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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Pacocha

Reducing the Risk of Ice Blocked Drain Pipes

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

It's not until extremely cold, sub-freezing winter temperatures set in, that water and/or melting snow can freeze just about instantly.

Whether it be downspout pipes, sump pump drains or even high efficiency furnace exhaust venting, proper installation and routine maintenance will provide for years of trouble-free winter operation.

Ice Forming at End of Aluminum Downspout

1). Downspout Pipes: Avoid improper (negative) slope of downspout pipe located at ground level. Install roof-top gutter guards (as/if needed) to avoid debris from entering gutters and downspouts. If ice dams along edge of roof and/or downspout blockage from ice build up is a continuous problem, consider installing a thermostat controlled heated cable system to ensure ice melts in a controlled manner, thereby allowing water to freely flow away from home to surrounding area.

2). Sump Pump Drains: Avoid improper (negative) slope of discharge pipe located at ground level. To avoid complete ice blockage, do not extend small diameter drain pipes above grade (prone to quickly freezing) with minimal to no slope. Use the largest drain pipe possible (4" minimum pipe diameter recommended) when extending and burying sump pump drains. Always use an air-gap to allow water to discharge if buried/extended drain pipe becomes blocked.

Flexible Sump Pump Pipe Extension With NO Positive Drainage Slope

3). High-Efficiency Furnace Exhaust Venting: Install exterior vent pipe at manufacturer recommended height above ground level. Routinely monitor area (if at/near ground level - in particular) to physically remove problematic snow and ice from accumulating at outlet point. Apply ice melt (if needed) at ground level, where icicles tends to form. Consult an HVAC professional to evaluate your unique situation and suggest modern day long-term improvements.

Icicles Forming Below High Efficiency Furnace Exhaust

During long cold winters, try to walk around your property routinely (at least once per week) to scout for ice related problems. With a little effort, long term success can be had and ice damage can be kept to a minimum. Contact your friends at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or property care needs you may have.

Thank you for visiting our blog and have a great day!

Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.


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