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Discharge Line

Maybe you are familiar with sump pumps, but do you know what the purpose of a discharge line is? Find out here!

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Every homeowner wants to avoid dealing with a flooded basement. However, not every homeowner wants to invest in a proper waterproofing system. Regardless of where you stand when on this issue, you need to realize that resolving the problem of a flooded basement (or any area in your home, for that matter) involves a lot more than just getting the water out of your house. Afterward, you will need to dry everything, from the floor to the ceiling, including the walls, furniture, and all the items you had stored in there. In addition, you could have a mold problem on your hands. Therefore, installing a sump pump could be money well spent. 

This appliance can remove water from your basement so it can be directed away from the house. This is where the discharge line comes into the picture. When the sump pump pumps out the water from the basement, it directs it through a pipe called the discharge line. Let’s take a closer look at this part of the waterproofing system. 

discharge line

What Is a Discharge Line? 

The discharge line can be a PVC pipe, a copper pipe, or even a garden hose. However, professional contractors use PVC pipes since they are sturdy and cannot rust. As mentioned, this pipe is connected to the sump pump, and it directs water outside. It can be buried in the ground so you cannot even see it, and when properly installed it should direct water as far from your foundation as possible. 

Unfortunately, a lot of homeowners and even companies just leave the discharge line dumping right next to the home’s perimeter. This is never a good solution since it can easily backfire. The water that has been discharged from the basement can pool near the foundation and, eventually, cause damage to your home. This is why it is important to direct it far enough away from the home. Some homeowners direct this line to the nearby stream or a street drain. In addition, the discharge line must run downhill, so you don’t have to worry about backflows. 

During the winter, the discharge line can easily freeze if it is not placed deep in the ground. It is recommended that the pipe is installed two feet below the frost line. But why is it important to avoid freezing? In winter, water in the pipe can easily freeze and clog it, which will prevent the sump pump from doing its job. 

Installing the Discharge Pipe 

If you wish to install a sump pump and discharge line in your home, contact professionals in your area. Since the safety of your home and its contents is at stake, you shouldn’t do this yourself. Leave it to the experts to waterproof your home and you will be at ease knowing that everything will work properly in case of flooding. 

When a professional installs the discharge pipe, they will follow these steps: 

  • The contractor will install a sump pump in your basement and make sure that it is positioned firmly on the ground. 
  • They will take a 3 or 4-inch PVC pipe and connect it to the discharge hole on your sump pump using PVC cement or an adapter. To prevent airlocks, a contractor will drill a ¼ inch hole on the PVC pipe six inches above the outlet. 
  • To prevent water from going back to the sump pump, a contractor will install a vertical check valve. 
  • When these steps are completed, they will make a hole in the wall for the discharge pipe. By connecting PVC pipes with PVC cement, the contractor will direct the discharge line towards the preferred dumping spot. 
  • When the pipe goes through the exit hole, the opening will be sealed with silicone caulk, so that moisture, water, or pests cannot enter the basement. 
  • Finally, a trench will be excavated so that the drainpipe can be placed underground. 

Possible Issues with Sump Pump Discharge Lines 

The discharge line shouldn’t be narrow, or it won’t be able to move out all the water that the sump pump is pumping out of the basement. If the pipe isn’t wide enough, it can lead to sump pump backups and failures. 

Another possible issue could be with the discharge point. This area is vulnerable to dirt and debris, so if it gets blocked it can cause water to back up. Also, frozen water can clog the discharge line. With a FreezeGuard™ attachment, water can escape from the sump pump discharge line and not damage the sump pump. 

If the water is washing back down into your sump pit, it is possible that the sump pump check valve is not working properly. This is a section of the discharge line that prevents water from falling back into the sump pit each time the pump shuts off. If this would happen the natural wear and tear of the sump pump would increase, and it would burn out much earlier than otherwise. 

Avoid Discharging Water into the Public Sewage System 

The easiest way to get rid of the water from the basement is to direct it towards the sewers. However, as most homeowners were all doing this, the sewers would become flooded with water from sump pumps during rainstorms. To minimize the pollution of waterways, directing sump pump discharge into public sewers became illegal. 

If you wish to waterproof your basement or you believe that there is something wrong with your sump pump or discharge line, don’t take the matter into your own hands. Instead, as a responsible homeowner, contact professional contractors in North Carolina. Experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems can provide a free inspection and recommend suitable solutions for your home. 

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