How To Tell If French Drain Is Working
To determine if your French drain is working properly, look for signs of basement leaks or standing water in areas that are typically drained. For a closer look, remove some of the gravel that your French drain is buried in. If there is standing water visible in the drainage ditch, your French drain is not working properly. A good test of functionality is to uncover your French drains termination point to see if water is exiting the drainpipe as intended.
Snake Or Hose Out Outdoor Drains
If youve ever used a snake to unclog indoor drains, you can try the same approach with outdoor drains. The only caveat is that snakes are relatively useful for clogs like leaves and twigs that can be grabbed and pulled out en masse theyre not so good with clumped dirt and mud. For dirt or mud, you might need a professional to use a hydro-jet or other method to clear the blockage.
Check For Basement Flooding
In many cases, French drains are installed around foundations to prevent water from flooding the basement. If your basement walls are leaking, or if you see signs of mold and mildew in your basement, theres a good chance your French drain isnt working properly.
- Check your basement for leaks, wet walls, moisture, mildew, and mold.
- Water infiltration in the basement is a sign that your French drain isnt working.
If your French drain isnt positioned to protect your basement, or if your home doesnt have a basement, ignore this step and proceed to physically checking the condition of your drain.
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Does Water Sit In A French Drain
Water can flow through the French drains. Water runs into a gravel-filled trench, then into perforated pipe at the bottom of the trench. Water travels freely through the pipe, which empties a safe amount of water into the sewer system. In some areas, however, the drainage system is not as efficient as it could be.
In this case, it may be necessary to build a new sewer line to carry the excess water. This can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if the new line is located in an area that is prone to flooding.
Cleaning The French Drain
Cleaning should be a regular activity. Plan a schedule and stick to it. Cleaning keeps the drain functional for long and helps it stay clear. French drains are cleaned through the snaking process, which requires the use of an electric sewer to remove accumulated debris.
You can do it yourself or seek the services of a professional. However, the electric sewer snake is massive, so you need help. To avoid unclogging the French drain poorly, it is advisable to sacrifice some money and get it done by experts. Carefully follow the following steps to clean your French drain:
Choose one end of your French drain. Find a hole where the drain begins. Select the highest point of your yard if you are not sure where your drain starts
Youll quickly get the drain cleaned if you follow these steps keenly. Although it is a simple process, be patient because it may take time to clear the entire drain. A large drain may take a few hours.
The process may be complicated if youve not been cleaning your drainage on a regular basis. If that is the case, its advisable to seek the assistance of a qualified plumber.
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Assess The Condition Of The Drain Regularly
French drains arent meant to be installed and forgotten about. Just like other types of drains, they are susceptible to clogging over time.
Ideally, clean the French drain once every year. Test it by flooding the French drain to gauge its effectiveness when it comes to draining the excess water.
First, youll need to locate the ground-level access point of your French drain. Depending on its design, the ground-level access can be either the end of a gutter downspout, a grate sticking out, or simply a pipe above ground.
Once youve located any one of those, youll need to remove the cap and run a hose down the pipe. Does the water back up? If it does, then your French drain is definitely blocked.
Advantages Of French Drains
A French drain can be a blessing for your land or home. They have several advantages.
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Use A Pressure Washer To Clean The Drain
This is arguably the easiest way to clean a French drain. Its usually effective and wont damage the pipes. Ideally, you should be doing this once a year.
All you need to do is place the pressure washer nozzle in the pipe and blast some water down it. If the debris isnt solid, the pressurized water should help break it down and push it out.
Why You Should Consider Professional Installation For Your French Drain
As you can see, many things can go wrong when installing a French drain. Also, these are only the most common French drain installation mistakes.
There are many more ways to foul a French drain installation. Accordingly, it might prove wise to hire an experienced professional for the job.
An incorrectly installed French drain can cause water to collect in your home. For example, it can lead to seasonal flooding in your basement.
Its especially important to seek the help of a professional if the French drain will run close to your home. Here, the French drain could affect the natural runoff pattern of your property. If not executed perfectly, the drainage system can do more harm than good.
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French Drain Inspection By Camera
A camera inspection allows for a real-time visual inspection of your foundation’s drainage system. A flexible fiber optic cable with a high-resolution video camera is inserted into the french drain or pipe for inspection. As the cable is guided through the drain the camera visually records its travels, revealing any clogged or broken pipes. The video and images are simultaneously being transmitted to the camera operator who can choose to make a recommendation on the spot or save the footage to be reviewed at a later time.
The condition of a french drain or pipe typically cannot be determined without a visual inspection using an in-line camera
Video camera inspections can be used to identify french drain or pipe damage, along with obstructions that can reduce water flow and repeatedly create backups. After a completed repair and maintenance, camera inspections also verify that obstructions have been eliminated and that your drainage system is clog free.
They Dont Work In All Types Of Soil
Most importantly, French drains wont work in all parts of the country. There are three types of dirt possible on your property: loose dirt made of sand particles, average dirt made of loam , and compacted, heavy dirt made of clay particles.
Clay soil is dense and doesnt let water move through it easily, so rain pools around the surface as runoff slowly seeps into the ground.
French drains work best in dirt that drips water into the perforated pipe. Since clay soil absorbs and retains moisture easily, its much less likely to release water into the drain than, say, sandy soil.
If you live in an area with clay soil where it rains a lot like Seattle, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Chicago, or pretty much anywhere in Georgia, to name a few a French drain is probably a good way to blow a few thousand dollars.
Take a look at this individual who basically wasted $25,000 having a French drain installed that didnt work because of clay soil:
Even if you have the ideal sandy soil for a French drain, you might still be out of luck if the area is poorly drained. When land is poorly drained, it means the water underground is close to the surface for one reason or another, so rain and melting snow have little room to soak into the ground before it backs up.
If you live on a property that just doesnt drain well, water will fill your drainpipe because it has nowhere to drain. You now have a very expensive collection tube for standing water that will still damage your foundation.
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How To Clean And Maintain A French Drain
French drains offer an effective way to prevent water from building up and accumulating in troublesome areas, such as around basements, garages, driveways, crawl spaces or areas throughout the yard. This simple drainage system can easily redirect the flow of water and prevent a water backup from leaking into your basement or otherwise damaging your home.
With the name French drain, you may assume that the drains originated in France. They were actually developed by an American farmer with the last name French as a way to improve water drainage on his land. French discussed his drain system in a book he wrote and others quickly began to take note and employ the drains themselves.
However, to maintain this yard drainage system, its important to understand drain cleaning and know DIY tips to prevent blockages from forming. This article will show how to take care of the French drains around your property.
Misdirecting The Pipe Holes
Some homeowners mistakenly point the holes in the pipe sideways. However, theres a logic to this error.
They want the water to filter as far away from their house as possible. Accordingly, theyll point the holes away from their home. However, thats not how water works.
Instead, the holes of the pipe should face down. You want to keep the water level in the French drain as low as possible. The only way to achieve this effect is by pointing the pipe drain holes down.
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Sump Pumps French Drain Problem
French drains installed on the interior of the home for lower flooding require a sump pump to run correctly. This pump extracts the water outside and into the drain.
Unfortunately, a pump contributes to the expense of installation, and many lower-end pumps have a brief life-span. Pumps set up without a battery backup will not operate in the time of a power outage.
How Do You Dissolve Mud In A Drain
Solid fats and mineral deposits accumulate from urine, hard water, scale, and rust, so hydrochloric acid works to destroy them. Old buildings accumulate plaster, ground, and concrete deposits because of the acid. The acid can also be used as a disinfectant to kill germs and bacteria. It is also used to clean and sanitize food preparation surfaces and utensils, as well as to remove grease and grease-like substances from food and beverage containers.
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How To Unclog Outdoor Drain Pipes And Prevent Damage
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Proper grading can go a long way toward preventing issues with standing water in outdoor spaces, but for flatter expanses, you may also need a suitable outdoor drainage system to siphon away water and protect landscaping from flooding and subsequent damage. Even so, you may periodically experience issues like outdoor drain and French Drain pipes clogged with dirt and debris that causes backups and flooding.
Not Enough Slope Or Bellies In Drainpipe
A horseshoe shape, or belly, in a corrugated pipe can lead to a clogged downspout. When water goes down the line, it will sit at the bottom of that horseshoe shape.
Corrugated pipe gets a bad rap for this. Its flexibility makes it easy to leave a belly in the line. But the pipe is not the problem. The problem is not digging deep enough to create a slope.
Imagine the corrugated pipe going under the sidewalk and back up, creating a u-shape or belly. That setup is just asking for a clogged drainpipe. Not only is water sitting at the bottom, but the belly is causing the velocity of that water to slow down. Slower velocity means not as much power to push out anything trapped in the line. Its not the setup you want for your system.
The key to properly installing a corrugated pipe is to install it on a slope. That may mean digging a little deeper, but even a 1% slope can increase water velocity. High water velocity means leaves, tree seeds, and shingle gravel are flushed out of your system.
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Dont Ignore A Clogged French Drain
It isnt common for a French drain to clog up, so its easy to forget about checking on your French drains. However, as weve mentioned, paying attention to them can prevent larger issues from happening in the odd case that there is a clog. These issues may not be obvious until water damage is present.
If you notice that it may have problems directing water as it normally does, be proactive and dont assume it will resolve itself.
French Drain Not Draining Fast Enough Causes
French drain installations are buried below ground, and it can be difficult to determine where problems lie.
Luckily, multiple signs help you figure out the problem and what solutions to apply. These include standing water and little water exiting the drain termination point.
Other symptoms of a clogged French drain include standing water in the drainage trench and basement flooding. Lets explain each of these clogging signs for more clarity.
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Inspect The Ground Surrounding The French Drain
Sometimes the problem with your French drain may not be caused by a clog inside the pipe. Its also possible for the issue to be caused by the surrounding area. A good example of such an issue is compacted soil.
Compacted soil can push down against your French drain, preventing the normal flow of water.
Also, nearby trees may have roots that alter the pitch of the French drain. A telltale sign of this is if you notice these roots near the surface of the drain. In such a case, take a closer look at whats going on below the ground.
How To Unclog A French Drain
A French drain is a pipe with holes throughout its length that is used to assist yard drainage. If your yard is low-lying and water tends to stand, causing soggy or muddy ground, a French drain may help encourage that water to continue moving through instead of collecting.
Cleaning a French drain on a regular basis is important in order to not have the holes in the pipe fill with dirt, preventing water flow in and out. When the drain becomes clogged, water will back up and not drain out of your yard.
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French Drain Cleaning And Maintenance
< p> For many home owners an exterior < a href=”http://www.solagesolide.com/foundation-repair-services/french-drain”> french drain< /a> is what keeps the basement and foundation dry, directing water away from the foundation. Unfortunately with time french drains can clog, this can be due to a broken pipe, red oaker, debris and more. As a result it is not uncommon to routinely flush and maintain your french drain system. In the event you are experiencing a broken drain, a more time consuming repair may be required as our foundation experts will need to replace that section of your system. French drains also have the potential to experience clogging due to roots from plants and trees. This maintenance/repair is a lot quicker and easier than you may think, the use of a sewer router with a full diameter scraping blade cuts through all the roots. Followed by a flush of the system, ensuring water can once again evacuate through the french drain away from your home.< /p>
< p> Our team of foundation experts will help you get to the bottom of your french drain! Ask about our annual french drain inspection and service, every year we take the time to clean and inspect your french drain system for debris, cracks and other signs of damage.< /p>
What Is Better Than A French Drain
Swales, also called valleys, are an alternative to French drains that capture and divert rainwater. They can be found along the edge of a property, following the natural grade of the land to direct the water to a nearby stream or river. Swimming pools are a great way to cool off after a long day at the beach or pool.
They are usually located near the shoreline, but can also be found on the side of a road or in a parking lot. These pools can be used for a variety of activities, such as swimming, snorkeling, boating, or just relaxing in the sun. If youre looking for something a little more challenging, you may want to consider a deeper pool with a larger surface area, which can accommodate larger swimmers.
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