How to Avoid a Frozen Sump Pump in Winter?


We cannot deny the importance of having a good and running sump pump throughout the year, more so during winter. While it is expected for homeowners to maintain their sump pump 365 days a year, we can say that more attention is needed for winter. This is because the temperature drops in this season and may end up freezing your sump pump until it no longer does its function. A blocked sump pump or an overflowing sump pump because of blockage due to freezing can be problematic and hard to fix.

frozen sump pump

Effective Ways to Prevent Sump Pump Freezing in Winter

Instead of going through the trouble of fixing a frozen sump pump during winter or shelling out a huge sum of money to have it fixed, try a few or all of the steps mentioned here below.

  • Strategize your sump pump’s location

This may sound basic to you but this has proven to be effective for most sump pump owners. When deciding where to put your sump pump upon purchase or during installation, it is recommended that you place it in an area where it does not get too exposed to cold air. Since the air during winter can cause your pump to freeze, it is wise to strategize its location or invest in covers to keep insulation stable. It may help to cover it with materials such as tarpaulins or hay, depending on what’s available. Make sure to keep your pipes covered and unexposed too for smooth sump pump operation 24/7.

  • Invest in Larger Pipes

You may not see the need for it in summer, fall, or spring. However, larger pipes during winter can prove to be more effective even when your pipes get a bit frozen. This does not remove the tendency of your pipes or pump freezing but it can slow it down and keep it working at least for a while. Since larger pipes are harder to completely fill in water, the chances of water freezing there will only be in a certain portion but will not occupy the entire diameter of the pipe.

frozen sump pump

  • Proper Insulation of Waterflow

Apart from focusing on the exterior part of your sump pump, you also have to consider acting on the content circulating through the machine. This means creating a means of insulation for the water that flows in and out of the pump. With the fact that the water is insulated as it flows through the pump, there is a lesser likelihood of your pipes completely freezing during winter.

  • Maintain Movement

There will be times where a sump pump may not operate because of the lack of water to pump out. In this case, make sure to keep regular checks and pumping. A sump pump is more likely to freeze if there is less to no movement at all. This may also lead to blockages developing or malfunctioning. In any case where you notice freezing, simply flush out water and have the pump operating. This is best done with water that is insulated as it helps in defrosting the parts that have gone chilly and frozen.

  • Maintain Distance between the Discharge Area and Hose

When setting up or installing your sump pump, make sure to keep your discharge hose a little farther from your discharge area. This is because it may cause issues to your pump’s overall integrity over time and it may lead to the hose freezing especially during winter. As long as you keep wastewater far from your discharge hose, you are less likely to have problems during the cold seasons.

  • Make Peace with Gravity

Gravity is a constant and a huge game-changer for a lot of things in our lives. So instead of going against it, we should make peace with it and utilize it in ways that would make our lives more convenient. A good step to take would be to position your sump pump in a space or location that is on a slight slope. This orientation will facilitate water movement and prevent it from freezing during winter.

  • Ensure Proper Drainage

Apart from strategizing the area of your sump pump location, you also have to keep your drainage into consideration. Since water tends to freeze in the winter, you have to make sure that your pump is at a distance from your drainage area and that your hose is not submerged in it. Having a hose discharging wastewater into a frozen drainage area will make it hard for your machine to function. This can lead to overheating and might cause your machine to malfunction. When this happens, there is a high chance of flooding and causing water damages to your property.

  • Practice Regular Sump Pump Maintenance

Having an unmaintained sump pump can be problematic, more so if the winter season comes. To make sure you are spared of unnecessary trouble and expense when the time comes, make sure to do basic maintenance in terms of checking and replacing or repairing parts that are damaged or vulnerable to destruction. Having parts that are slightly frozen or on the verge of freezing will make it hard to reverse and address the issues that may arise.

  • Have a Back-up Prepared

We cannot tell when a total freeze will happen to your sump pump. So to make sure your property does not get compromised because of the downtime, make sure to have extra discharge pipes and hoses ready. Have this prepared and lined up in an area that is different from your mainline because the chances of your mainline being unavailable for use is high.


A sump pump is an essential part of a home. It functions to spare you from problematic situations that may end up draining your energy, time, and resources. As a homeowner with this device, you have to know how to properly manage and keep it in good shape in all seasons. This is most important during the winter season. So make sure to include a few or all of the steps mentioned above in your preparation.

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