Skip to Main Content

Discharge Line

Most homeowners are aware of sump pumps, but they don’t know what discharge lines are and how they work. Learn all about them right here.

Get A Free Estimate

Installing a sump pump is one of the best ways to deal with basement floods. This device will remove water and direct it away from your home. It attaches to a pipe that we call a discharge line. In the following, we’ll discuss everything there is to know about sump pump discharge lines and why you should invest in one yourself.

Discharge Line

What Are Discharge Lines?

Discharge lines are pipes that link to your sump pump and direct water away from your home. They can be PVC or copper pipes. Nevertheless, professionals use PVC pipes as they are much sturdier than the other options available and don’t rust. Additionally, discharge pipes can be buried underground so as not to disrupt the aesthetics of your family home and landscaping.

The proper installation of a discharge line means that it will direct water as far as possible away from your foundation. However, lots of inexperienced homeowners and contractors leave them to dump the excess water right next to the structure. This then causes the water to pool in the home’s perimeter, backfiring and causing the same problems again and again. Hence, it’s essential to make sure your discharge line dumps the water as far as possible away from your home.

In a perfect scenario, you will be able to direct the water through a discharge line into a nearby stream or a street drain. Nevertheless, the discharge line should be installed in such a way that it causes water to run downhill, making backflows impossible. 

Discharge lines should also be deep in the ground so that they don’t freeze during cold winter days. As such, we suggest that you install it two feet below the frost line. If you don’t do so, it can freeze and clog, making it impossible for the sump pump to do its job.

How to Properly Install a Discharge Line

We should point out that installing a discharge line isn’t something you can do by yourself. It’s best to contact professional help in Michigan. The safety of your home and belongings is at stake, so it’s best to not risk it. 

The installation process will go something like this:

  • First, contractors will install a sump pump in the basement or crawl space and make sure it sits firmly on the floor.
  • Once they do that, they will connect a three or four-inch PVC pipe with the discharge hole on the sump pump using PVC cement or simply an adapter. To prevent airlocks, the contractors will drill a ¼-inch hole in the PVC pipe, six inches above the outlet.
  • Next, they will install a vertical check valve to prevent the water from going back into the sump pump.
  • After these three initial steps, contractors will drill a hole in the wall for the discharge pipe. They will connect a PVC pipe with adequate PVC cement so that the line goes towards the preferred dumping spot.
  • Once the pipe goes through the exit hole, the contractors will seal it with silicone caulk. By doing this, they will make sure that moisture, water, or pests can’t come into the basement or crawl space through openings created during installation.
  • The last step includes digging up a trench in the ground to place the drain pipe below the frost line.

Possible Sump Pump and Discharge Line Issues

For these appliances to work properly, you will need to make sure that the discharge line isn’t too narrow. If it is, it won’t be able to remove all the water that the sump pump is pumping out of the basement or crawl space. The lack of width will backfire and even make the pump fail in some cases.

Another possible issue to keep an eye out for is the discharge point. Dirt and debris can block it, making the water back up into your basement or crawl space. Moreover, during cold winter days, water can freeze there and clog the discharge line. You can eliminate this issue with the use of FreezeGuard attachment, helping the water drain outside without damaging the sump pump.

Besides the previous two problems, water can wash back down into your sump pit if the valve isn’t working properly. The valve is there to prevent water from falling back into the sump pit each time you turn off the pump. In case of a malfunctioning valve, the natural water and tear of the sump pump will increase, burning out the pump much earlier than in normal circumstances.

Public Sewage System and Discharge Lines

Some homeowners and contractors believe the most effective way to get rid of water from your basement is to redirect it into the sewers. But if every homeowner in your area would do so, the sewer system would simply collapse during heavy rains. Therefore, directing the water from sump pump discharge lines into public sewers is illegal nowadays.

In case you’re looking to waterproof your basement and install a sump pump, look no further than FSM. Our team provides service to the Detroit area, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and surrounding areas in Michigan. With our help, you’ll have a proper waterproofing system in your basement which will allow you to enjoy your home the way you should for years to come. So, schedule a free estimate right now and prevent water-related damage from endangering you and your family.

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

FSM Map 2

Proudly Serving Northern, Central and Southeastern Michigan & Northern Ohio

Grand Rapids Office

5985 Clay Avenue SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49548

Livonia Headquarters

32985 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150

Traverse City Office

3805 Elmers Industrial Drive
Traverse City, MI 49685