Prep Your Sump Pump to Avoid Winter Worries

by on Tuesday, January 05, 2016 9:00:00 AM
Prep Your Sump Pump to Avoid Winter Worries

It's safe to say that winter has begun to creep into most of our lives. While the colder seasons brings lots of festivities and fun to look forward to, it also introduces a new range of risks and threats that homeowners must consider to keep their families, and properties safe. Cold weather can wreak havoc on the pipes in your home, making it more difficult for your sump pump to defend you against water damage.

While many families remember to bundle up their children and invest in warmer blankets as the winter months draw closer - most forget to prepare their homes to tackle the same cold weather. As the temperature falls, sump pump discharge lines can freeze, and the result can be thousands of dollars in damages. The best thing that you can do to protect your home this winter is take steps to ensure your sump pump keeps working optimally. The following prep tips should be helpful.

1.Inspect Your Sump Pump For Damages

First of all, preparing your home for winter starts with examining the equipment you already have. If the sump pump you're using clogged before the cold season began, then water may be trapped within the device. After all, as temperatures fall below freezing, the water within your system turns to ice, placing excess pressure on the mechanism. Though this ice may not be detrimental while the temperature remains low - when the ground begins to thaw, water will build up in your basement, and your sump pump may not be able to prevent flooding. Take the initiative and inspect your equipment for damages immediately. This may involve uncovering the sump pump to check inside.

2.Make Sure Water Pumps Away From Your Home

The primary purpose of a sump pump is to remove water from a specific area, but most homeowners fail to recognize whether that water pumps too close to their home. Having a water exit too close to your property can negate the effect of the pump, and encourage the water to drain back towards your house - making the situation worse. If you're unsure about your own system, then you may need to access the help of a professional, who can come out and inspect your equipment for you. On average, water should pump at least ten to twenty feet away from the foundations of your home, any less than this could prove dangerous.

3.Insulate Your Discharge Pipe

During the winter months, the ground or earth around your home creates a form of natural insulation that tends to keep it warmer than the air. One way to reduce the chances of your sump pump pipes freezing, is to bury the discharge hose within the ground below the frost-line, about half a foot below ground level. Some locations sell insulated pipes, but you might find that it is just as effective to wrap straw and heating tape around the pipes to help reinforce the insulation. Inside of your home, try to keep the sump pump in a location kept above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celcius). You could even use a thermostat to ensure that temperatures don't begin to drop.

4.Disconnect Or Extend the Exterior Sump Pump Hose

Many experts recommend that homeowners disconnect the exterior hose connected to their sump pump completely during the winter. This is one of the only ways to ensure that sitting water outside that could freeze the pipe if it were to be left connected, doesn't force your sump pump to work continuously, leading to a water backup in your basement. You could also consider using a larger diameter hose that helps to keep water flowing with the use of gravity.

If you're unsure what might work best for your particular circumstances, you might find that talking to an expert is helpful.

5.Make Sure You Have a Back-up Plan

Finally, to ensure that you're prepared in any scenario, always have a back-up plan in place. For instance, battery-powered engine pumps that attach to your sump pump can be an ideal solution in emergency circumstances - capable of running for as long as ten hours in a power outage. If your sump pump line becomes frozen - you could try to thaw it with portable heaters - but make sure that you don't use blow torches or excessive heat to warm the line.

Proper Prep Will Help With Winter Woes

Investing in the proper care and maintenance of your sump pump now could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Use the above tips to help keep your house and pipes secure as temperatures start to decline, and don't be afraid to ask the experts for advice.

What's your best solution when preparing your sump pump for the winter? Let us know in the comments below!

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