Preventing Frozen Sump Pump Pipes


The majority of the homes in the Anoka and Bloomington communities have a sump pump to remove water as it seeps into the basement of the houses. And shockingly, this pump can see use throughout the year, not just in the rainy season. Your home’s foundation is just as prone to flooding from melted snow as it is rainwater. However, there is an additional concern in the winter months: the sump pump discharge line could freeze, allowing the water to back into your home. Fortunately, there are several precautions homeowners can take to prevent this unfortunate issue.

Proper Installation

Many homeowners are pretty confident that a sump pump discharge line is something they can install as a weekend DIY project. However, there is a bit more to the process than digging a trench and tossing in a piece of pipe. The following three factors are critical to the function and longevity of the sump pump piping:

  1. The discharge line is going to handle many temperature changes throughout the years. It can also face some movement of soil and increased pressure from rocks and tree roots. Be sure to use sturdy PVC pipe that will last for many years in the harsh environment of your yard.
  2. Slope is essential in a drain line. The sump pump removed the water from your home by forcing it up through a pipe and into the discharge line. But from that point, gravity takes over to carry the water away from your home’s foundation. The slope of the pipe must include enough fall down and away from the house to keep that water moving. It is also crucial that the pitch is constant but with no low or high spots that will trap moisture and allow it to freeze and block the function of the pipe.
  3. The discharge end of the line needs to have a proper cap or pop-up drain cover. You do not want water to drain back into the pipe and create a freezing issue. The installation of a pop-up cap allows water to be evacuated from the line but stops groundwater or rain from flowing back into the pipe. It is also helpful to drill a few drain holes in the pipe below the pop-up cap to let the last small amount of water drain out of the line.

 The Length Of The Discharge Line

Typically, you want to have the discharge line run at least 20 feet before dispersing the water. This distance assures that the water is not going to flow right back to your home’s foundation and create a vicious cycle of moving the same water repeatedly. However, remember that gravity takes over to move the water in the pipe. So do not make it extremely long This increases the potential for water to remain in the line and create freezing issues in the winter months.

If you discover issues with your home’s sump pump or a damaged or frozen discharge line, call 612-340-1444 for assistance from the pros at Paul Bunyan Plumbing And Drain.


Paul Bunyan Plumbing & Drains

5720 International Parkway
New Hope, MN 55428