How to Clean a Blocked Sump Pump Line

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A blocked sump pump line will not allow water to discharge from the sump pump and the water may overflow the sump pump basin. In addition, when the sump pump tries to push water through the line the motor will overheat reducing the life of the sump pump. It is not hard to clean out the line, but it will require a few hours to complete the task.

Things You'll Need

  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Screwdriver
  • Plumbing snake
  • Garden hose
  • Narrow nozzle with pressure setting for garden hose
  • Replacement band for sump pump hose

Inspect the end of the sump pump line and, if it has a screen to prevent rodents from nesting in the line, remove the screen.

Disconnect the sump pump from the power source. Unplug the unit or turn off the breaker at the breaker box if the sump pump is wired to the electrical system.

Remove standing water from the pump basin with a wet/dry vacuum. If the sump pump has solid pipe plumbing, disconnect the pipe from the discharge pipe on the pump after removing water.

Remove the sump pump from the basin by a handle or the hose. Never lift a sump pump by the cord or float switch.

Unscrew the band that secures the pump to the discharge pipe, if the sump pump is connected to a hose-type discharge line. Turn the screw on the band with a screwdriver to loosen the band and remove the hose. If the line is vertical indoors, disconnect from the outside and clear the exterior line first.

Insert a plumbing snake into the blocked sump pump line to loosen the blockage in the line. Remove the plumbing snake. If your sump pump line has a check valve, unscrew and rinse the check valve and insert the plumbing snake after removing the check valve.

Use a hose with a nozzle that has a full stream setting and run water through the line. Check the end of the discharge line for debris from flushing out the line. Check the water flow to see if it is the same rate as what is entering the line from the hose.

Remove the hose and reinsert the plumbing snake to be sure to remove as much of the blockage as possible. Remove the snake and repeat flushing the line with the hose. Re-install the check valve if applicable.

Install a new band on the end of the sump pump line. Place the sump pump line back on the discharge pipe on the sump pump. Tighten the band by turning the screw to secure the discharge line to the sump pump.

Place the sump pump back into the sump pump basin. Reconnect solid plumbing if needed. Then plug in, or turn the breaker on, to restore power to the sump pump.

Tips & Warnings

  • Install a new screen, or replace the old screen, at the end of the discharge line to prevent rodents from nesting in the sump pump line. Wrap a piece of screen around the end of the pipe and secure with a pipe band.
  • Ensure that the electrical supply is disconnected to the pump before removing from the pump basin. Lift the float switch to be sure the pump cannot turn on.
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