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French Drains

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  • French Drains

    I'm a layman so thanks in advance for the suggestions and tips.

    I bought a 1928 bungalow in northeast massachusetts (a forced move) that has French Drains. Apparently all the down pipes are connected in some way to a large 6-8 inch pipe (hard material unknown but not plastic) in the back yard that runs off into a small depression or gully. Water starting at the roof flows to the gutter, down the pipe into the French Drains and out the pipe. Two french drains seem to be backed up or blocked (maybe normal from too much rain, I don't know). During a heavy down pour the water appears to back up and drain out of the sides of the downpipe above the entrance to the french drain.

    What is it called to measure and test the distance from the French drain entrance to the blockage? Do I just use a thick wire and do it myself? Does this service, task, job have an industry specific name? If it is blocked, do I call a plumber and snake it? What type of technician or serviceman do I call? Or how about using a wetvac with tube extension down into french drain and vacuum out debris (if any)? A do it yourselfer like me can blow things up and make a big problem.

    Thanks for your suggestions!
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    Last edited by msmith; 09-05-2009, 10:28 AM.

  • #2
    It sounds as though there is a blockage in the downspout extension (the pipe underneath the ground running to the gully).

    Water wouldn't be coming out at the opening next to your home if it had easy flow.

    Is there something covering the opening of the pipe? Something to keep animals and soil from entering? This might be a good idea for the future.

    A plumber could come and snake it out, however if the drain itself isn't fixed or changed, this issue could happen again in the future.

    Most waterproofing companies can replace or update this pipe for you as well. Modern designs of exterior french drains are much more reliable then previous generations.

    Pioneer Basement is a company in the area that could look at this issue for you, they too are in MA. With their product line from Grate Products I'm sure there is a solution that they could provide for you if you feel like having a second pair of eyes take a look.
    Last edited by JacobPM; 09-09-2009, 09:02 AM.