My tip for your sump pump drain

Last year, about this same time, I wrote an article about the importance of clearing snow from the curbsize drain that leads to your sump pump. We’re to get temps in the mid-30’s this week so it seems a good time to repost this article.

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Although the weather forecast isn’t calling for any days above freezing yet, we certainly hope that these FEET of snow go away eventually. When the melting begins, we’ll need to be ever present for potential damage to our homes.

I learned a lesson a few years ago regarding the exterior sump pump pipe. We had some melting days, but then the nights would cause refreezing. The drain that opens to the street was still packed with snow. This meant that the melting snow flowing into the inside sump pit couldn’t eject the water into the street. As a result, the water stayed in the ground pipe and froze. Once it froze, there was no where for the sump water to go.

A local news station had a report on how to fix this problem that apparently others were having as well. First step is to clear the snow from the curb drain so that when melting does start, there is a place for the flowing water to go.

sump pipeIf the drain from the house to the street is already blocked with frozen water, then you may need to unscrew the cap near the top of the sump pipe (see arrow in photo) to allow the water to eject. The TV station mentioned that there was a special extender that could be purchased at a store like Home Depot or Lowe’s that could be attached to the sump pipe to carry the water away from the home’s foundation. By the time I went to the store, they were all sold out so I had to jerry rig a 5-ft long piece of PVC pipe to expel the water away so that it wouldn’t just flow back down near the foundation, causing the sump pump to recirculate the same water over and over.

So, as you’re out shoveling the drive and sidewalks, you should also shovel the snow from the sump’s curb drain to allow the water to flow freely which might avoid having it freeze in the pipe to the house. When the chunk of ice on my drain finally thawed enough to flow out to the street, it was a nearly 30″ long cylinder of ice.

I learned my lesson and will be clearing that curb drain … just as soon as the snow plows quit piling it up again and again.

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