How To Prevent Sump Pump Discharge Pipe From Freezing

You will need to ensure that your discharge pipes work perfectly under any circumstances for years to come. Especially in the winter, many homeowners face a common problem, and that is a frozen discharge pipe.

It doesn’t matter if you have a powerful sump pump and a good drainage system. If your discharge lines aren’t up to that task, it will quickly freeze up in the winter.

During wintertime, discharge lines can easily get clogged if they are not properly protected. The discharge pipes are usually buried into the ground and needs to be properly protected.

The water inside the pipes can freeze easily if the pipes aren’t protected and can cause clogging issues. However, you can prevent that by following some simple tips.

Here are some of the working methods that should help you prevent the sump pump discharge pipe from freezing.

What Happens When A Discharge Pipe Freezes?

If you live in a winter climate, at some point, things will get really cold. To be precise, it will get freezing cold. If proper maintenance and planning is not done, the ice-cold, freezing temperature can really wreak havoc on your property.

This includes your basement as well. When you get a clogged pipe due to extreme cold, your pump won’t be able to pump out water.

This motor will continue to run and eventually burn itself out. This is a common problem for people that live in a cold area where it stays cold for an extended period of time.

Preventing a Sump Pump Discharge Line from Freezing

Discharge lines are just as important as your pumps that are putting water through them. Usually, the pipes that come out of your house are that are above the foundation go down into the ground and all the way to the endpoint.

The pipe could be 10 to 15 yards long. When winter comes, you never know at what point the pipe is frozen. When you have freezing weather and snow cover, it’s really hard to get all the sump water out

The Easy Way

A quick solution to this problem is to build some redundancy. You want to make sure that you are working with above grade pipes so that you know exactly where the water is being discharged.

You can use an extension called IceGuard®. It does a couple of different things. First of all, it works as a transition piece that goes from a 1-1/2-inch discharge line into a 3 or 4-inch PVC pipe.

Once you go down to the 3 or 4-inch line, it will team together at that point. Let’s say somewhere down the line whether it is 10 feet or 15 feet or wherever it gets frozen; the water can at least get out of the house.

That’s how you build some redundancy into your sump pump system. In this case, into the discharge line. Even if the end of a PVC pipe gets clogged with ice, discharge water will get back up & it will automatically be ejected right of the holes of the IceGuard.

Additional Tips For Preventing Discharge Line Freeze

There are other ways you can prevent a discharge pipe from getting frozen.

1. Using A Portable Heater

Now, if DIY thawing isn’t your thing, it’s best to hire a professional and thaw out the ice. Additionally, you can use a portable heater if you have one lying around in your garage.

It’s a quick and easy way to unfreeze a discharge pipe that is above ground and exposed. However, using a blow torch isn’t a good idea as it can easily damage your property if not properly handled. If you want to thaw out the line, it’s best to call a professional for this job.

2. Checking The Sump Basin Regularly

Regularly checking and testing the sump pump from time to time is a good way to prevent accidental motor burn out. This way, you will be able to quickly tell whether you have a frozen discharge pipe or not and prevent a costly damage repair.

3. Insulating Intake Section & Discharge Line

If the weather gets too cold during winter, make sure to insulate the intake section and discharge line to guard against freezing. There are two ways you can insulate them both.

A simpler method is to attach a large diameter pipe to the end of the sump hose. This leaves an air gap between the larger pipe and the hose creating a simple insulation. It’s also highly effective.

Another easy alternative is to cover the outside pipe with a natural insulator like a tarp or hay.

4. Prevention During Installation

If you are just installing a sump pump for the first time, get a smooth, freeze-resistant, and smooth hose. Also, the discharge pipe should be placed at a downward slope to prevent any standing water.


Freeze resistant sump pump hose is a must for the homeowners that are living in a winter climate. Additionally, you can also use a sump pump discharge line heater if you the capability to do so.

Anyways, there are a lot of methods out there that should help you prevent sump pump line freezing. Choose the one that you see fit and apply that. Keep a keen eye during winter because this is only time when a pump motor is truly in danger.

About the Author Juan Williams

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