Be Aware: Sump Pump Lines Can Freeze & Burn Out Pumps

Posted on February 26, 2015

6 Tips to Avoid a Frozen Sump Pump

During the winter months, frozen sump pump can be a major worry because sump pumps are relied upon to remove water from the basement of a property. Follow these handy tips to avoid damage to the pump or the which results from frozen water.

Bigger is Better

The discharge hose attached to your sump pump is more likely to become blocked with ice if the water has a limited amount of space through which to pass. Using a discharge hose that is larger than average will give the water more space to pass and limit its opportunity to freeze.


Bury the end of the discharge hose in the ground before insulating the above-ground portion. If the ground is frozen, you will need to bury the pipe deep enough to bypass the full extent of the frozen surface. Ensure that the material you use to insulate the visible section of the pipe is effective, such as pipe lagging straw or heavy duty tape.

Reduce Its Workload

When the discharge hose begins to freeze, the motor is forced to work harder, putting it at risk of overheating and failing completely. Doing some work around the foundation of the property to direct water away from the basement lightens your sump pump’s workload, reducing the risk of it becoming blocked with frozen water. Landscaping also increases the gradient around the property so that water flows downhill.

Take Advantage of Gravity

If possible, lay the discharge pipe at a point where the water’s exit is lower than the sump pump itself. Gravity will keep the water flowing away from the property, making water less likely to freeze and block the pipe.

Maintain Distance

By connecting a freeze-resistant hose to the end of the discharge hose, you can increase the length of the discharge hose so that there is a greater distance between the property and the point where the waste water is flushed away. Aim for a distance of at least 20-feet away and use a smooth, rigid hose so that there is no place for water to collect.

This method can also be used when a backup pipe is connected to the pump. The backup pipe should be laid in a different direction to the main discharge hose so that it can be used if the main hose freezes.


Depending on where the water freezes in the discharge hose, it may be useful to heat the basement to a temperature that allows the continued flow of water by not giving it a chance to freeze.

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Source: Montgomery Twp. Administration

Date: February 26, 2015