03:47PM | 05/25/03
Member Since: 02/20/03
20 lifetime posts
The drain from our sump pump is clogged and cannot be snaked clean. The contractor said we need a french drain. Does anyone have any experience with french drains? Do they work well in winter? Can they flood and cause back ups? If so how do you fix it?

plumber Tom

03:16PM | 05/26/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
801 lifetime posts
The purpose of the french drain is to stop water from actually getting into your basement floor. Water that comes up from the foundation from the outside, is channeled into previously installed piping(usually 3 or 4" perforated PVC) This pipe is sloped towards a sump pit, where your pump is located. Systems do get clogged for various reasons. A common problem is iron concentration in the soil. If the dirt is red, they sell a product called iron-out. Before you pay a company 4 to 5k to have a system installed, make sure you don't already have one. You may have a waterproofing system and don't know it. If you do decide on the work, have the company install 3 c/o (cleanout tees) This way if it clogs, it's much easier to flush out with a garden hose.


09:44AM | 05/27/03
Member Since: 10/08/02
30 lifetime posts
A french drain will last only so many years be it clogs-up too.

Jay J

08:33AM | 05/28/03
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi bill55,

First, make sure you're talking apples and apples w/your Plumber. See Construct A French Drain for a description of a French Drain.

Maybe he's talking about a clogged sump pump drain pipe. Maybe he's talking about a French Drain that 'runs' the perimeter of the foundation. Maybe, just MAYBE, you can save yourself a lot of $$$ by doing the following.

During the next sustained rainstorm, don your boots, raincoat, and umbrella, and do a COMPLETE walk around your home, looking UP at the roofline as well as at the ground. See if you can improve your drainage by improving the landscaping around your foundation. 1/4" per foot (for 3 feet) is the recommended MINIMUM slopage (and distance) you should have for drainage around your home. The more slopage (and the more distance), the better. (For example, 1" per foot for 3' is better than 1/4" per foot for 3' ...) Also, look to see if your gutters are leaking. Look to see if gutters are MISSING where water is running off of the roof. Be sure your downspouts are extended a MINIMUM of 3' from the foundation, and that water isn't running BACK towards the foundation. (We're back to minimum slopage and distances again ...) Once you install missing gutters, fix leaks, fix slopage, and extend your downspouts, if you still have water problems, you have more work to do.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God Bless America!

[This message has been edited by Jay J (edited May 28, 2003).]


02:40PM | 05/28/03
Member Since: 02/20/03
20 lifetime posts
Yes the sump pump drain is clogged. So the plumber suggested we dig a pit filled with stones to collect water from the new drain line rather then try and place a new drain to the storm sewer.
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