Should You Avoid Buying a House with a Sump Pump?

Should You Avoid Buying a House with a Sump Pump?

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When looking for a new home, your focus tends to be on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether it is in the right school district or how close it is to your place of employment. Unless they are from a flood-prone area, most homebuyers think about things like a sump pump, but the truth is it can make a big difference when choosing a new home.

When do you need a sump pump, and what should you know before buying a house with a sump pump?

What is a sump pump?

A sump pump is a device installed in the basement or lowest level of a home. It is usually placed in an area prone to flooding or rapid snowmelt. The sump pump pumps water out of the home through a system of pipes into another area, such as a storm drain. The idea is that the sump pump keeps your home dry and helps avoid potential water damage on the property.

Are sump pumps bad?

In areas prone to flooding, heavy rains, and rapid snowmelt, sump pumps can actually save your home from potential water damage. If you are looking for homes in a flood-prone or high precipitation area, you will find homes with sump pumps. While the addition of these in a home can be very beneficial, there are some things to consider when looking at a home with a sump pump.

Advantages

Having a home with a sump pump can provide many different benefits for your property and your health. Common advantages include:

  • Prevents flooding: there is nothing worse than waking up to a basement full of water. Having a sump pump means that as water comes in, it goes out, reducing the risk of indoor flooding and damage to your home’s foundation.
  • Saves money: Water damage to your home’s foundation can be expensive. So can replacing items in your home that are damaged when the water rises.
  • Keeping your basement dry ensures that your foundation and your belongings are safe.
  • Mold prevention: When water enters your basement, the additional moisture can contribute to mold growth, making you and your family sick.
  • Lower your insurance costs: Your insurance company knows how much it costs to repair flood damage, and if you live in an area prone to flooding, the presence of a functional sump pump can help keep your insurance premiums down.
  • Keeps you and your belongings safe: With many basements being finished and used as fully functional parts of the home, it is likely going to be filled with your belongings and may even have bedrooms. A sump pump works automatically when it senses water, so you don’t have to worry about waking up to your bed floating and all your belongings soaked.

Disadvantages

Although there are benefits to having a sump pump, there are some things to consider as a new buyer. These include:

  • Was the sump pump installed after damage? Oftentimes, homeowners will install a sump pump after a flooding event. So, damage may have already occurred.
  • Sump pumps require regular maintenance. Like most home devices, a sump pump will require regular maintenance to help ensure it operates correctly when you need it to.
  • Regular replacement is necessary. The average sump pump lasts about ten years, so you will need to budget for regular replacement.

Four things you should know before buying a house with a sump pump

When looking at a home with an existing sump pump, you don’t want to go in blind. You should ask the seller some questions and some extra considerations the home inspector should follow to ensure that the sump pump is effective, not hiding previous damage, and does not require immediate replacement.

Here are five things you should consider when looking at a home with an existing sump pump.

Is there water or structural damage?

In many cases, sump pumps are installed after a major flooding event. When looking at a potential new home, you want to make sure that you look for any signs of water damage in the home.

  • Does the basement smell musty?
  • Do you see signs of mold or mildew?
  • Do the walls have flaking or peeling paint?
  • Does the floor seem uneven?

While some of these signs you may notice right away, others require a trained eye. Make sure your home inspector looks for signs of potential water damage that may need addressing. Also, ask the sellers if there is a history of water damage. If requested, they are required to disclose this information.

Does the pump work properly?

Just because you can visibly see a sump pump doesn’t mean it is working correctly. Make sure that you inspect the sump pump to ensure that it is working properly and that there are no leaks. In addition, ask when the current sump pump was installed. Keep in mind these have an average life of only ten years. So, if it’s more than that, you may want to request a replacement before you sign a buyer’s agreement.

Are the sump pump lines buried deep enough?

If the home you are looking for is in an area prone to freezing temperatures, it is essential to make sure the lines from the sump pump are buried deep enough to avoid freezing. If these lines freeze, they can develop cracks and not work efficiently at removing water when it floods.

Is there a backup system?

Unfortunately, heavy rains and flooding are often accompanied by power outages. When the power goes out, so does the sump pump. If there is not a battery-operated backup system, there is a chance that flood damage may have occurred. If not, it may be a good idea to consider adding a backup system if you purchase the home.

Maintaining your sump pump

If you purchase a home with a sump pump, you will need to perform regular maintenance to ensure your pump works when you need it. This maintenance includes keeping the sump pump clean and clear of debris, checking the valve and filter regularly, and testing the system at least once a year.

Understanding a sump pump is essential before purchasing your dream home.

Depending on the area your new home is located, adding a sump pump can be very beneficial. However, before you agree to the sale, you need to understand all the things discussed above.

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