Sump pump running a lot in winter?
December 11, 2012 8:30 PM   Subscribe

Why is my sump pump still running this winter and how can I correct it?

So, we had a little warm spell including rain about three weeks ago, so I suspect that the ground is still a bit wet, and the water table is high, but the temperatures here in Winnipeg have been in the negative double digits celsius since then. So why is my sump pump still discharging every two hours or so?

There is no way to run a hose from the pump and keep it from freezing, so what I suspect is that the water is just discharging next to the foundation and going right back to the weeping tile. I thought the hard freeze would fix this, but so far, it hasn't.

What I'm trying to do now is leave the hose attached during the day to pump the water further away from the foundation when someone is home to listen for the pump in case the hose freezes, and then bring it indoors at night to de-ice in a utility sink. I can't think of any other solutions, and I'm concerned that maybe there is a leak somewhere that is causing the issue.

This is driving me nuts. Help!
posted by WinnipegDragon to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Self regulating heat tapes are pretty cheap both to procure and to run and I'm guessing any hardware store worthy of the name will have them in Winnipeg. I'd at least heat tape the hose so I wouldn't have to mess around with bringing it in nor worry about it freezing.

Ideally though you'd want to replace the hose with a suitable length of ridged pipe. A simple 2" pipe properly sloped and wrapped with insulation for the most part won't freeze up and if it does it is a lot easier to heat tape. Or take your existing hose and zip tie it to a length of 2x4 (after heat tracing it) and then wrap the whole thing in pipe wrap.

It can take weeks for the frost level to sink several feet despite double digit negative temperatures especially if the ground is covered with snow.

I'm not sure how to test or determine if your or a neighbour's water line is leaking.
posted by Mitheral at 8:44 PM on December 11, 2012

Is your basement totally finished? If there's more of a downslope on another side of the house, you could run the pump hose up to some ABS pipe (using an adapter and hose clamp) and run that pipe across the ceiling and out through the wall. It works well at our house, though I never went to the trouble of venting it properly (it makes a gurgling sound after it discharges).
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:59 PM on December 11, 2012

Response by poster: Basement is totally finished, I have a rigid pipe connection ejecting outside of the house about three feet above grade.

I'm going to try a ten foot run of rigid pipe outside. I should be able to put a good slope on it and insulate it. I'm just not sure about securing and supporting it but I should be able to rig something up for this winter.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:02 PM on December 12, 2012

Instead of a pipe, I would probably rig up some kind of sloping trough by nailing together a couple of 2x6s. Even if the water freezes, the next flush will just run over it.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:56 PM on December 12, 2012

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