How To Unplug A Sump Pump Discharge Pipe

Construction & Contractors Articles

If you have a sump pump in your basement, then your home is probably relatively dry thanks to the device. However, if you see your sump pump pit overflowing with water, then you may suddenly have a flood on your hands. This type of incident occurs when the discharge pipe leading out of your home becomes clogged with debris. Keep reading to learn how this type of problem happens and how it can be fixed. 

How Does The Discharge Pipe Clog

The water that runs into your house from outside is typically made up of rainwater and water that has elevated from the water table. Both of these types of water can easily seep into the small cracks in your foundation. The water is rarely clean, and clay, silt, and other debris will enter your sump pump. Some of the larger pieces of matter are left in the sump pit, thanks to a filter grate on the bottom of the pump. However, the smaller particles will be forced out of the pit with the water. 

When water is forced up and out of your discharge pipe, a small device called a check valve helps to keep water from flowing back down into the sump pump. Most discharge pipes have a disc or swing valve where a small disc is forced open by the pressure of the released water. Unfortunately, debris can accumulate around this disc and keep it from opening fully. This will result in poor drainage and possible floods in your basement. 

Unclogging The Pipe

There are several ways to unclog the discharge pipe depending on the severity of the clog. However, it is difficult to determine the severity without inspecting the inside of the pipe, so start with the easiest clog removal strategy first. Locate the discharge opening and exterior drainage pipe. Remove the drain pipe so you have access to the discharge opening on the side of your home. Place a large funnel in the opening and pour about two to four cups of vinegar down into the pipe. The vinegar will help to dissolve the clog around the check valve. This is especially true if the formation is made out of clay, since clay is an alkaline material while vinegar is an acid. 

After pouring vinegar down the opening and waiting 30 minutes, start your sump pump to see if the clog has been dissolved. If water does not move through the discharge pipe, then you will need to move on to the use of a drain snake. Purchase a top snake that is about 25 feet long from your local home store. To complete clog removal, you will need to remove the drainage pipe from the sump pump. Use a screwdriver to remove the hose clamp attachment and gently pull the pipe out of the rubber hose fitting. Place the end of the snake in the lower part of the pipe, and use the hand crank to force the snake up into the opening.

You will feel a slight bit of pressure when the snake hits the check valve. Move the snake a little further beyond this point and then pull the snake out of the pipe. The clog may be seen on the end of the snake or it may be dislodged in the pipe. Reconnect the discharge pipe. Fill a 5 gallon bucket with warm water and two squirts of dish soap. Pour the water into the sump pit and turn the sump pump on to flush out the discharge pipe. 

If you are having difficulties with your sump pump flooding your basement, then it is likely that the discharge pipe is fully clogged. You will need to release the clog so your sump pump works properly again. If this does not work or if you are not confident about the repair, then contact your local plumbing professional, such as those at Aurora Plumbing and Electric Supply, Inc, for assistance. 

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