Checking Underground Spouts


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Old 01-18-06, 06:38 PM
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Question Checking Underground Spouts

A few months back I had a flood in my basement, at which point I finally decided to take care of the waterproofing issues I had been neglecting for so long. One of the first things I did was to take care of the gutter spouts that were emptying right next to the house. I routed the water from each downspout away from the house using 4 inch PVC pipe, and for a while every time it rained each spout was pouring out large amounts of water & it was flowing away from the house. My two sump pump wells saw virtually no activity, even in a decent rain.

One of the pipes I buried was about 60 feet long, and I connected it all together & buried it without any assistance, so I had a tough time in a few spots pushing the pipe all the way into the coupling & twisting it on my own. In maybe two spots the pipe seemed like it was probably cemented fairly well but I know it wasn't pushed all the way in. I buried the entire pipe & figured it was okay. Also I was only able to go down like a foot below the surface, which I was told is okay too. So at this point I was a little nervous that everything might not hold permanently.

Now a few months later I've noticed that from the 60 foot spout the water doesn't flow as heavily out the end, even in heavy rain. It's winter now, so is it possible that when the ground froze the pipes pulled out from the coupling in those two spots & the water is now soaking into the ground before reaching the end? Is 4 inch PVC heavy enough that that's not likely to have happened? I know the pipe isn't clogged so unless I'm mistaken something seems to have happened. One of my two sump pump wells is in the corner right where the spout enters the ground, and around the same time the water started coming out less heavily at the end of the spout, it also seems like when it rains more water is entering that one pump well (not too rapidly, but more than before).

I'm kind of gunshy after the basement flooded so badly, so it's possible I'm blowing this up worse than it really is. Maybe even imagining it. But just to be sure, is it a good idea to dig down to the top of the pipe and check that it's still connected? Can I cause any damage by doing that? If the pipe is in fact pulled apart, can I remove it from the dirt, recement it and rebury it, or will the connection be compromised now & instead I have to pull it out and do it over? I don't know the exact spots where the pipe meets the coupling, so I'm talking about digging up pretty much the entire 60 foot length of pipe.

Any advice before I go & make a mess out of this whole thing???

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-19-06, 01:12 PM
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Checking Underground Spouts

I don't know anything about your climate and layout, but I have a thought.

The ground may have frozen. Water in the pipe could freeze and partially or fully block the drainage. Another possibility is the the ground froze and heaved the pipe up in one area, preventing a full flow.

Just a thought -

Dick
 
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Old 01-19-06, 04:55 PM
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Re: Checking Underground Spouts

Thanks Dick. I live in northern New Jersey, and we had some very cold spells between October and now. From what you're saying, it sounds like I need to dig along the whole length of the pipes & check them. It's not likely that ice is blocking the water flow, which means the pipe must have shifted & possibly come apart. I was told that 4 inch PVC pipe is heavy enough that this shouldn't happen, but I guess that statement was made assuming the pipes were fully and firmly cemented to the couplings.

Will I damage anything if I dig up the pipes? If the connection is breached, do I need to pull out the whole thing, clean off the dirt, re-cement it & re-bury it? Or do I need to start from scratch?

I guess the old saying is true: "If you don't have time to do something right, how will you have time to do it twice?"
 
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Old 01-21-06, 09:13 AM
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How deep is the pipe buried? If its not below the frost line, it could easily freeze during colder weather.
 
 

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