My Sump Pump Hose Freezes Every Winter. How Can I Prevent This? - Plumbing - DIY Home Improvement | DIYChatroom

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Old 01-26-2010, 08:20 PM   #1
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My sump pump hose freezes every winter. How can I prevent this?

I have a primary sump pump and battery backup which discharge from the house about 10 inches above grade. The distance to the storm sewer is about 40 feet and the storm sewer is at most 15 - 20 inches lower in elevation than the PVC pipethat exits the house (1/2 inch per foot at most of slope). I have tried to bury a single PVC or hard rubber hose but it is only a few inches below the sod and probably isn't all that pitched, i.e. probably has a few flat spots on it's way to the storm sewer. That froze. I tried to run a 2-1/2 inch diameter PVC pipe from the pipe that exits the house under my deck to insure a true pitch but it's drop is 6-8 inches at most and the pipe is 15 feet long. I then used the black corrugated flexible hose that they sell at the hardware store to go on top of the ground to the storm sewer, again because the grade of the lawn insures that, while not a great grade, at least it tends downward. That froze too.

Several people have suggested an inverted "T" at the exit of the house to allow any vacuum in the draining pipe to be dissipated and allow the water to run more freely. I tried this but it sent water upward like a geyser. Someone else suggested a spring loaded valve that would let air in but not let water out. That was available at the hardware store but the clerk dissuaded me form buying it.

This business of the pipes freezing is getting old and I am sure putting excess wear and tear on my sump pump. Any suggestions?



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Old 01-27-2010, 12:30 AM   #2
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any pipe thats above the frost line that has water sitting in it will freeze if exposed to freezing temps.where is the water in basement coming from,grading issues around foundation?


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Old 01-27-2010, 06:10 AM   #3
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What he said, any standing water will freeze, law of nature. If the drain pipe slopes away from the house, the water will run out. I would make it a min slope of 1/8"/ft.

The other point he was making is to reduce the water getting to the sump by making sure gutters/downspouts get water at least 6' away from the foundation and that grading slopes away from the house.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:15 AM   #4
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I've never tried this but in theory, it may very well work for you if you're open to the idea.

I used to live in a mobile home and those who have or do are probably familar with something known as heat tape. Basically it looks exactly like an extension cord except one end plugs in to an outlet and the other has nothing on it. They come in various lengths depending on your need. It does exactly what it sounds like it does, provides a low amount of heat throughout the entire length of the cord.

This is a huge deal with mobile homes in the winter because most are not on a slab but instead a few feet off the ground. This means the water pipe is exposed in an above ground position, something that never happens in a 'normal' house. I found out the hard way how important this can be when our heat tape failed one year and our water froze up.

It's not too expensive, you can probably find a 40' tape for $50 or less. Your local home improvement store surely carries it. The only thing is, I believe its standard practice for mobile homes to have GFCI outlets underneath the home so the heat tape can easily and safely be plugged in. I'm not sure how you could combat that part. Also with the ones I've used, the tape has a built in thermostat that you tape to the pipe so the heat will only come on when the temperature requires it to.

If you decide to try it, I would tape/fasten the heat tape along the bottom of the pipe since this is where the water would lay when it tries to freeze. Also if they make that foam pipe insulation for your size of pipe, it may help keep the heat that your heat tape produces.

Unfortunately I can't promise this would work but I can tell you it works great with 3/4" copper piping beneath a mobile home. Let us know what you try!

- John
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