Homes with basements in areas that experience heavy rains typically feature a sump pump. When too much water collects in the sump pit under the basement, the sump pump helps divert the water away from the home through a drainage system. This prevents costly water damage for homeowners.
If you’ve had flooding in your basement, you may need to install a sump pump or maintain or replace your existing one. Here’s what you need to know about the types of sump pumps, their cost, and whether they’re covered under your homeowners insurance.
What does a sump pump do?
Your sump pump removes excess water from beneath the foundation of your house to prevent basement flooding. When too much water collects underneath a basement with a sump pump, a float sensor automatically turns on the sump pump. The motor inside then pushes water out of the sump pit through a discharge pipe. Finally, the check valve ensures the water flows out and is deposited away from the home.
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Types of sump pumps
A few different types of sump pumps can be installed under a home. Each has different advantages and drawbacks, and they all require regular maintenance.
Submersible sump pump
Submersible sump pumps are designed to be installed at the bottom of the sump and can be submerged in water. Submersible sump pumps are thought to be more stable and run quieter than pedestal sump pumps. They can also remove more water and even pump out particles or solids. However, they also typically cost more than a pedestal pump and are more difficult to replace.
Pedestal sump pump
The motor on a pedestal pump is not supposed to get wet, so it sits on top of the pedestal while the pump sits at the bottom. Since a pedestal sump pump can’t remove solids, a hose accompanies the pump, which is designed to suck up particles from the bottom of the pit to prevent clogging. Pedestal pumps are cheaper and last up to five times longer than submersible pumps, but they’re louder and not as powerful.
Think of a battery-operated backup sump pump as your safety net. When a storm knocks out the power or your traditional sump pump stops working, the battery-operated backup is there. Your battery-operated backup can also help when your regular sump pump has insufficient capacity to handle severe flooding.
These pumps run on a 12-volt motor that gets power from a trickle charger. They have their own check valves and feature a discharge pipe that connects to the primary pump’s discharge pipe.
If the primary sump pump fails and the water level in the sump pit rises above the float switch, a water-powered backup sump pump can automatically activate to prevent the basement from flooding. Instead of using battery power, water-powered systems use water pressure to pump water away from the home. They’re reliable and low maintenance, but they pump slower than battery-operated models and they require high water pressure to operate properly.
Do you need a sump pump?
If you have problems with dampness or flooding in your basement or crawl space — or you live in an area that experiences heavy rain — you’ll probably need a sump pump. The average cost for water damage restoration is $3,319, according to HomeAdvisor. That’s much more money than the cost of an average sump pump installation. But if you don’t have a basement or crawl space, you likely don’t need a sump pump.
Does homeowners insurance cover sump pumps?
Homeowners insurance policies commonly don’t cover sump pumps. Standard homeowners policies cover water damage from rain or snow getting in through your roof or burst pipes, but not a flooded basement due to sump pump failure.
However, you can typically add a water backup endorsement or purchase a separate flood insurance policy to cover sump pump failure. If you have a sump pump, be sure to discuss your options with your homeowners insurance provider.
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How much does a sump pump cost?
On average, you can expect to pay $1,200 to $1,300 to install a sump pump. The sump pump alone costs between $60 and $400, depending on the type, and installation runs between $45 and $200 per hour. But several individual factors affect the cost of installing a new sump pump.
Type of sump pump
Pedestal pumps typically range from $60 to $170, while submersible models can cost up to $400. The size and quality of the sump pump you choose will affect how much you pay. And if you install a water-powered or battery-backup sump pump, that’ll be an extra expense, as will a sump pump alarm.
Type of basement floor
If you’re installing a sump pump for the first time and you don’t yet have a sump basin under your basement, adding one can cost thousands of dollars — especially if your home’s foundation is concrete. The accessibility of the sump pump installation location will also affect your labor costs.
Contractors and plumbers charge higher hourly rates for their services in some areas than others. Permit fees will also vary depending on where you live.
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