Your sump pump needs attention prior to winter. Otherwise, a lack of maintenance can mean a flooded basement when the spring rains arrive. Melted snow can also overwhelm the system, leaving behind a pool of water, damaged furnishings, and mold. But here’s how to winterize your outdoor sump pump and avoid trouble:
How to Winterize Your Outdoor Sump Pump
1. Never Let Water Stagnate
Moving water is unlikely to freeze. But if water pools below
your sump pump and freezes, it can cause irreparable damage. To prevent this, allow water to flow through the sump pump. And if you can, leave a cold water tap open slightly during the winter to prevent your pipes from freezing.
2. Remove the Discharge Hose
When cold weather is coming, remove the hose that connects the pump to the discharge pipe. If the water freezes, the hose will become unusable and may be damaged. But remember to reattach it in spring or during a winter thaw; you’ll need it to get the water out.
*It’s also a good idea to keep an extra discharge hose around. If the first one freezes or breaks, you can then attach the spare (and keep the first hose attached while thawing it).
3. Keep the Sump Pump Plugged In
In many locations, temperatures fluctuate throughout the winter, allowing snow to melt or rainstorms to occur. All this extra water will flood your basement if the sump pump isn’t plugged in. To play it safe, don’t unplug the pump.
4. Clean the Sump Pump Pit
Dirt, debris, and ice can clog the intake and discharge pipes. Check the sump pump pit before winter starts and throughout the season. If it’s completely filled with debris, hiring a professional to clean it out may pay off in the long run.
5. Bury the Discharge Pipe Below the Frost Line
Cold air can cause an exposed discharge pipe to freeze. The resulting blockage can cause the sump pump to burn out as it tries to push water through. You can insulate the pipe to prevent this; we also recommend, if possible, burying the discharge pump at least 12 centimeters below the frost line.
6. Protect and Insulate Your Pipes
To prevent freezing, bury pipe deeper in the ground, cover it with hay or tarp, or wrap it with insulation. You can also prevent leaks and freezing by insulating the intake and discharge line. These methods will keep water warm enough, so it doesn’t freeze in your pipes or sump pump.
7. Move the Discharge Pipe Further Away
The discharge pipe should release water at least 10 feet from the foundation of your home. Also make sure the pipe is sloped away, so water does not back up. But if the discharge pipe is too close, water can easily seep back in, causing your outdoor sump pump to run continuously.
8. Move the Discharge Pipe Farther from the Pump
There should be at least 20 feet between the pump and discharge hose (which should be freeze-resistant). This expands the distance between the sump pump and wastewater area. It also gives water more room to flow.
9. Install a Diverter Valve
A common feature in newer homes, a diverter valve allows water to flow away through an exterior wall or directly into the sewer system. It is effective for preventing exterior pipe freezing in colder climates.
10. Install a Drain Tile Around the Foundation
It’s often unavoidable to have water accumulate around the foundation. A drain tile
, often a perforated pipe, runs along the foundation and moves water to the sump pump pit. The pump then directs the water out of the basement.
Contact Service Today for Help
We install pedestal sump pumps and submersible sump pumps as well as help maintain sump pump systems in the Twin Cities area. Whether providing battery back-up systems or helping improve drainage around your home, our licensed technicians can help winterize your outdoor sump pump so it continues to serve its purpose. Professional installation and repair can help avoid flooding and extensive property damage. To learn more or schedule service, call (888) 395-0085