Drain in Driveway. How do I stop it from freezing in winter?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Zombateen, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Zombateen

    Zombateen New Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Hi and thanks in advance for all the great solutions!

    I live in Toronto and it still gets pretty cold here despite global warming. I have a drain - you could call it a sump - in the driveway near the house. About 1' square and maybe 2.5' deep. The "take-out" pipe is 4" abs with a
    180 bend. The whole sump freezes solid - which is fine until we have one of those sudden midwinter thaws or a rainstorm. Then all the water has nowhere to go and the driveway becomes a pool which inevitably freezes and becomes a rink. And the mailman won't deliver.
    I have, in the past, wrapped that heated cable stuff (intended for eavestroughs I think) round a sturdy piece of pipe to make a kind of crude immersion heater. It works well enough but the thermostats on those things tend to be a bit iffy and it has let me down. It also looks pretty awful. Before I make another one, does anybody have a better idea? I can't believe it's such a rare problem but no-one at the Home Despot or anywhere else seems to have a solution.

  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Make the sump deeper so the bottom is well below the frost line might help. My guess is that the frost line could be around 4-5 feet (say 1.3M) or more. You should be able to find that out. My thought is that as the ground freezes, any water that gets in there has nowhere to go. Maybe, if you can get to it, redo it so that there are some drain pipes going out from the bottom so that it has a chance to percolate into the ground. A much more expensive option would be to go through the trouble to make a connection to the town's storm sewer (if there is one on your street), but the permitting, and tearing up would be extensive which is why that would cost a bunch.
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  4. MG

    MG New Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    Illinois - Near St. Louis
    Maybe a small pond or farm trough heater? You'd have to be careful w/one though - they draw a good amount of wattage.
  5. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Morton Water softener salt

    just try a bag of water softener salt....

    if you keep salt in the drain it might keep the
    trap from freezing up solid...

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