How To Avoid Common Problems With French Drain Installation And Use

If your property is prone to water backups and flooding, you may be considering drainage options, such as French drains. French drains are beneficial for keeping water away from your home because it draws the water into a perforated pipe system and routes that water to a drainage area. Then, you can fill the trench where the drain pipe is with gravel to cover the pipe and help water filter through to the pipe. Before you install that new French drain, it's important that you understand some of the common problems these drainage systems can have and how to overcome them.

Installation Problems

Installing French drains involves digging a trench along the outer perimeter of your house. This trench digging process may lead to damaged utility lines or pipes if you don't have them marked beforehand. The best way to avoid any potential disasters with your utilities is to have all of the underground lines and plumbing marked clearly before the digging process starts. Call your utility companies to see if they offer services to mark the lines. Otherwise, a local safe digging service can help you.

If the soil around your house is concentrated with clay or is very rocky, you may have problems with the trench digging process. It may take more time than you'd planned or cost you more money than you had originally budgeted.

When the drain is installed during home construction, the installation process is typically easier. If you're adding the drain to an existing structure, though, it's going to require more digging. Keep in mind that the deeper the trench is dug, the greater the risk your home's foundation faces. As you shift soil around the foundation, the house may settle some. This can cause the potential for some structural damage in the house.

Pipe Clogs

One of the most common issues with French drains is clogging and system backups. The drain pipes are vulnerable to debris buildup from sediment, silt and other particles. This can lead to overflows and even backups in the pipe.

Sometimes, you can avoid this problem altogether by installing a filter at the head of the pipe when you install your French drain system. Replacing the filter periodically will keep any sediment from getting into the pipe and hindering water flow.

If you didn't install a filter in the system, you'll need to flush out the system. Sometimes, a power flush and pipe cleaning is sufficient. If the clog is severe, though, you may actually have to dig up the pipe, which is a more significant undertaking. Talk with your installation contractor about how often you should flush the system to keep your French drain flowing properly and avoid these types of clogs.

Sump Pump Problems

If you're installing one of these drains inside your basement to help alleviate flooding issues, you're probably also adding a sump pump to help move water outside to the drain. The pump can increase your installation costs, and it also increases the system failure risks. If you have to install a sump pump, make sure that you invest in a quality pump, because the lower-grade units often have a shorter lifespan and may leave you with water buildup indoors. You'll also want to invest in a battery backup system to keep your pump running in the event of a power outage.

Back Flow and Basement Contamination

Particularly in areas with soil that isn't draining well, the dry well may back up and fill with water. If that happens, it can send the water flow back up the French drain, since it doesn't have any space in the dry well to go. This may cause a backup around your foundation or into your basement. In these situations, make sure that you have a plan in place to route the pipe to a storm drain or other runoff area.

French drains are a great way to keep water from accumulating around the foundation of your home. This not only helps you protect your home from water damage, but it also controls soil erosion from water buildup. With the information presented here, you'll be able to recognize some of the most common issues with French drain systems and plan accordingly to avoid them. For the best results, work with an experienced installation company. Visit this site to learn more. 

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