Your home has many drains that you are likely already familiar with since you use them every day, such as those in your sinks and showers. However, there is a lesser-known drainage system buried in the ground right outside of your home that you may not be familiar with, known as a perimeter drain. While this drainage system is out of sight, it plays a critical role in your home by protecting your property from water damage. Unfortunately, your perimeter drain can become clogged over time, which could leave your property and home susceptible to water damage.
This makes it critical that you service your perimeter drain regularly to make sure that it is working properly, particularly with winter storms right around the corner. Yet, you may still find yourself wondering what a perimeter drain is, why it needs to be serviced, and what you should do to maintain it this fall. To help make sure that your property is ready for the first winter storms, keep reading for a quick overview of what you need to know about your home’s perimeter drain.
What is a Perimeter Drain?
The first question you may find yourself asking is what a perimeter drain even is. It is a drainage system made up of perforated plastic or PVC pipes that run around the outside of your home. The perforations in these pipes pull water in from the surrounding soil and carries it away from your home, depositing it into your sewer or storm drain. If you have an older home, your perimeter drain may be made of clay or concrete weeping tiles.
A perimeter drainage system is designed to keep ground and surface water away from your home, which can be vital in helping to protect your basement, foundation, and/or crawl space from property damage that can be caused by heavy rain, melting snow, or rising groundwater. You may have also heard this type of drain referred to as a French drain system, as it was popularized by a man named Henry French in the 1800s.
What Purpose Does it Have?
The primary purpose of your home’s perimeter drain is to direct excess moisture away from your home, protecting your foundation from potentially costly water damage. Having a good perimeter drainage system in place is essential in preventing numerous moisture-related problems on your property, including:
Making sure that you have a properly functioning perimeter drainage system in place is then essential to protect your home year-round. Fall and winter rains can easily wreak havoc on your foundation without proper drainage, causing thousands of dollars in damage, as can water from snow melt in the spring. Your perimeter drain makes sure that this water is pulled away from your foundation without causing damage.
Why is Maintenance Important?
While your home’s perimeter drain plays a key role in protecting your property, this system is often out of sight and out of mind. Unfortunately, this means that many homeowners do not give much thought to the condition of their perimeter drain and whether it needs maintenance. However, without proper maintenance, your perimeter drain can become clogged with dirt, roots, leaves, and other debris that can build up over time, blocking the flow of water. With nowhere else to go, this can cause water to pool up near your home’s foundation and even seep into your basement walls, which can cause significant structural damage. If you notice water pooling around your home or seeping through your basement walls, there is likely a problem with your perimeter drain and you will need to have it professionally inspected and repaired. Fortunately, regular maintenance can prevent these backups, protecting your home from potentially costly water damage.
Fall Perimeter Drain Maintenance
One of the problems with perimeter drains is that they are buried deep under the ground around your home, so it is hard to visually inspect them for damage. However, this does not mean that you can’t keep an eye on your perimeter drain system and take basic steps to maintain it. Here are a few simple things that you can do to maintain your perimeter drain.
Have A Clean-Out Port Installed
While many perimeter drain systems installed in new homes include a clean-out port, this often was not the case with older systems. If you have had the same perimeter drain for years, your home may not have a clean-out port, which can make it difficult (if not impossible) to clear clogs. Without a clean-out port, even minor clogs can build up and cause damage to your whole system. To make it easier to keep your perimeter drain clean and functional, you should consider having a clean-out port installed this fall. This will allow you or a technician to clean your perimeter drain, keeping it clear of debris.
Keep Your Clean-out Free from Debris
Whether you recently had a clean-out port or you have had one since your system was installed, it is critical that you keep an eye on this port and keep it clear of dirt and debris. While a clean-out port can be useful, it can also act as an easy point of entry where debris can enter your perimeter drain and cause a clog. With fall upon us, it is particularly important that you keep the outside of your clean-out port free of debris that could enter your perimeter drain.
Have Your Perimeter Drain Inspected Regularly
The most important thing that you can do to maintain your perimeter drain is to have it professionally inspected. Annual inspections are critical to ensure that your drain is functioning properly and does not have any clogs or damaged sections. Scheduling an inspection is particularly important if you have been noticing signs of water pooling on your property or weeping through your basement walls, as this is a clear sign that there is a problem.
An experienced technician will be able to inspect your system, remove debris that may be restricting water flow, and inform you if any repairs are necessary. Fall is the ideal time to schedule a perimeter drain inspection, as this allows you to have your system cleaned in preparation for heavy rainfall in the coming months.
Taking the right steps to stay on top of perimeter drain maintenance can help protect your home from water damage as winter approaches. Contact us to find out more about what you can do to maintain your perimeter drain, as well as to schedule an inspection.