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Old 04-27-2010, 03:48 PM   #1
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French Drain Suggestions


So I am working on a house that currently has a sump pump. I have yet to determine what actually is feeding the well but I believe at some point a crappy outside perimeter drain was put in place which fed the sewage line. Then after that it wouldn't pass inspection to be sold until the rain water was removed from the sewage line, hence the sump pump to a downspout.

The goal here is to hopefully remove the sump pump all together once french drains prove to be working. My only concern here is the dept of the french drains. On the back of the house and the side with the driveway, the footer is easily reached with minimal digging.



However, the front and other side of the house would need to be dug down 7-8' to reach the footing. Do I actually need to dig down that far? I am going to say yes because if I don't the water could go under the french drain and still make its way to the house.



So this means I need to dig to the footing, stone bed, then pipe and then like 6' worth of gravel?

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Old 04-27-2010, 04:58 PM   #2
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You will probably not be able to get rid of the sump pump.

Do you know exactly where the pipe that feeds the sewer is located?

Disconnect all of the non-sewage connections from the sewer feed. Run a new outlet hose or pipe from the sump pump to the ground outside, far enough out so the water runs down hill away from the house.

Only if part of your property some distance away is lower than basement footing level can you get rid of the sump pump. Here you would have to dig a trench from the nearest corner of the house with the trench bottom sloping gently down all the way from footing level to the ground surface in the down hill direction. Install a new French drain there.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-27-2010 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:15 PM   #3
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I wouldn't try removing the sump pump if it is doing part of the job. We have a catch basin type of thing outside of our basement that no one can figure out, but it works to keep water out of the basement so I'm afraid to touch it. Anyway...can you do the drain around it?

Here's a link I was reading on the whole water issue:

http://www.oldhouseweb.com/stories/Detailed/14277.shtml
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:10 PM   #4
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The thing that gets me is that some storms but not all the sump pump won't get any water at all. I was there watching the pump on Monday and it was raining like crazy and not 1 drop of water enter the well. Where other storms it runs ever 5 minutes. As of right now, I do not know where the pipe is getting the water from which is feeding the sump pump. However, I'm not sure why I need the sump pump with the downhill slope to by gutter downspout. Why can't I just extend the pipe going into the sump pump well and slope it to the downspout, where its eventually going anyway?

Here are some additional pictures.

Heres the sump pump and you can see where they cut up the floor to remove it from draining to the garage floor drain.



It feeds the well from the left side of the sump pump well.




The downspout that I am thinking about extending the sump pump fill pipe to meet.


Down over the hill the water will go.
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:39 PM   #5
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Most sumps run when the ground water level rises
This usually only occurs with repeated rainstorms or long heavy rain over several hours
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:49 PM   #6
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If you can add a pipe from the sump pump well through the foundation to the outside to meet the downspout and the well will empty itself that way, and the water will flow by itself away from the house perhaps ending up far out on the back yard, then you don't need the sump pump any more.

If your footing level perimeter drain system is good enough, it will carry the water about to seep up into the front part of the basement around to the back and into a sump pump well there instead. So you won't need to dig any exterior trenches in front.
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:49 PM   #7
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You do not tie drownspouts to a discharge line for drain tile. They should be separate.

All you rain water from the roof drains into the downspout and away. A sump pump usually operates later as the soil becomes saturated. It is very possible for the roof downspout water to back up into the sump/french drain system and plug it up. This is particularly true if you are operating a gravity drain system with no pump.

It is best for the discharge portion of the line from the sump or drain tile system to be solid and not perforated for best performance. Obviously, the collection portion of a "french" drain must be perforated.

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Old 04-28-2010, 08:43 PM   #8
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If the downspout terminates in an underground chamber (dry well) near the house, than it is not suitable for emptying the sump pump pit into.

In fact that will increase the water that a perimeter drain system picks up and increase the workload of a sump pump.
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:31 PM   #9
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As of now, the house does not have french drains. Every downspout goes down underground, to a 90* or some * of an elbow, then to another section of a pipe which goes under the driveway down over the bank (4 pipes total running from the downspouts under the driveway). The pipe used is not a perforated but normal 4" pvc drain pipe.

The more I look and think about this I don't see why I haven't cut a channel in the garage floor and piped it to the downspout underground. Like already stated, there is one pipe feeding the sump pump well and the sump pump takes the water and pumps it around the inside of the garage to the downspout in front of the house. So all and all, removing the mechanical portion of it would be wise if the slope is doable, correct? The water is discharging over a steep hill from the downspouts so its not going to be able to run back around the footing. From what I've seen, there isn't any water around/moisture on the basement walls and there is no moisture or signs of water rising up through the floor either.

Even doing the above, I would probably still install french drains around the house to be safe.
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:51 AM   #10
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Yes, if the slope is doable then you can get rid of the sump pump.

One possible problem is that in a heavy rainstorm the water coming down from the roof is enough that some goes back into the house into the sump pump pit even if the slope favors going the other way from the pit (well) to the shared underground pipe under the driveway. If this happens you would have to remove that downspout from that underground pipe so the sump pump pit (now with no pump) can have exclusive use of that underground line.

That downspout will now have to be routed elsewhere such as out to the middle of the lawn.

Where do the perimeter drains go to? If slope permits then they too can be routed into the pipes going under the driveway, again provided that a shared pipe under the driveway doesn't overfill and allow roof water coming down a downspout to back up into the perimeter drains.
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
One possible problem is that in a heavy rainstorm the water coming down from the roof is enough that some goes back into the house into the sump pump pit even if the slope favors going the other way from the pit (well) to the shared underground pipe under the driveway.
If this happens you would have to remove that downspout from that underground pipe so the sump pump pit (now with no pump) can have exclusive use of that underground line.
First, if I'd go this route, the portion that fills the sump pump well would be capped and routed down over the hill through the pipe under the driveway. If a separate pipe should be used, that's no problem.

The sump pump currently uses the pipes under the driveway. Are you saying without the force of the pump, the water may not be able to fight its way out with the water of the gutters/downspout.

Quote:
Where do the perimeter drains go to?
I don't even think there are any except for the pipe filling the sump pump well. Hence why I wanted to put french drains around the house.

So it appears the best approach would just be to cap the sump pump well feed line, extend that line out through basement floor, through the footer, under the driveway down over the bank, using its own separate line. I always love having a reason to bust out the steel cement saw.

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