Is The Pop Up Emitter Freezing? (Here's What You Can Do)

Eli Smith
by Eli Smith
Pop up emitters are necessary in many cases, but it can create major problems when they freeze. You can prevent freezing in several ways, but installing a heating system is the most reliable method. Whether you regularly clean them or install a heating system, follow along as we explore how to keep pop up emitters from freezing.

If you are familiar with pop up emitters, you have probably heard horror stories about them freezing. This freezing can potentially cause backup issues in your downspout, which might damage them. So how can you prevent your pop up emitter from freezing?

If your pop-up emitter is freezing, you can install a heating system to warm the metal and keep anything from icing over. You can also take winter as an extra opportunity to regularly clean your pop-up emitter. These devices are less likely to freeze if they have nothing to freeze on.

Below, we will be getting into further details on ensuring your pop up emitter will not freeze. We will compare pop up emitters with other options available.

Do You Need to Hire a Plumber?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

What Are Pop Up Emitters?

Pop up emitters are connected to your drainage downspout to relocate water, so it does not flood your yard. The emitter is buried into the ground and is flush with the ground level.

They are a substitute option to grates and daylighting your pipes. Both have their advantages, but pop-up emitters only stay open when water is running through them. As a result, they are great for draining while keeping out debris.

The pop-up portion of their name comes from when they pop up from the ground level. They react to any incoming water, automatically responding by popping up. They also have a small amount of drainage beneath to prevent themselves from being overwhelmed. These are called weep holes and are with all pop-up emitters.

If you purchase one, that means you want to relocate your water into a nearby gutter. Be sure that local homeowner’s associations will allow you to install one before going forward. Most of them will likely prefer pop-up drains due to them having a low visual footprint.

Heating Your Downspouts To Prevent Your Pop Up Emitter From Freezing

Your first option in preventing downspouts and pop up emitters from freezing is installing a heating cable or heat tape. Keep in mind that this will not be effective if your downspout and emitter already have ice.

You could potentially wait for the temperature to rise, but this will result in potential damage to your gutter system. In the worst-case scenario, your gutter system can collapse under the weight of the ice.

There are a small handful of companies that offer heated wiring systems that they can run through your gutters. Like heat tape, they wrap their way around and run along channels to ensure that any potential ice melts before it becomes a problem.

Check out your local hardware store for self-regulating heat cables. The heat cables do not go directly in the emitter, but they affect all water going towards the emitter.

You can typically pick up a cable at Lowes, Home Depot, or any local hardware store. Search for brands like AHB in the store section that concerns gutters.

How Do You Clean A Pop-Up Yard Drain?

Because self-regulating heating cables should not stretch to the pop-up emitter, you will still need to manage it to prevent freezing. The only real way to manage the pop-up emitter itself is through regular maintenance and cleaning.

Cleaning typically is done with a garden hose fished into the downspout. The pop-up drain will typically respond to forcefully inserted clean water by letting it out. It should include any debris. If it is still giving you difficulty draining, you will need to remove your pop-up emitter and dig out any contents.

A pop-up emitter can’t freeze if there is nothing on the surface of it. Because of this, by checking it every week or month to remove the moisture from it, you will avoid pop-up emitters freezing

Alternatives To Pop-Up Drains

If you need a method for draining but don’t like pop-up drains, there are two additional options on the market. These options are daylighted pipes and grates. Below, we will get into some advantages and disadvantages behind them.

Pop-Up Emitter vs. Daylight

If you have the option, you can also choose to daylight your pipes. Daylighting is just a fancy term for laying out a standard pipe connected to your downspout. That pipe is typically pointed towards the gutter to handle drain-off.

Daylighting your pipes is an excellent option if you don’t want to worry about your pop-up emitters flying off during heavy rainstorms. However, some communities and homeowner’s associations do not allow you to daylight your pipes.

Daylighting your pipes could also potentially have debris come into the line. Given that it is open, there is a higher likelihood of dirt, bugs, and other nasty stuff from getting inside. Also, daylighting is typically pretty ugly if you are going for a modern aesthetic.

Always be aware of where you are draining your water. Talk with your neighbors before daylighting if this is something you choose to do.

Pop-Up Emitter vs. Grate

Another happy middle you can choose comes from installing grates. Like pop-up emitters, grates can be at the end of your downspouts to direct water towards a gutter.

Gutters tend to be more open than pop-up emitters, meaning that they disburse water with a larger opening. However, you often have more significant difficulties directing that water since it is a directionless grate. Depending on where you place your grate, this may not be an issue. Both of these options work in different ways.

Grates also don’t have any way to close the entryway. As a result, there is a high likelihood of debris falling in there. With too much waste in the grate and pipe, they can quickly become ineffective.

Do You Need to Hire a Plumber?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

How Much Slope Do You Need For A Pop-Up Emitter?

The smaller the diameter of the pipe, the more massive slope it will need to ensure water flow. The minimum pitch needs 5 inches for every ten feet for the smallest lines (2 inches).For detailed instructions, consult information included with your pop-up emitter. They typically have basic instructions on installation.

How Deep Can A Pop-Up Drain Be?

Some local government agencies have rules against how deep your piping can be. Check with local ordinances if you aren’t sure, but most locations aren’t going to care.Ensure that if you are burying this pipe that it lines up in such a way where it can easily sync up with the ground level near the gutter. Keep in mind that you need your pop-up emitter to be flush with your ground. So if you install your pipe too deep, it will not drain properly.

How Do You Clean Blocked Underground Drain?

If you want to mitigate the appearance of drains and pipes on your yard, pop-up emitters typically come with underground drains. However, cleaning underground gutters can be a bit tricky.Much like with your indoor pipes, you can clean any blockages using a drain snake. In this case, your drain snake is going to break up the materials you find in there.After you feel it is easier to move around, run water through the drain with a garden hose to force the smaller debris. If it is still giving you problems at this point, you may have to remove the pipe.

Related Guides

Eli Smith
Eli Smith

I'm a guy who becomes the expert of whatever I stumble upon, writing-wise. I've written tons about cool home products, home improvement, and smart technology in the home. I'm also the proud father of a kiddo born on new years, making my holidays very busy.

More by Eli Smith