How to keep a sump pump hose from freezing

Written by catherine bowers
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How to keep a sump pump hose from freezing
Prepare your basement sump pump exit pipe before winter to avoid freezing. (new home image by Shannon Workman from

Sump pumps are essential appliances because they keep water from pooling in homes with basements. During the winter months, there is a risk that the sump pump's external pipe will freeze if the outdoor portion of the pipe is not situated or prepared correctly. There are several things that almost any homeowner can do to prepare the sump pump's pipe for the winter months to prevent freezing and damage to either the pump or the home itself.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Check to make sure the exit point for water being expelled is between 10 to 20 feet away from your foundation. Add additional length to the hose if necessary by connecting some freeze-resistant pipe to the end.

  2. 2

    Ensure that the exit point for the water is lower than the sump pump. Letting gravity do some of the work aids in preventing freezing.

  3. 3

    Bury as much of the hose as possible below the frost line. Insulate any exposed portions of the hose with electrical tape and straw.

  4. 4

    Attach a hose with a larger diameter to surround the current hose with a pipe clamp and some wire; leave an air gap around the top of the pipe so it will drain before it freezes. Use this method especially if burying the hose is not possible.

  5. 5

    Add a discharge line protector to your exit pipe; you can buy a device that is installed where the pipe exits the house, which performs essentially the same function as leaving an air gap around the top of the pipe in the previous step. Use this method especially if your hose is already buried.

  6. 6

    Landscape around your home to make sure it has proper grading so that water will flow away from your foundation during precipitation and melts; even if you're not currently experiencing rain or snow, a melt and refreeze can cause a frozen hose if water isn't flowing away far enough from the foundation.

  7. 7

    Install a battery backup powered sump pump; that way, if the electricity goes out, your sump pump still operates properly and water can flow normally, preventing water build-up in any weather condition.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't use antifreeze in the crock of your sump pump; this substance is extremely toxic for pets and children.

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