they’re certainly cheaper than remodeling a flooded basement.
In this article, we looked at the average price of repair service as well as the many factors that influence what you’ll end up paying to have your pump fixed. From the type of repairs to the kind of pump you own and even your geographic location, the final cost is a combination of many factors. Luckily, by knowing a few key pieces of information about your sump pump and your home, you can get an idea of how much your sump repairs cost.