How Long Does a Submersible Pump Last

How Long Does a Submersible Pump Last: 6 Influencing Factors

Last Updated on July 23, 2023

As a homeowner, you need to understand the lifespan of your submersible pump. Submersible pumps are designed to operate underwater and are commonly used for drainage, sewage, and well water pumping.

Knowing how long your submersible pump will last can help you plan for maintenance and replacement costs and avoid unexpected failures.

If you take good care of it, a submersible pump can last at least 8 to 10 years or more, making it a reliable investment for your water needs. But, several factors influence lifespan.

We will explore the factors affecting submersible pumps’ lifespan and how to tell if your pump is failing.

What Are the Factors That Can Affect the Lifespan of a Submersible Pump?

What Are the Factors That Can Affect the Lifespan of a Submersible Pump?

Several key factors must be considered to ensure the longevity of your submersible pump. Here’s a quick look:

  • 1. Construction Quality
  • 2. Water Conditions
  • 3. Proper Installation
  • 4. Maintenance and Care
  • 5. Operating Conditions
  • 6. External Factors

Let’s examine the influencing factors in greater detail.

1. Construction Quality

The construction quality of a submersible pump can make or break its longevity. A higher-quality pump will have a more robust construction that can handle the harsh conditions it operates in.

Here are five factors that can affect the construction quality of a submersible pump:

  • Material: Submersible pumps made from high-quality materials such as stainless steel tend to last longer than those made from lower-quality materials such as plastic.
  • Seals: Seals’ quality in a pump can affect its lifespan. High-quality seals can prevent water from entering the motor and causing damage.
  • Bearings: Quality bearings can reduce friction, extending the motor’s life. Cheap bearings tend to wear out quickly and can cause the motor to fail prematurely.
  • Wiring: The wiring used in a submersible pump should be made from high-quality materials to prevent corrosion and ensure reliable operation.
  • Motor: A submersible pump with a high-quality motor designed for continuous operation will last longer than one with a lower-quality motor that is not designed to handle the demands of the job.

Investing in a high-quality submersible pump with robust construction can save you money in the long run by reducing the need for repairs and replacements.

Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a pump made from high-quality materials, with quality seals, bearings, wiring, and a motor designed for continuous operation.

2. Water Conditions

The quality and composition of the water being pumped can have a significant impact on the lifespan of a submersible pump. Here are two key aspects related to water conditions that can affect the pump:

Grit, Sand, and Mineral Content:

If the water source contains high levels of grit, sand, or minerals, it can accelerate wear and tear on the pump components, ultimately reducing its lifespan. These abrasive particles can cause erosion and damage to the impeller, casing, and other critical parts of the pump. 

The constant contact between the moving parts and these abrasive particles leads to increased friction and can result in premature failure or decreased efficiency. Regularly pumping water with high levels of grit or sand without proper filtration or sediment removal can exacerbate the issue and shorten the pump’s lifespan.

Sediment and Clogging:

The presence of sediment in the water can lead to clogging issues within the pump. Sediment particles, such as silt or debris, can accumulate within the pump’s intake or impeller, obstructing the flow and reducing the pump’s efficiency.

This can cause the motor to work harder to maintain the desired flow rate, leading to increased strain and potential overheating. If the pump becomes severely clogged, it may experience motor burnout or other failures. Regular cleaning and maintenance, including the use of appropriate filters or screens, can help mitigate the impact of sediment and prolong the pump’s lifespan.

3. Proper Installation

Just like a seed needs to be planted properly to grow strong roots and thrive, installing a submersible pump is crucial to ensure optimal performance and longevity. 

Incorrect placement of check valves, filters, and electrical wiring can cause premature pump failure, leading to costly repairs or replacement. Therefore, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s installation guidelines and to have the pump installed by a qualified professional.

Proper installation of a submersible pump involves several critical steps. These include selecting the right pump for the application, positioning it correctly in the well, and ensuring that the electrical wiring and control box are installed according to local codes and regulations.

The pump should be positioned at the recommended depth to avoid stress on the motor and impellers. Additionally, all components should be secured properly to prevent damage caused by vibration or movement.

By taking the time to install the submersible pump correctly, you can ensure that it operates efficiently and reliably for many years to come.

4. Maintenance and Care

Maintenance and Care

Regular upkeep is essential to keep your submersible pump operating smoothly and prevent any issues from arising. Here are three key things you can do to maintain your pump:

  • Regular inspection: Regularly inspect your pump for any signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or leaks. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Cleaning: Regularly clean your pump to prevent the buildup of debris and sediment, which can clog the pump and reduce its efficiency. Use a soft-bristled brush or a high-pressure hose to clean the pump, being careful not to damage any of the components.
  • Lubrication: Regularly lubricate your pump to prevent the bearings from wearing out and to ensure that the pump operates smoothly. Use a high-quality lubricant and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how much and how often to apply it.

5. Operating Conditions

Although some may think that the operating conditions of a submersible pump are out of their control, understanding how certain factors can impact its lifespan can help users make informed decisions to prolong its efficiency.

One of the most important factors that affect the longevity of a submersible pump is the duty cycle.

Pumps that run fewer times a day tend to last longer than those that run continuously. Therefore, it’s essential to choose a pump that’s appropriately sized for the job to avoid overworking it and increasing the frequency of its operation unnecessarily.

Another factor that affects a submersible pump’s lifespan is the flow rate and head. The higher the flow rate and head, the more pressure the pump needs to overcome, which can lead to increased wear and tear.

It’s crucial to ensure that the pump’s discharge head matches the desired flow rate to avoid overworking the pump and reducing its lifespan.

In summary, understanding the pump’s duty cycle, flow rate, and head can help users optimize its performance and extend its lifespan, ultimately saving them money on repairs and replacements.

6. External Factors

External factors such as power quality, environmental conditions, and exposure to corrosive substances can significantly impact the reliability and durability of a submersible pump.

Power fluctuations, low or high voltages, phase imbalances, and phase loss can cause damage to the motor of the pump, ultimately reducing its lifespan. It’s important to ensure that the power supply to the pump is stable and within the manufacturer’s recommended range.

Extreme temperatures, exposure to corrosive substances, or excessive vibration can also impact the pump’s durability. The pump’s seals, bearings, and other components can deteriorate over time due to exposure to harsh environments, leading to potential leaks or failures.

Installing the pump in a location that is protected from these environmental factors, such as using a protective casing or proper ventilation, can help extend the pump’s lifespan.

Regular maintenance and inspection of the pump’s components can also help identify potential issues before they become major problems, ultimately increasing the reliability and durability of the submersible pump.

How Do You Know If Your Submersible Pump Is Bad?

If you suspect that your submersible pump is bad, there are several key signs to look out for.

1. Absence of Water Flow

To troubleshoot the absence of water flow in your submersible pump, start by checking the circuit breaker and ensuring proper power supply. This is a crucial step, as power source issues are the most common cause of pump malfunction.

If your pump is not receiving electricity, it won’t function, and no water will flow. Therefore, it’s recommended that you check the power supply before assuming that your pump is faulty.

If your pump is receiving power, and you still don’t have water flow, the next step is to inspect the pump itself. Faulty wiring or blown fuses can cause your pump to malfunction, leading to an absence of water flow. In such cases, it’s best to seek professional help to avoid any further damage or injury.

2. Low Water Pressure

Low Water Pressure

When you turn on your faucet, you may notice a weak trickle of water instead of the usual strong flow, indicating that your submersible pump is experiencing low water pressure. There are several reasons why your submersible pump might be experiencing low water pressure:

  • Clogged Impeller: The impeller, responsible for propelling water through the pump, may be clogged with debris. This can cause a decrease in water pressure and flow.
  • Damaged Pump: Over time, the pump may become damaged due to wear and tear. Water pressure and flow can go down.
  • Malfunctioning Pressure Switch: The pressure switch, which regulates water pressure, may be malfunctioning. This can cause the pump to not run at full capacity, resulting in low water pressure.

3. Strange Noises

Strange noises coming from your submersible pump, like rattling, grinding, or clicking should never be ignored.

These sounds can indicate that there are mechanical issues or obstructions in the impeller that need to be addressed immediately to prevent further damage to your pump.

Continuing to use a submersible pump that is making strange noises can cause the motor to overheat, leading to costly repairs or even the need for a replacement pump.

To investigate the cause of these noises, it’s essential to turn off the pump and inspect it for any debris or obstructions that may be affecting its performance. Check the impeller for any signs of wear and tear, as this is often the most common cause of strange noises in submersible pumps.

If you can’t identify the cause of the noise, it’s best to contact a professional to diagnose and repair any issues with your pump. Proper maintenance and timely repairs can help your submersible pump last longer and prevent costly replacements.

4. Continuous Running

Ignoring continuous operation of a faulty submersible pump can lead to motor degradation and damage to the plumbing system, requiring costly repairs or replacements.

If the pump continues to run without shutting off as it should, this can be a sign of a faulty pump or pressure switch.

Regularly monitoring the pump’s functioning is crucial to avoid such issues. Here are some potential reasons why a submersible pump may run continuously:

  • Faulty pressure switch: The pressure switch is responsible for turning the pump on and off based on the water pressure in the system. If the switch is faulty, it may not be able to accurately detect the pressure and turn off the pump when it should. This can result in the pump running continuously, increasing the risk of motor damage.
  • Leaking pipes: If there is a leak in the plumbing system, this can cause the pressure to drop and trigger the submersible pump to turn on. If the leak is significant and goes unnoticed, the pump may continue to run continuously, leading to potential damage to the motor and plumbing system.
  • Clogged pump: Over time, dirt, debris, and other materials can build up in the submersible pump, causing it to clog. This can also cause the pump to run continuously, as it is unable to pump water effectively.

Regular maintenance and cleaning of the pump can help prevent these issues.

5. Air in the Pipes

If you hear a spitting sound or notice air sputtering from your faucets, it’s a sign that air is mixing with your water supply, which can be caused by a faulty check valve or other issues with your plumbing system.

When air enters the pipes, it can cause your submersible pump to work harder than it needs to, shortening its lifespan. Additionally, the air can cause damage to your pipes and fixtures, leading to costly repairs.

To prevent air from entering your plumbing system, it’s important to ensure that your check valve is working properly. This valve prevents water from flowing backward into the well, which can cause air to mix with the water supply.

Regular maintenance of your submersible pump system, including checking the check valve and other components, can help ensure that your system lasts as long as possible and operates efficiently.

6. Steam Emission

If you’ve been experiencing air in your pipes, it’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage. However, another warning sign that your submersible pump may malfunction is the emission of steam. This clearly indicates that something is not working properly and requires immediate attention.

When steam emerges from the water pump, it can be a cause for concern. Here are five possible reasons why this may be happening:

  •  Overheating due to a lack of proper lubrication or damaged bearings.
  • A malfunctioning impeller that isn’t properly moving water through the pump.
  • A clogged intake screen that’s forcing the pump to work harder than it should.
  • Low water levels that are causing the pump to run dry.
  • Electrical issues that are causing the pump to overheat and emit steam.

Given the potential causes and risks associated with steam emission, it’s crucial to call in experts or professionals for a thorough inspection and necessary repairs.

Ignoring the issue could result in further damage to your equipment, higher repair costs, or even a complete pump failure.

What Causes a Submersible Pump to Fail?

What Causes a Submersible Pump to Fail

If you’re experiencing issues with your submersible pump, it’s likely due to one of five key factors. The first is clogging, which can occur when debris or sediment accumulates in the pump’s intake.

Electrical faults, such as short circuits or damaged wiring, can also cause the pump to fail. Overheating is another common problem, often caused by a lack of proper ventilation or water flow.

Wear and tear over time can also lead to decreased pump performance, while cavitation can cause damage to the impeller and other components.

1. Clogging

You’ll want to make sure to regularly clean the impeller and suction screen to prevent clogging, which can significantly reduce the lifespan of your submersible pump. Clogging occurs when debris, sediment, sand, or other foreign objects get stuck in the impeller or on the suction screen, obstructing the flow of water.

Here are four things to keep in mind to prevent clogging:

  • Regular maintenance is key. Clean the impeller and suction screen at least once a year, or more frequently if you notice reduced water flow.
  • Use a wire brush or similar tool to remove any debris or sediment that has accumulated on the impeller or suction screen.
  • Check the pump’s specifications to ensure that the impeller and suction screen are properly sized for the flow rate and type of water you’re pumping.
  •  Consider installing a pre-filter or strainer to prevent larger debris from entering the pump in the first place.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that your submersible pump lasts for its intended lifespan. Clogging is a preventable issue, and taking proactive steps to address it can save you time, money, and headaches down the road.

2. Electrical Faults

Electrical faults can zap the life out of your submersible pump like a lightning bolt hitting a tree. Faulty electrical connections or power surges can result in motor burnout or complete pump failure.

If the pump’s wiring is defective or the power supply is improper, it can cause the pump to fail prematurely.

It’s crucial to ensure that the electrical connections are correctly installed and that the power supplied is within the recommended range to avoid damaging the pump’s motor or other components. One way to prevent electrical faults from causing damage to your submersible pump is to install a surge protector.

A surge protector can protect the pump from voltage spikes and surges that can occur during power outages or lightning strikes.

Additionally, it’s essential to have a professional electrician inspect and maintain the electrical components of the pump regularly. Doing so can extend the life of the pump and ensure that it’s functioning correctly.

3. Overheating

To avoid the costly consequences of overheating, it’s crucial that proper cooling mechanisms are implemented in submersible pumps.

Overheating can cause the pump to fail prematurely, leading to costly repairs or replacements.

Here are four reasons why overheating can be detrimental to your submersible pump:

  • Motor Failure: Continuous overheating can cause the motor to fail, leading to a complete breakdown of the pump.
  • Reduced Efficiency: Overheating can reduce the efficiency of the pump, resulting in a decrease in flow rates and higher energy consumption.
  • Increased Maintenance Costs: Overheating can cause damage to the pump, which can lead to costly maintenance and repair costs.
  • Safety Hazards: Overheating can cause the pump to malfunction, leading to safety hazards such as electrical fires or explosions.

To prevent overheating, it’s important to ensure that the pump is properly sized for the application, and that proper maintenance is carried out regularly.

This includes ensuring that the pump is free from blockages and that the cooling mechanisms, such as impeller design and cooling water supply, are functioning properly.

4. Wear and Tear

If you’re not regularly maintaining your pump, you may start to notice signs of wear and tear on the internal components.

This can include thinner walls of the pump body, increased pressure build-up, and general deterioration that can lead to failure over time.

The harsh conditions of continuous operation can speed up the process of wear and tear, which can cause you to replace your submersible pump earlier than expected.

Wear and tear can also be caused by the passage of time, as even the most durable materials can deteriorate over time.

The internal components of your submersible pump can become less effective at their job due to rust and corrosion, which can cause the pump to work harder and eventually break down.

To avoid this, it’s important to regularly maintain your pump by cleaning it, checking for signs of damage, and replacing worn parts before they become a problem.

By doing so, you can extend the lifespan of your submersible pump and ensure that it continues to perform at its best for years to come.

Can a submersible pump get weak?

Can a submersible pump get weak

A submersible pump can definitely become weak over time due to wear and tear, sediment buildup, and electrical issues. The internal components of a submersible pump, such as the impeller or motor, can experience wear and tear over time, leading to reduced efficiency and decreased pumping capacity.

This can result in weaker water flow and decreased pressure, making it difficult for the pump to perform its intended function effectively.

Sediment buildup and clogs within the pump or the well system can also restrict water flow and weaken the pump’s performance. This can lead to reduced efficiency and decreased pumping capacity, making it difficult for the pump to operate at its intended capacity.

Electrical issues, such as voltage fluctuations or motor degradation, can also affect the pump’s power and overall effectiveness. It’s important to regularly maintain and service submersible pumps to ensure their longevity and optimal performance.

Do submersible pumps get clogged?

Submersible pumps can get clogged with debris, sand, silt, or other contaminants in the water source, leading to blockages in the impeller or suction screen.

These blockages can cause the pump to work harder, leading to decreased performance and, eventually, failure.

The lifespan of a submersible pump can be significantly reduced if it’s not properly maintained and cleaned regularly.

To prevent blockages in your submersible pump, it’s important to take the following steps:

  • Regularly inspect the pump’s suction screen and impeller for signs of debris buildup.
  • Clean the pump’s suction screen and impeller regularly, using appropriate cleaning tools and methods.
  • Use a pre-filter or strainer to help keep debris and contaminants out of the pump.
  • Avoid pumping water from sources that are known to contain high levels of sand, silt, or other debris.
  • Consider installing a sediment filter or other filtration system to remove contaminants from the water source before it enters the pump.

Can a submersible pump be repaired?

Submersible pumps can often be repaired instead of being replaced. The design of many components, such as seals and bearings, allows for them to be easily replaced, and common issues like clogs or motor problems can also be addressed with repairs.

Repairing these pumps can save time and money compared to purchasing a new pump. However, the extent of the damage or malfunction will determine if a repair is feasible.

Electrical connections may also need to be fixed, but with proper repairs, submersible pumps can continue to perform effectively.

Enjoy the Benefits of a Long-Lasting Submersible Pump

Now that you know how long submersible pumps last. A submersible pump’s lifespan depends on several factors, including construction quality, water conditions, proper installation, maintenance, operating conditions, and external factors. On average, a well-maintained submersible pump from a reputable brand can last 8 to 10 years or more.

To ensure a longer lifespan for your submersible pump, it is crucial to invest in a high-quality pump from a reliable brand.

Regular maintenance, including inspection, cleaning, and lubrication, is essential to prevent issues and keep the pump operating smoothly. Proper installation, adherence to guidelines, and addressing any problems promptly are also vital.

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