Preventing a Frozen Sump Pump

Submersible water Pump for flood prevention in a wet and dark concrete basement

A frozen sump pump can be a serious problem. Frozen water in your drainage pipe will cause your sump pump to work extra hard to expel water from your basement or crawl space, which can make your sump pump burn out.

A broken sump pump leaves your home vulnerable to flooding.

To avoid the need for sump pump repair, preventive measures should be taken early to help keep your sump pump running smoothly throughout the winter. These solutions focus mainly on the sump pump drainage pipe, which carries water away from your home’s foundation to prevent seepage. This pipe is where most freezing occurs.


The drain pipe should lay at a steadily downward angle leading away from the house. This keeps the water flowing, making it less likely to freeze. You also want the water to flow somewhat away from the pipe after it exits, as opposed to pooling around the end of the pipe, which can lead to freezing and blockage.The drainage pipe should consist of sturdy PVC, 2 inches in diameter. 1½ inches is common, but more likely to freeze.


Underground pipes are less likely to freeze than pipes in the open air. Many contractors suggest burying it a few inches below the frost line. That’s helpful, but not as important as the steady downward slope of the drainage pipe, so don’t compromise your pipe’s angle for the sake of burying it underground. To add extra insulation for your sump pump, cover any above-ground drainage pipes with hay or a tarp to retain warmth.


Another recommendation is to install a pop-up drain cover at the end of your drainage pipe, which keeps the opening protected from debris that can clog it up. The exiting water pushes the cover open. You might also want to place this section over gravel instead of dirt to allow even draining and avoid creating puddles that can freeze. It may also help to use nails or a drill to make small holes in the pipe end to give the water another outlet.


The sump pump basin should be checked often in the winter for ice. The pump should also be tested. If a blockage has occurred, it’s best to know sooner rather than later.


Never pour antifreeze into your sump pump. This can cause serious damage. Likewise, don’t use a blowtorch to thaw a frozen pipe. Instead, you can use portable heaters. If that doesn’t work, you may need to call a professional.


If you need help thawing or winterizing your sump pump, call Hoover Electric. Established in 1980, Hoover Electric, Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling has been serving customers in Southeast Michigan ever since, offering courteous, professional service. Because we offer all the services you need for residential maintenance under one roof, we’re able to offer extremely competitive pricing while maintaining great customer service and guaranteed satisfaction. When you’re looking for top-quality electrical, plumbing, heating, or cooling services in Clinton Township, contact Hoover through our website or call 586-232-9204 today.

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