Should I Install a Sump Pump in My House? Is It Worth the Cost?

(Last Updated On: December 23, 2023)

You’ve probably heard that a sump pump is an essential piece of equipment for a home that has either a basement or a crawlspace. Some experts even believe a sump pump should be a part of every home. When it comes to protecting your home from flooding and other types of water damage, sump pumps are an absolutely necessary piece of plumbing equipment. You might be unsure, however, as to whether or not you need it. That is what we are here to answer. So, should I install a sump pump in my house?

Sump pump installed in a basement. Showing the drainage gravel around the sump basin. Image credit Richard Quick
Sump pump installed in a basement. Showing the drainage gravel around the sump basin. Image credit: Richard Quick


Sump Pumps: What Are They and Why Do You Need One?

A sump pump is a useful investment; however, before you start looking for a plumber, it’s important to gain a basic understanding of what one is. A sump pump is a device that you can install in your basement or crawlspace so that it can remove water from the sump basin. If you own a home or a business, you probably have a sump pump installed to prevent damage from groundwater and sewage backup. If you have standing water near your home’s foundations, a sump pump might be helpful even if your basement seldom floods.

Basement floor with wet concrete visible near the door. A high water table soaking up through the floor is one reason to answer the question "should I install a sump pump?"
Basement floor with wet concrete visible near the door. A high water table soaking up through the floor is one reason to answer the question “Should I install a sump pump?”


What Does a Sump Pump Do?

When water seeps into your basement due to a flood or a DIY plumbing mistake, it will go down into the sump pump through a (drain tile) filter on or under the floor. At that point, the water will be sucked into a filtered trap called a sump basin. Afterward, a discharge pipe will carry the water away from your home’s foundation and out of the basement.


A utility pump  is a stopgap measure for an emergency. You may use it to deal with a basement flooding problem. But you shouldn’t count on a utility pump to permanently remove basement flooding. For a permanent solution to a wet basement, homeowners need a drain tile and sump pump system.


What Makes Water Collect in Your Basement?

Water and moisture issues in basements and crawlspaces are not uncommon. You’ve most likely heard terrible tales about flooding and mold issues. You may have even detected a musty stench in your own basement, which indicates excessive moisture. That being said, what causes water to accumulate in basements? This issue might be caused by a number of things.

Water and moisture may accumulate in basements as a result of the following factors:
• Poor drainage near your home’s foundation as evidenced by plants dying and their roots rotting.
• The improper grading of your pathways and the soil near your building’s foundations.
• Lack of rain gutters, damaged gutters, or gutters that were never adequately placed.
• Bad weather, including snow or rain, may cause a variety of problems.
• Water table problems.
• Issues with the structure’s foundation.
• Dripping household water pipes.

The basement’s water and moisture problems might be related to the age of your property as well. If the house had been built in the 1960s or 1970s, it might not have been built with an adequate drainage system. As a result, water from the soil around the foundation may end up flowing into the basement.


For this reason, if you are moving into a new house and you don’t know how old it is, one of the first things to do when moving to a new home is to inspect all the systems. This way, you’ll know if a sump pump is necessary or not.


The Dangers of Not Having a Sump Pump

Basement moisture is a major problem since it may lead to the growth of unsightly and sometimes dangerous mold and mildew. It can also cause damage to the building’s structure and contents.


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that inhaling mold or mildew may lead to a variety of unpleasant health effects, such as congestion in the nose and throat, coughing, wheezing, itchy eyes and skin, and even lung infections. However, if you keep the area dry, mold and mildew won’t be a problem. That will be the case if you install a sump pump.

Mold growing on a basement wall. Mold can form anywhere in a basement if moisture is allowed to build up there.
Mold growing on a basement wall. Mold can form anywhere in a basement if moisture is allowed to build up there.


Furthermore, in the event of a flood, the damage could be significant. However, if you have a sump pump in place, the damage will be less severe, and thus the cost will be lower.


In fact, some people believe that a sump pump will increase the value of their home because it will make it more secure. This, of course, applies to homes located in flood-prone areas. That being said, while you may not require a sump pump, having a utility pump  on hand for emergencies is always a good idea.


If You Need a Sump Pump, You Probably Already Know It

Consider whether or not a sump pump would be useful. When a sump pump is really necessary, you will know it. There are a few scenarios when having a sump pump is crucial.
As an example, maybe you’re experiencing damp floors or soggy carpet. At one time or another, water may have gotten into your basement and caused flooding.


Unless you have just done some big renovations, this issue will likely still be present. After a flood, for instance, you may need to have the foundation of your home redone. Putting up a sump pump to avoid any more flooding is a sensible precaution to take.


It’s also important to think about where you put your house. When it rains or snows, the water table rises, and it might cause flooding in your basement. In a few specific situations, groundwater may rise above the level of your basement floor. If you happen to reside on a level, poorly drained parcel of land, for instance, this is a real possibility. You may even choose to settle on a plot that is so low that it is below the water table in your area. If the soil in your yard does not drain well, you might even have flooding.


Conclusion

So, should you install a sump pump in your house? Is the house located at the bottom of a hill or at a lower elevation the neighbor’s house? Near a lake, wetlands, creek or river? Then the answer is “Yes”. Also, if you’re living in a region prone to flooding, you probably should.
Replacing everything in the basement due to water damage is much more expensive than installing a sump pump system.


The benefits of installing a sump pump far outweigh the drawbacks. These include the fact that it will reduce your risk of property damage and that it will help protect your home from mold and other contaminants. And needless to say, it will also give you peace of mind.
However, if you live in a warmer climate and you don’t have a lot of rain or snow in your area, you probably won’t need a sump pump.

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