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Water Drainage

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Photo by: Sandya (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Proper water drainage is critical for keeping your property safe from a water disaster. If water is allowed to build up next to your house, it can cause major water damage to your home’s structure and property. Here are some simple solutions to maintain a good water drainage system.

MAINTAIN GUTTERS

Gutters are an important part of the drainage system around your house. If they are in bad condition, nonexistent, or improperly placed, they can cause problems and put your home at risk for water damage. Letting the water drain directly onto a concert driveway, for example, is not a good idea. It can permanently damage the concrete and cause a water disaster.

Gutter Inspection:

  • Make sure the gutters are firmly attached.
  • Clear gutters of debris. You may want to consider installing a gutter guard to keep debris out.
  • Reseal seams with caulk or a sealant specially designed for gutters in order to prevent leaking.

CHECK THE DOWNSPOUT

To prevent water from building up in the lower areas of your yard, check all the downspouts. If the downspout is misdirected, it can cause water build-up. Redirecting the downspout to drain the water to another area of the yard can save your yard from a water mess. Chose a location that will allow the water to drain out of the yard. You can also get downspout extenders to help direct water further away from the house – 10 feet away is usually a good rule of thumb.

CHANGE THE GRADE

Most building codes require that the ground around a foundation slope away from the foundation at a minimum of 6 inches in the first 10 feet and with another foot of slope in the next 100 feet. You can easily maintain the grade of your property by adding some soil, raking it smooth, until the grade is highest at the house’s perimeter.

DRAINAGE PLAN

Make a sketch of your entire property to determine the low and high spots.  Draw arrows to show how water flows on the property, notating the relative height of the high and low spots. The sketch will help you determine what strategy is best to move the water out and away.

Two very important things to remember are:

1) You don’t ever want to drain the water into your neighbor’s property.

2)  If you decide to drain the water into the street or municipal storm sewer, you’ll need to contact the city to see what regulations apply.

INSTALL A DRAINPIPE

Building an underground pipe to get rid of excess water, works very well. The most important aspect of any underground drainage, is that it must travel from a high point to a low point with a steady slope. This will prevent pooling at low spots. After you decided on the route of the pipe, you’ll need to pick the type of pipe that will work best (use a closed pipe to direct water in one end and out the other end and a use an open pipe if you want to drain in a general area). When you dig the trench, it needs to be 8 to 10 inches wide and about 18 inches deep and make sure the bottom of the trench be firm and always sloping down in the direction of the required drainage. After you’ve dug the trench, you’ll line it with gravel, install the pipes and refill it with soil. When in doubt, contact a professional landscaper.

BUILD A RAIN GARDEN

A rain garden is an area that is designed to catch water and is filled with water-loving plants. You’ll need to choose the right plants, native plants with deep fibrous roots work well. You can add drainage and build the garden in such a way to hold the excess water, until the water has a chance to drain away.

WINDOW COVERS

Protect your windows by getting window covers. Rain water can run into your window wells and it can soak into the ground right beside your foundation walls. Window covers can help keep this water out.

CREATE A DRY WELL

A good way to catch excess water and hold it while it soaks into the ground, is to use a dry well. To increase the capacity of a dry well, you can bury plastic dry well barrels that collect water and hold it while it drains out through holes in the sides and the bottom. The containers must be surrounded by gravel or another porous material to allow drainage. It works to stack dry wells or place them side by side. Check out www.ndspro.com to find out more about what size the dry well should be. It also is a good idea to consult with a landscaper or soil engineer.

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