The French Drains (II)

Brooke here:

Digging in the Fury Hole continues.  After Brown and I completed the initial cleanout, we took a few days to watch the ground when it rained to see where and how the water moved.  Turns out it moves straight down into the basement.  Not kidding.

The problem area, one year ago.  Keep your eye on the spout still attached to the wall.
The problem area, one year ago. Keep your eye on the spout still attached to the wall.  Sorry. “Attached.”  Forgot the quotes.

In the above image, we had taken one of the drainage tubes off of the gutter to assess the problem. The other tube… yikes.  You see that other one? Sort of casually hanging off of the white PVC line jutting out of the wall?  That’s coming off of the sump pump.  It was joined to the gutter outline about 6′ down the black corrugated drainage pipe.  In theory, water coming from the gutter and the sump outline will move into the same main drainage pipe and will be dumped away from the house.

In practice, the sump line drained directly back into the basement. I was inside when Brown came home from work one day. He walked into my office, shaking his head.

BROWN: Did you know there’s a giant leak in the sump line?

ME: If by “leak” you mean “We might as well not have a sump line,” then yeah.  Why?

BROWN: I was outside when the sump kicked on, and a ton of water came out of the line and flooded the entire Hole.

ME: Yeah, that happens every time the sump drains.

BROWN (glaring): You knew about this?

ME (rolling eyes): Well, yeah. But there’s nothing we can do about it until we run the French drain line, right?  Right?

And then we were in the plumbing department at Lowes, because apparently we could do something about it, and for under $10, and I should be more open about when the house is barfing gallons and gallons of water, damn it!

The original problem was… was… oh, so many problems.  It was just poorly designed all over the place.

Why does the basement keep flooding? We said. We haven't had rain in three weeks, We said.
Why does the basement keep flooding? We said. We haven’t had rain in three weeks! We said.

There was a fence post for a crappy split-rail decorative deal (long-time readers may remember it as the site of the snake nookie) in this same area. The water went straight down into the post hole, then right back into the basement.

Crap, gravity is still working?
We wondered how we had burned out a new sump in a year.

So Brown grabs some PVC pipe and a garden hose, sticks them together, and made a This:

My gosh that's some fancy pipin'!
My gosh that’s some fancy pipin’!

The hose is a standard 100′ garden hose and moves the sump water far, far away from the house.  This long hose is a temporary fix; once the French drains are installed, we’ll run a short 10′ feeder hose from the sump line into the French drains.  Dishes done.

2 thoughts on “The French Drains (II)

  1. I don’t know the calculation but …

    A wise man once told me not to do a sump outflow like that.
    He said you wanted an air gap so you don’t have to push the water the whole way.

    Doesn’t matter that you already got past the head pressure and up and out of the basement and now you think “Hey it’s all down hill”. If it’s sealed you’re pushin.

    Brown: Go read and see if the flow will be enough after the 100′. Might be fine (especially now that it won’t be coming back in directly). Also, don’t want to hurt the pump if it can’t handle to load.

    I’m neither a plumber, a mechanical engineer, nor do I play one on TV but Steve said so and I trust Steve.

    Air gaps also allow lines to drain to stop freezing+crack problems and are usually code for storm drain connections but I know you’re planning on having Popeye Doyle make the Frech Connection later so that’s not a problem.

    Stay dry.


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