I’ve said many times that the most important decisions we made in the construction of our home were around the things you never see: the blown-in insulation, the PEX plumbing, the argon gas between the panes of our high-efficiency windows, etc.
We thought about and planned for a lot of things like that during the pre-construction phase of our home-building adventure. And of course, there were things we missed. One of the most important: pop-up drain emitters.
Most standard drainage systems have a downspout that catches water from the gutters on the roof and deposits it some small distance (around 1 – 3 feet) away from the house’s foundation. With soil that drains well and proper grading, this can work okay. Which is what we thought would happen for us. But it didn’t.
With each rainstorm we watched water quickly wash away the dirt and mulch in the planting beds in front of our house. The soil around our foundation even began to erode. I’m no home-building expert, but I knew right away this was not a good situation.
So, what’s a pop-up drain? It’s a drain system that more efficiently carries water away from a house’s foundation than a standard downspout. A flexible hose is attached to the downspout, which is then run through a trench to a simple emitter that “pops up” once the water pressure builds enough, allowing it to disperse over a larger surface area, so it doesn’t cause damage or erosion.
We worked with the service department of our builder to have pop-up drains installed, and we’ve seen an immense difference. Our mulch is staying where it should, and our plants are beginning to recover. Most importantly, our foundation is staying protected.
If you are planning to build a house, talk to your builder about drainage. Think about installing pop-up drains if:
• Your soil doesn’t drain well.
• You have grading issues that impede the flow of water away from the house.
• Your gutter design drains too much water into one area.
If there’s any chance you might have drainage problems, invest in pop-up drains or if necessary, something more robust like French drains. It is worth the time, effort, and money. The foundation of your house is perhaps the most important thing you should never see. And with proper drainage, you won’t.
For more on home water use and storm drainage, consider: