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Old 08-17-2010, 08:08 AM   #1
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Existing French Drain Question

My landscape has settled and now a portion of my patio and yard slope towards one of my egress windows and when it rains hard it will fill my egress window and water comes in through the window.

I know the proper thing to do is redo the patio and regrade the yard so they slope away from the house but at this time it is not an option do to funds. My thought for the time being is doing a french drain.

I was doing some research on where to run it and I found a cap in my yard an realized that there is already a french drain running in my yard. The cap is the type that when water would come through the pipe the cap would open and release the water and then close by gravity. My problem is I don't know where this french drain starts. My question is there any way other then digging it up to determine where it may start. I have looked around to see if I could tell any signs or clues but have yet to find anything.

Any ideas would be appreciated as it may be as simple as the existing french drain is clogged or maybe not run to where I need it. The house is only 10 years old so the current French drain should be in decent condition.


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Old 08-17-2010, 09:19 AM   #2
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... just some thoughts.

I would think the egress window well would have a drain that connects to the perimeter drain tile. (Do you have a sump pump in the basement?) Google "egress window drain" for research. Perhaps this is the proper solution.

Regarding the french drain. Are you sure that pop up isn't for a buried downspout? In any case, you probably need to dig a few inches. Start around the pop-up and see which direction it takes. Move a few feet in that direction and probe (dig) for it...keep moving along. A french drain trench will be filled with stone around the pipe. The pipe is probably 18"24" deep but the stone will be just under the grass a few inches and possibly covered with landscape fabric (at least mine is).

If you didn't want to dig, you could try to "fish" a snake up there and locate it with a metal detector.. probably more hassle then probing a few inches with a shovel.


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Old 08-17-2010, 10:01 AM   #3
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chriswany -

I think what you found is a pop-up discharge for a drain of some sort (probably downspouts). This is usually at the end of a solid wall drainage pipe (hopefully pvc and not flexible) meant to carry water and not to collect it. I installed this at my home. It works well, but only in one direction. Unfortunately, you did not provide your location so any climate conditions cannot be factored in. - Smae for genral terrain information (slope, distance, etc.).

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Old 08-17-2010, 10:17 AM   #4
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If water comes out of that capped pipe when it rains then you don't want to connect the egress window drain to that. Otherwise water will come out and add to the water in your egress window well instead of drain away.

As a temporary measure you might be able to put a sump pump in the egress window well itself. You would need to dig the window well deeper (perhaps temporarily) so the pump will have some rise and fall of the water level to be able to turn on and off automatically.
The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:55 AM   #5
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My whole lot has a pretty decent slant towards the street and I do believe my window well does have drain tile as it will drain itself. Only during very heavy rainfall such as last week we got 3" in less then 2 hours the draining can't keep up with what is pouring into the window well. I do not have a sump in the house. The cap is not from a downspout that goes underground as all of my spout just extend into the yard. I figure it has to be for a french drain. I also notice when I look in the opening the angle it takes is not towards the house but perpendicular and even a little way from the house.

I will more then likely do what you talked about and dig every 1-2 feet to try and follow it.

I live in MN and if needed I can post some pictures and even video of my issue.
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