What is a Sump Pump Discharge Pipe and How Does it Work?

November 24, 2021


Your sump pump is a complex machine made up of different moving parts, and if any of them were to fail or break your basement could be in serious jeopardy of flooding.

With that in mind, it can be important for sump pump owners to fully understand the function and importance of their different sump pump parts. So, in case you were wondering, or needed to know, here is what the sump pumps discharge pipe does, and how it works within your waterproofing system.

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

Cleaned sump pump units

If you are reading this article after having an issue with your sump pump for the very first time, or have no prior knowledge or experience with sump pumps, you might not fully understand how a sump pump contributes to the waterproofing system in your basement.

Simply put, your sump pump is a place that encroaching water in your basement is directed to, and then pumped out of your basement from. The process happens like this: Water is collected and directed towards the sump pump via a perimeter drainage and channel system that is built into your cavity drainage protection.

The water trickles into the sump pump storage tank, which is exactly as it sounds; a tank designed to hold water until the flushing mechanism is triggered once the water in the tank reaches a certain level. Once the tank reaches a certain capacity, a floating switch will be triggered which causes the sump pump to empty that storage tank, pumping the collected water away from your property into surface water sewers, or whatever approved dispersion method your pump is connected to.

It’s as simple as that. Sitting at the lowest point in your basement (often sunk into the ground itself), the sump pump is vital in keeping your basement dry. If for any reason, your sump pump was unable to flush and clear the water in the storage tank you could easily find yourself in a situation where a leak is sprung, and flooding is borne out of the sump pump itself.

This is why it’s vital to maintain a healthy, working sump pump.

What Is a Sump Pump Discharge Pipe?

The discharge pipe on a sump pump is the mechanism which allows for the expulsion of the collected water away from the property and into the connected drainage.

The discharge pipe is connected to the sump pump itself, and is often submerged, or jutting out just above the ground to connect to the drainage in your area.

How Does a Sump Pump Discharge Pipe Work?

The pipe itself is a means for the collected water to be flushed out into the storm sewers, or other drainage. This occurs when the water tank reaches a capacity that triggers the sump pumps float switch, which turns on the pump and pushes the water out through the discharge pipe and away.

An important aspect here is the sump pump discharge valve. The check valve acts as a plug which stops water that has been pumped out your sump pump from pouring right back down the discharge pipe once the pump has been turned off.

The discharge pipe itself will need to be long enough to connect your sump pump to the sewer, natural waterway or other exit point for the water (providing that the drainage has been approved). Once the water has travelled through the discharge pipe and exited into drainage then its no longer a potential problem in your property, and the sump pumps job is done.

How Can a Sump Pump Discharge Pipe Fail?

Just like any machinery, one part failing could contribute to the downfall of the entire system. The sump pump discharge pipe is the final exit point of the water in your sump pump, so you want to make sure that water is always able to exit safely, otherwise you could have a flooded basement on your hands.

One potential discharge pipe fault that could lead to your sump pump failing is a broken or leaky check valve. If the check valve is incapable of keeping water from draining back down into your sump pump once it has been pumped up into the discharge pipe, then you may well experience a burned out pump.

This is because if the water were to pour back into your sump pump, the pump may turn back on (or never turn off), resulting in the motor working constantly to pump water that simply will not exit your discharge line. If the motor breaks, then no water is going to be discharged, and your sump pump could easily flood.

Another potential reason for the discharge pipe failing is a blocked pipe. This might happen for a number of reasons. You might find that your discharge pipe has frozen inside during the winter, or even that errant tree or plant roots have managed to break into the pipe and block it entirely.

Either way, a blocked pipe means you could face a potential burst, or even a huge backup in your sump pump. Either is going to be a disaster for your property, so you will want to make sure that if you do have a blockage within your pipes, you alert the specialists and have it seen to as soon as possible.

To that end, the Basement Sump and Pump Co are able to help. Our technicians can arrange a sump pump servicing schedule with you to limit the chances of your sump pump wearing out or issues occurring with the discharge pipe, and they can even organise a drainage survey to check for any potential blockages or clogs.

Just call 0800 019 9949 or get in touch online today to talk to our expert team and protect your sump pump.


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