A frozen sump pump discharge line can flood your basement and cause serious damage to your sump pump and ultimately your basement.
While most attention is generally given to the sump pump, it is important to remember the sump pump discharge line plays a crucial role in keeping your basement dry, as it carries water from the sump pump to the outside of the house.
In the winter, the sump pump discharge line can freeze, which prevents water from draining. This blockage then causes water to back up, collecting in your basement or crawl space and around the foundation. If the pump cannot discharge the water, then it runs continuously and eventually will burn out the motor. When this occurs, you will find yourself in the exact emergency your sump pump was designed to prevent.
Fortunately, this catastrophe can be prevented if proper precautions are taken. Before the ground freezes, call Plumbers 911 to be referred to a licensed, experienced plumbing contractor to inspect your sump pump and drainage line to ensure it is protected from freezing.
Here are a few other ways you can prevent a frozen sump pump:
Use a large diameter PVC pipe in the drainage line
Your drainage pipe should be free of dips and curves so there are no high or low points — just a steady downhill trickle — to ensure your pipe drains completely, even when the sump pump shuts off. Most importantly, the PVC pipe used for a discharge line should be a large diameter — at least two inches. While most sump pumps only require a 1.5 inch diameter pipe, a larger pipe will not bend, compress or develop dips.
If you are getting a sump pump installed, insist on a larger diameter PVC pipe.
Insulate the sump pump drain line
Adding insulation to the drainage line is the easiest way to prevent a frozen sump pump. Call Plumbers 911 for a referral to a contractor, who will send over an experienced plumber to add insulation to the line to keep it from freezing.
Insulation can also be added above ground by using hay or a tarp.
Make sure your sump pump discharge line runs downhill
To prevent the line from freezing, make sure your sump pump’s line always runs on a downhill slope of 0.125 inches per foot. Gravity keeps the water flowing, which prevents freezing.
If you believe water is not properly flowing through the line, reach out to Plumbers 911. Our referral service will connect you with a plumbing contractor, who will send out a professional plumber to inspect your discharge line.
Increase the distance between the sump pump and the wastewater area
In some instances, the sump pump drain line may be improperly installed because it drains too close to your house.
With this type of situation, you can redirect excess water away from your basement or crawlspace by attaching an insulated hose to the end of the discharge hose. We recommend a length of at least 20 feet. Make sure the hose is rigid to prevent pools of water gathering inside and freezing.
Hire a plumber to bury the discharge line below the frostline
If the line was not installed below the frost line, chances are your line will ice up once the ground freezes.
The only remedy to this problem is to call Plumbers 911 and have a licensed plumbing contractor properly install a new line and tie it into the storm drain system. Pipes below the frost line (this level differs depending on where you live) are naturally insulated from the cold temperatures and will not freeze.
Frozen sump pump line? Call Plumbers 911!
If your sump pump line freezes, call Plumbers 911 as soon as possible. We are a network of professional plumbing contractors who can fix the issue.