How to Avoid Sump Pump Drainage Problems

A sump pump discharges excess water from the lowest point in your house, which is usually the basement. But it’s effective only if it drains properly. Sump pump drainage problems can be just as bad as not having a sump pump at all; but fortunately, they can be avoided. Here are a few preventative steps to avoid serious water damage and expensive repairs:

Properly Size and Place the Discharge Line

The size of the discharge pipe should match the sump pump manufacturer’s recommendations. For most models, a 1.5-inch diameter line is recommended. The line must also be run outside, but not to the sewer. Building codes forbid this as pumping rainwater into the sewer will overwhelm the system and could lead to untreated wastewater being dumped into local waterways.

Also, never run the discharge line to the septic system. This can cause significant damage and lead to a septic tank overflow. A sump pump discharge pipe must be run out to the yard through the foundation or a rim joist, and release water where it won’t cause problems.

Bury the Discharge Line Underground

The amount of water your sump pump will eject is unpredictable. Nonetheless, the discharge pipe must be in a location where water will run downhill. The underground section will use gravity, so the buried pipe should be twice the diameter of other parts of the discharge line to ensure a steady flow. Exposed lines are susceptible to breaking (by lawnmowers and other equipment), getting buried, and freezing.

Install a Screen at the End of the Discharge Line

If the pipe outlet is left open, it can become clogged by leaves, debris, or animals. For yards with a positive slope (uphill), install a lawnscape outlet to let water drain continuously. A lawnscape bubble pot should be installed in a flat yard, so that once the outlet fills with water, overflow has somewhere to escape, and sump pump drainage problems don’t occur.

Protect the Discharge Pipe From Freezing

Water lines in cold climates are prone to freezing and backing up, especially when temperatures fluctuate. Since the pipe runs outside, exposure to cold weather or snow/ice can freeze it. Ice will easily block any draining water. As a result, the sump pit fills and snowmelt and rain water collect around your foundation. The pump will run constantly without discharging water, causing it to burn out.

You can prevent freezing by using a durable PVC pipe. A more rigid 2-inch diameter pipe can prevent low points from forming where water can freeze. Freezing outside the line can be just as bad. Therefore, install the pipe where the ground slopes away from your home and make sure water continues draining after leaving the pipe. A pop-up drain can be attached to the end of the drainage line so water at the bottom is properly dispersed.

Move the Drainage Line Away From Your House

It should be at least 10 feet from the foundation, preferably 20 feet. But don’t run it too far either. If the drainage line is too long, the sump pump will be overworked and the motor won’t last as long. Therefore, don’t run a drainage line more than 100 feet.

Properly Maintain Your Sump Pump

A sump pump will fail if you don’t maintain it. To avoid trouble, clean out debris that gets in the pump, watch for and fix any float switch issues, and verify the check valve is installed properly. If it’s the wrong way, it won’t prevent water from flowing backward. The sump pump system should be tested regularly and checked for loose wiring, unusual motor sounds, and signs of a broken discharge pipe. Call a professional when any unusual symptoms occur.

Schedule Sump Pump Repair Today

Our trained professionals install and repair basement, submersible, and backup/battery-operated sump pumps in and around Troy, MI. We offer emergency repair services to correct sump pump drainage problems. When you need us the most, reach out to Hoover Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for sump pump repairs in Troy, Michigan. Call 586-991-3709 to speak with a friendly representative.

What to read next

Hoover Electric Plumbing Heating Cooling

AC Compressor Replacement Tips & Tricks Located in the outdoor condenser unit, the AC compressor is a crucial part of your HVAC system. Without it and its cooling power, you’d

Hoover Electric Plumbing Heating Cooling

Known for its humid summers and freezing winters, Michigan weather will put any HVAC system to the test, year after year. When your HVAC system acts up and your thermostat