It is important to have a working sump pump even in the winter. If your sump pump fails and the soil around your foundation thaws, it can give you a flooded basement. Basements usually don’t have much insulation, so they can be endangered by freezing temperatures. In addition to water from outside entering your home, pipes can freeze and burst or leak. Having a sump pump working its best is important.
As you probably remember from your grade school science class, cold air sinks and heat rises. This, in addition to the basement being surrounded by soil, is why this area is usually colder than the rest of your home. Most basements, especially unfinished ones, can be cold and damp the entire year.
This mixture of high humidity and low temperatures can cause your sump pump to freeze up. One way to prevent this to keep your furnace set to warm the house to at least 55° F. At this temperature, your discharge hose should be warm enough to prevent it from icing up.
The more water there is, the more your pump has to work. The more your pump has to work, the greater the chance for it to overheat and fail. If the discharge line is frozen, the pump will keep trying to empty the sump pit, but the water will be going nowhere. The sump pump will just keep running and running until the water is gone or the pump dies. You can help by keeping snow and ice from piling up against your foundation, which may melt and run down the foundation walls and into your basement.
Be diligent during the winter about keeping your basement dry to help your sump pump do its job efficiently and effectively.
Make sure that both sides of your sump pump are insulated. The discharge line sends the water out of the house, whereas the intake line collects the water and sends it to the sump pit. If either of these sections freezes up, the sump pump won’t be able to work correctly. The outcome could be a flooded basement and damaged property.
You can help prevent the lines from freezing. For the pipes or lines that are exposed, you can wrap them with heating tape or other pipe-warming methods. The discharge line should be buried, protecting it from freezing.
It’s a good idea to have a discharge hose that is big enough to handle the job. This goes for any time of the year, not just winter. If the line is too narrow, the water will not flow freely. In the summer, this can cause a back-up, lowering the efficiency of your sump pump. In the winter, the water can freeze more easily. Still water freezes faster than moving water, so make sure the water is flowing through the discharge pump.
No matter the time of year, it is important to protect your family, home, and belongings from a flooded basement. Water can cause structural damage, ruin stored items and furniture, and promote mold and pest infestations. Let the sump pump experts at Basement Masters Waterproofing help you with all of your basement drainage needs. Contact us today to learn more!
This post was originally published on 11/26/2018 and updated on 9/7/2021 for accuracy and a larger scope of information.