Plugged French Drain

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  #1  
Old 02-17-14, 11:48 AM
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Plugged French Drain/Flooded Driveway

Good morning to all,

Mine wasn't so good, however. I'll start off by saying that my fiancé and I purchased our first/this home (built in 86') about 5 months ago, so we're learning all sorts of new joys of homeownership.

I woke up this morning to a flooded driveway, which is at a down slop of maybe 5 degrees. I don't see any sort of drainage for the driveway itself.

Both the right and left side drains off the gutter into the ground are corrugated pipe(picture 1), and from a bit of research, it seems I have a "French" drainage system (though I'm not positive). The pipe goes straight down into the ground (picture 3), and is about 4" or 5" in diameter. I cannot see any surface clog and have tried to find one with a 4' stick, but still did not find anything plugged. On another note, I live in a cul-de-sac, and noticed my neighbors have a pipe coming out of their curb(picture 2, but I don't see one next to my property? Perhaps I share with the neighbor?

I am not sure if the driveway and rainwater drains are connected...meaning one is flooding because of the other?

I'm looking for a bit of advice on how to unclog these drains. I've seen some caution on using high pressure hoses, snakes, or augers that might break the corrugated piping, so I'm not sure which route to take.

I appreciate any help you can give...most things I can work through as a new homeowner, but this has me at a loss.

***Note, these pictures are not from my house, but I thought they may better explain what I'm dealing with.
 
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Last edited by jdelorenzo; 02-17-14 at 01:55 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-17-14, 01:56 PM
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From your description tried to run the rain water runoff from the roof into some perforated pipe in hopes of getting it absorbed into the soil instead of running it through a hole in the curb. All the dirt, leaves and roofing granules can plug the small perforations, making the water back up.

Check with your neighbors to see if their gutters are connected in some way to their hole in the curb to provide draining into the gutter and down the street in the gutter.

French drains usually have some sort of granular soil around the pipe (especially with the larger holes (at 4:00 and 8:00) in the bottom half to collect the water. Your existing system is probably like trying a reverse french drain to collect/absorb the water, but the soil or pipe may not be permeable enough.

Dick
 
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Old 02-17-14, 02:27 PM
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Hi Dick,

Thank you for your reply.

That is halfway correct. The gutters and downspouts were already set up to drain into the corrugated pipe that goes into the ground. I'm just not sure what type of drainage system I have in order to begin a fix. I only assumed it was a French drain by the definitions I researched.

I don't know what you mean by checking to see if the gutters are hooked into the hole in the curb. As I mentioned below, it seems I'm the only one without a hole coming out of the curb, unless it's ran elsewhere.

Thank you,

Jarrett
 
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Old 02-17-14, 07:38 PM
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Do you have storm sewers in your area? That is the proper place for the gutters to drain. My gutters have piping to both the storm sewers and to a gully depending on which side of the house. There is a drain hole in the curb next to my driveway but a previous neighbor said it was only the drain from the neighbor behind who got caught messing with the drainage from his property to the property next to mine.
 
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Old 02-18-14, 07:52 AM
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Hi Furd,

You'll have to forgive me, I'm not 100% sure what a storm sewer is. I looked it up; is it the same thing as a manhole? We have a manhole with two small holes on the cover.

I found it very strange that there is no drain hole in the curb next to my driveway, unless they crossed my drainage into the neighbors...

Thank you,

Jarrett
 
  #6  
Old 02-19-14, 10:10 AM
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I highly doubt your drains are connected to your neighbors. Not impossible of course, but highly unlikely.

Rainwater/gutter drains can go 3 places:
1) To 'open air' which could be down a hill, or into the street like your neighbor's. The problem with these 'open air' discharges is that they often get covered by grass, leaves, dirt, etc and over the years get lost unless they come out a curb like your neighbor's. Does your house have a natural slope where they might drain (and not drain into someone else's yard)?

2) To a storm sewer. Some older locales mix the sanitary sewer (toilets, plumbing) with the storm drains, but most areas have separate city/town piping for sewer and storm runoff. The sewer piping goes to a treatment plant and the storm sewers go to the nearest stream/lake/river/ocean.

3) A drywell. This is an area on your property that a hole was dug and filled with gravel, and likely covered with dirt and grass. The rainwater drains into it, and then slowly gets absorbed into the ground around it.


You may be best off getting a plumber in who has a camera snake. You'll then be able to figure out where all the piping goes and whether you have a simple clog, collapsed pipe, etc.
 
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Old 02-19-14, 10:40 AM
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Hi Zorfdt,

I appreciate you getting back to me.

My house is higher on one side than the other. The driveway is the lower side where my garage sits. On the higher side, is my front door and yard that downslopes into the lower driveway portion (let me know if I should take a few pics will help paint a better picture and I can take a few). I would think that there should be some drainage for the driveway, but I don't see anything.

My father in-law has a 25' snake that I will try to use. If I have no luck, I think you may be right about getting a plumber with a camera snake.

Thank you,

Jarrett
 
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Old 02-23-14, 05:16 AM
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Underground pipes used to carry away roof or gutter water should be non-perforated, at least for the first 15 feet away from the house. They must also lead somewhere that will not fill up. Letting gutter water be absorbed into the soil near the house will aggravate basement flooding problems.

It is difficult if not impossible to clean out corrugated plastic drain pipes. YOu cannot use a power snake since that will rip the pipe apart.

Any chance the land can be regraded so water drains on the surface off of the driveway and away from the house?
 
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Old 02-26-14, 07:07 AM
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Hi Allan,

What do you mean by regraded? My driveway downslopes a bit, so I'm not sure where the water could be diverted if not in puddles next to the garage.

Thank you for your response.

Jarrett
 
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Old 02-27-14, 03:44 AM
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Run a garden hose into that downspout for a few minutes and see if the water backs up. Then at least you will know if you have a clog in the underground portion of the pipe.
 
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Old 02-27-14, 10:41 AM
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Hi Fairplay,

The rain itself makes the downspouts back up at the corrugated pipe coming out of the ground. From what I've read, and like AllanJ said, I can not use a snake to try and unclog anything. It seems inevitable that I have dig up what I have and start over. I just wish I knew where the drainage goes so I can figure out if it's fixable or not.

Thanks,

Jarrett
 
  #12  
Old 03-02-14, 06:32 PM
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I would give a local plumber a call and find out the cost to use a camera-snake to scope out the pipes. The camera-end of the snake sometimes also includes a locator so the pipe can be located underground. You could then figure out if and exactly where the clog is and just dig up a little spot instead of the whole run.

Of course, if you're planning on upgrading some of your landscaping, now might be a good time to do some digging
 
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Old 03-03-14, 01:40 PM
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Hi Zorfdt,

That's a good thought, thank you. In a perfect world, the locator would be nice so as not to dig up the whole yard.

Thanks,

Jarrett
 
  #14  
Old 03-05-14, 06:48 PM
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Good luck Jarrett, let us know how it goes!
 
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