Last Updated on February 19, 2021 by Steffi Nell
A nice house has appeared on your radar and it’s just crying out to be purchased.
However, there’s a ‘but’. It’s got a sump pump in the basement. And now you’re wondering if this could cause problems later down the line.
Whether you’re buying a house with the purpose of flipping it, or you’re just interested in acquiring it for personal use; you always want to limit the risk of not being able to unload the house when the time comes to sell. That’s why you do not only pay close attention to what makes the house look attractive, but you also want to assess any undesirable aspect that comes with ownership of the property.
So, do houses with sump pumps sell? We can answer this main question short and sweet: yes, houses with sump pumps do sell and are in fact sold everyday. But, as you were expecting, there’s a bit more nuance to it.
Although the presence of a sump pump isn’t likely going to be the deciding factor for any buyer, it does raise a couple of important questions to the prospect homeowner, such as:
- What are the monthly electricity costs associated with sump pumps?
- Is the water table in the area unusually high?
- How often does the sump pump need to be replaced and at what price?
These are all important issues that any aspiring buyer would likely be interested in knowing the answers to. So, without further ado, let’s tackle them one by one.
What are the monthly electricity costs associated with sump pumps?
As you know, the cost of electricity varies from area to area and from year to year. So the better question to ask is how many KwH can an average sump pump be expected to use?
The average cost of one KwH in America is roughly 13 cents.
How much KwH a sump pump draws in a month, is dependant on several factors:
- The horsepower of the sump pump
- The frequency and intensity of rainfall (and thus how often the pump runs)
- The water level in the area
While many people think a sump pump with a lot of power is always better, this is not necessarily the case. The more horsepower a sump pump has, the more energy it will draw, thus increasing the monthly electricity bill.
An average sump pump, however, runs at around ½ HP. And depending on the area, it can be expected to run for about 4 hours per day. That means it will require ~1.5 KwH per day to run properly, which at a rate of 13 cents per KwH would translate to 19 cents per day, or $5.9 per month.
So as you can see, under normal circumstances the running costs of a sump pump make no significant dent in a homeowners budget.
But of course there are exceptions. In a swampy area or an area with extreme rainfall, perhaps this sump pump would run 24 hours a day. In that scenario, the same ½ HP sump pump would cost $35.41 per month to operate, and a 1HP pump would land at $70 per month..
So in extreme cases, the sump pump will in fact be a notable monthly expense. Therefore, when buying a property with a sump pump, you should make sure to inquire how often the sump pump runs and assess if it’s really a problem or not depending on the answer.
If you want to make your own calculation, you can use this sump pump running cost calculator on combatwaterdamage.com.
Water table in the area
When the water level underneath the house is high, this means that the sump pump will be triggered more often and thus raise the electricity bill.
But a high water table also has other problems associated with it. It causes issues with dampness and mold growth is more likely to occur. Additionally, problems in the garden may occur.
In the case of a high water table, the presence of a sump pump is definitely not a bad thing, it’s a necessity. A properly functioning sump pump will prevent most of the aforementioned issues and will protect the basement from flooding and discourage mold growth.
Here’s a map of the aquifers in America that you can use to quickly gage if the water table may be an issue in the area where you’re looking to buy a house. Additionally, we advise you to find more detailed local resources about the groundwater level in your area.
Frequency and cost of sump pump replacement
The last factor playing into the cost of owning a house with a sump pump, is the replacement cost of the actual sump pump itself.
While most sump pumps only have a warranty of about two years, most sump pumps easily run for anywhere from 5 up to 10 years before needing to be replaced. While there are cheaper sump pumps on the market, you can expect to spend about 200 dollars for a good sump pump. If that sump pump would perform duty for 5 years, that would only amount to a yearly cost of 40 dollars.
Of course, if you decide to also have a battery backup system or a secondary sump pump for safety, these replacement costs will increase. In that case, you should expect a yearly cost of about 100 dollar, a little less than a tenner per month.
While sump pumps may at first glance appear to make a house less desirable, in practise this is usually nothing but a storm in a glass of water. The monthly electricity bill is not enormously affected by it except for in exceptional cases. Moreover, with an average lifespan of 5 to 10 years the replacement costs are also negligible, amounting to about 10 dollars per month for a really good sump pump system.
That being said, we do advise you to ask about the sump pump when buying a house. How often does it run? Are there any problems in the neighbourhood associated with the water table? Once all that is in order, I think it’s safe to say: enjoy your new house!
Eric Muller is a sump pump expert and is associated with CombatWaterDamage.com. On CWD, they review every sump pump based on numerous variables such as energy efficiency, HP, warranty time, Gallons per Hour and many more metrics. With this data-driven approach, combatwaterdamage.com aims to be the most reliable source of information about sump pumps on the internet.