French drains can be effective by preventing water from penetrating the foundation of your property. With any drain, the level of effectiveness depends on how they are maintained. Here are some “Handy” tips to ensure that your French drains are kept in the best condition so that your property is more protected from flooding or other forms of water damage.
You may see a French drain referred to by other terms, including (but not limited to) weeping tiles, trench drains, French ditches, or agricultural drains. These drains are filled with gravel or rock, using perforated pipes to redirect waste or potentially hazardous water.
Testing the Drain
French drains should be maintained annually. To test the condition of your French drain, you need to find the ground-level access point, which is usually an above-ground grate or the end-point of a downspout or an above-ground pipe. Running a hose down the pipe will show how effectively the drain is working. If water builds up, then it’s likely there is a blockage that needs to be dealt with.
French drains can be affected by a number of issues, such as the weepholes not filtering out sediment or mud. Plant roots and tree roots can also interfere with the pipe. If you suspect a clog, it is important to address this as soon as possible to prevent any long-term issues (including damp, mold and structural damage).
One of the simplest ways to maintain your French drain is by clearing the drain with a pressure washer. This way is most effective if the clog isn’t excessively solid. When pressure washing your French drain, Handyside recommends that you stand away from the end of the drain to prevent the clog spraying toward you.
For more persistent clogs or issues with roots or small rocks, a heavy-duty drain snake can be more effective. These machines use steel cables with claws on the end to break up clogging. There are a number of companies that can rent you these devices, although it’s best to specify why you need them in order to get the appropriate claw to suit your needs. Be careful when using drain snakes, as they are powerful and can wrap around your arm, so follow the instructions to prevent injuries. You should also clear away any tree branches, plants, etc., before using a snake.
If you are concerned about the potential damage that could occur by not properly maintaining your French drain, then it’s time to call Handyside! With the right approach and with regular inspections, you’ll be able to keep your French drains clear, so your home is more safe from potential water damage.