How to Protect Your Sump Discharge Line from Freezing

A frozen sump pump discharge hose indicates bad news for homeowners that have sump pumps installed in their cellar. If a sump pump hose freezes, the pump will work harder and will eventually fail due to overheating. 

Meaning it will not do its job of discharging water which accumulates around the foundation. Therefore, you must help prevent sump pump lines from freezing to maintain the cellar protected from flooding.

The objective of a sump pump, of course, is to expel any rainwater that seeps into your property. You may expect that water intrusion is less of an issue in winter, but that’s rarely true. Rather than rain, you are dealing with melted snow (although we get our share of chilly storms, also).

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. When the pipe is buried, it should be buried at least 12 centimeters beneath the frost line (the highest depth of ground below that the soil does not freeze). The section of pipe where the pipe meets the earth at the frost line and also at the end of the point where the water flow is where the pipe usually freezes.
    2. Property owners who select an above-grade alternative must extend the discharge line away from the house at a downward slope. The slope doesn’t have to be intense, but constant so the water may flow. A hose that is smooth, rigid, and freeze-resistant ought to be joined to the end of the discharge hose, and ought to release water at least 6 meters away from the foundation. If the pipe is properly sloped, gravity will help keep the water flowing (standing water in the pipe is far more likely to freeze).
  • The sump pump discharge line and the ingestion section ought to be insulated to shield against freezing. A larger diameter pipe may be connected to the end of the sump pump hose using wires and clamps, leaving an air gap between the hose and the bigger pipe. As a simpler insulation alternative, the exterior pipe can be covered with hay (a natural insulator) along with a tarp. Automotive anti-freeze shouldn’t be poured into the toaster.
  • The sump basin should be assessed regularly, along the sump pump also needs to be examined from time to time to ensure it’s working properly. Also, the sump pump shouldn’t discharge water onto the sidewalk and drive to prevent ice.
  • When the sump pump pipe is frozen, portable heaters can be used to thaw it. Employing a blow torch to thaw the line is a bad idea as that may cause injury or damage to the property. If DIY thawing isn’t possible, it’s ideal to call a professional builder to thaw the line out.

The PuroClean team stands ready to give professional emergency property restoration services to some homes affected by fire, water, or mold damage. Check them here for more information.