7 Ways To Prevent Buildup In Your Exterior Drain Tile

The main issue many homeowners have with exterior drain pipe is that it is susceptible to clogs. A small amount of debris that enters your drain pipe can prevent your entire drain tile from working properly. To prevent these clogs, follow these seven steps to creating a clog-free drain tile. 

Educate Yourself About Drain Tiles 

Drain tiles work to prevent moisture in the earth from seeping into your home. It is not intended to mitigate surface water caused by heavy rains or flooding. The more you know about how drain tiles work, the better decisions you can make about how to install and maintain yours. 

Use a Geo-textile Filter 

A geo-textile filter is a piece of fabric that is laid around the gravel of your drain tile and prevents small pieces of debris from entering your drain pipe. Some contractors will suggest wrapping the drain pipe in a nylon sock that will protect it. However, this can lead to buildup directly against the holes in the drain pipe and if the nylon tears, your drain could become clogged. It is more efficient to place a layer of geo-textile material around your entire gravel fill. 

When your drain is dug, lay a piece of geo-textile material on the bottom of your hole. The material should extend up the sides of your drain and have enough material left over to extend over the top of your drain. When you are 3"-4" from the top of your drain, wrap both sides of the material over the top of your drain. Then, continue filling with gravel to keep the fabric in place. 

Select the Right Pipe

You should select a pipe with a small diameter, not more than 6". Ideally, your pipe should be smooth as opposed to corrugated, as this will promote the flow of water and prevent the buildup of debris. The pipe should be perforated with holes not more than 1/2" wide, which should be placed towards the bottom of your trench to prevent water from pooling in the bottom of the trench.  

Grade Your Gravel 

Grading your gravel prevents large pieces of debris from entering your pipe in the same way that geo-textile does. You should place large pieces of gravel directly around your pipe. As you fill in your trench, you should use progressively smaller sizes of gravel until you are using pebbles for the first few inches of the drain. 

Build a Wider Trench 

Widening your trench provides more gravel that can filter out debris before it reaches your pipes. Your drain tile should be at least a foot wide, but in areas where you expect to have trouble with debris, such as at the bottom of a slope, you can expand the drain to up to two feet wide. 

Replace Old Piping 

Older drain tiles, built in the 1970's, utilized larger clay pipes as opposed to smaller PVC pipes. These large clay pipes tend to be more difficult to maintain, which results in large buildups inside the pipes that require you to dig up sections of your drain. If you have an older system, you may want to get it replaced with a newer system before a buildup in the pipes causes a leak in your basement. 

Regularly Clean Your Drain Pipe 

When your drain tile is installed, you should have several access pipes that extend to the surface and allow you to easily reach your pipe. Once every 2-3 years, or whenever you notice moisture seeping into your basement, you should use these access points to clean your drain pipe. This is done by shooting pressurized water through the pipe and snaking a hose around the drain tile to clear any clogs. You can rent the equipment to do this yourself or you can hire a professional from a site like http://www.rite-waywaterproofing.com to do it for you. If you regularly maintain your drain pipe, the cleaning process should take less than an hour. 

Constructing a drain tile with the future in mind and regularly maintaining your current drain tile will ensure you a water-free foundation for years to come. 


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