How to Winterize a Trash Pump

water pump with hose in a pond
  • 1-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-1,500
What You'll Need
WD 40 or other light oil
Industrial cleaner, non-corrosive
Duct tape
Suction pump, electric or manual
Trash pump engine oil
Old cotton sheet or several old cotton towels
Twine or rope

A trash pump is used to move water from around a business or home. Trash pumps are designed to move any type of water no matter how thick with debris. Most have special screens that don't let anything too large pass through it. Since a trash pump moves water, it's important to take the time to properly winterize it. Winterizing a trash pump will increase its life and reduce the chance of water freezing inside of it and damaging it. Follow these steps to winterize a trash pump.

Step 1 - Drain the Trash Pump

Water can't be left in the trash pump if the ambient temperature dips below 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Before draining the pump make sure it has cooled off completely. Depending on the size and type of pump, this could take several hours. Remove the drain plug. You'll find it in the pump casing. It's easily accessible and should require no special tools to open. Allow gravity to drain out most of the water. Then tilt the unit, if it's small enough, to pour out the remainder of the water. Larger units may need to be left for a few days with the drain plug open to allow the final drops of water to completely evaporate.

Step 2 - Clean the Pump

Take off the pump cover. Clean the cover as well as the inside of the pump housing to remove any debris or grease. You can use an industrial cleaner if there's a lot of debris. Or you can simply use a bucket of warm soapy water created by using a quality dish detergent. Wipe completely dry. Then air dry to make sure there's no moisture to reduce the chance of rust or corrosion. Once you're sure everything is thoroughly dry, carefully coat the inside of the pump with a light oil to help reduce corrosion and rust. Only coat the inside pump with a light film and don't use any heavy oil.

Step 3 - Secure the Ports

Use duct tape, or other heavy duty tape, to secure the discharge and suction ports. This will prevent anything from falling into the pump including insects looking for a warm place to escape from the cold.

Step 4 - Change the Engine Oil, Drain Gas

Use a suction pump to remove all the old oil from the engine. Pour fresh oil into the engine compartment using a funnel. If you're not sure specifically what type of oil to use, check the owner's manual or consult staff at a local hardware store. Remove the air filter and dispose of it. Place a note with masking tape on the unit reminding you there is no air filter if you think you might forget and automatically use it.

Unscrew the fuel tank cap and remove any remaining fuel.

Step 5 - Prepare for Storage

Smaller residential units can be wrapped in an old cotton sheet or big old cotton towels. Use twine or rope to secure. Then wrap the padded unit in a tarp. Store the unit in a dry, clean area.