My house has a sump pump that rarely turns on (maybe once a year).

The sketch below shows the current outlet setup (blue line). The outlet at the house is only about 8" above grade. In winter, when there is snow on the ground, the final exit point can be buried in snow and I am not confident the pump would work properly if that's when it needed to turn on.

To address this, I would like to raise the final outlet from current 2" to about 18" (red line on sketch). Can I safely achieve this by: 1) cutting the current outlet, 2) adding an elbow 3) running a short vertical?

I live in Toronto, where winters get well below freezing, so my primary concern is standing water that will freeze the pipe solid.

This thread seems to describe a similar situation, but I think the idea there was the put the vertical riser at the end of the outlet (in the ditch area). It mentions that freezing concerns can be addressed by drilling a small drain hole in the elbow. Is that right?

For my proposed setup, even though it's a small hole, I am not sure it's a great idea to drain anything at the foundation line. So maybe I'd put the elbow at the front of the porch instead? But then I'd have the 4' horizontal pipe effectively need to drain out of that small hole?

I guess I am asking for some advice on the best way to deal with this situation. Ideally without having to relocate the outlet hole in the house foundation.


  • Is your front porch heated. I would not want standing water in that vertical section. It probably would not break the pipe but if it froze it would not be able to discharge.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 21:42
  • I share your concern about water freezing in the vertical section. The proposed small hole is going to guarantee moisture under the porch and bring the possibility of mold/mildew in warmer months. I would relocate the hole further up and maybe run the vertical inside instead of inside the wall (if in an area that aesthetics are not important). Why take a chance on creating new issues?
    – peinal
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 16:09
  • @Ed Beal - no, the porch is not heated. I think the idea for installing a small drainage hole is to mitigate this freezing risk. It's just that it causes potential for moisture under the porch. That being said, the pump is so rarely in use that I think that would be acceptable here.
    – Roberto
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 11:54
  • That would be my only concern. Just the heat from the house in an enclosed space will help it not freeze but I would keep an eye on it when the temps drop below the mid 20’s that’s when I see problems.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


Yes, your plan would work providing your sump pump can handle the extra head pressure, which it should.

Have you ever actually had a problem with this or is it the last thing to do on your "To do list"? I'm asking because I grew up in a house in the Midwest with the same layout as you have and we never worried about it. If the outlet was covered with snow and the sump pump actually needed to run, the water being ejected would be warm enough to melt any snow around the outlet pipe.

You could pick up a few inches by re sloping the horizontal pipe under the porch. You've got 6" of slope over a 4' distance, you could raise the utlet from 2" to 5".... Good luck

  • I don't know how you have determined that the pump "should" handle the extra static head when there is no info on the pump, distances etc. I have seen a 600HP pump come up 6" short of overcoming the static head in a pipe...
    – JRaef
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 2:09
  • 1
    @ JRaef Just my assumption after installing quite a few of them. Most have 19 to 20 ft of head.
    – JACK
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 13:00
  • @JACK - thanks. Admittedly, I have not had a problem with this. But the sump pump was specifically installed to supplement waterproofing work done on the house. So it's usage should be very rare - but most important on those slushy snowy days, precisely when the outlet is currently blocked. Just rather deal with this while the weather is warm than in the dead of winter and with water in my basement! :)
    – Roberto
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 11:51
  • @JRaef - yes, this pump is currently only lifting about 4' and has plenty of capacity.
    – Roberto
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 11:53

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