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Tips to Keep a Sump Pump Discharge Line from Freezing

a sump pump installed the basement

A frozen sump pump discharge hose signals bad news for homeowners who have sump pumps installed in their basement. When a sump pump hose freezes, the pump will work harder and will eventually fail due to overheating.

That means that it won’t do its job of discharging water that accumulates around the foundation. Thus, it’s important to help prevent sump pump lines from freezing to keep the basement safe from flooding.

Tips to Prevent a Sump Pump Discharge Line from Freezing

  • The sump pump discharge line should be either buried in the yard or extended out above-grade at a downward slope.
    1. If the pipe is buried, it should be buried at least 12 centimetres below the frost line (the maximum depth of ground below which the soil doesn’t freeze). The section of pipe where the pipe meets the ground at the frost line and at the end of the line where the water disperses is where the pipe generally freezes.
    2. Property owners who choose an above-grade solution should extend the discharge line away from the house at a downward slope. The slope doesn’t have to be steep, but continuous so that the water can flow. A hose that’s smooth, rigid, and freeze-resistant should be connected to the end of the discharge hose, and should discharge water at least 6 metres away from the foundation. If the pipe is properly sloped, gravity will help keep the water flowing (standing water in the pipe is more likely to freeze).
  • The sump pump discharge line and the intake section should be insulated to guard against freezing. A larger diameter pipe can be attached to the end of sump pump hose using wires and clamps, leaving air gap between the hose and the larger pipe. As a simpler insulation alternative, the outside pipe with can be covered with hay (a natural insulator) and a tarp. Automotive anti-freeze should never be poured in the sump pump.
  • The sump basin should be checked regularly, and the sump pump also needs to be tested from time to time to ensure it’s working properly. Also, the sump pump must not discharge water onto the sidewalk and driveway to prevent dangerous ice.
  • If the sump pump pipe is frozen, portable heaters can be used to thaw it. Using a blow torch to thaw the line is a bad idea as that can cause injury or damage to the property. If DIY thawing is not an option, it’s best to call a professional contractor to thaw out the line.

The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.