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Storm Water Drainage

Proper storm water drainage is essential to a homes foundation. Unfortunately, many building codes do not mandate that roof water be piped away from the foundation. Also, you have to keep in mind that building codes differ in many parts of the nation. It would be nice to have one national building code for everyone to follow, but the truth is that local building officials would end up changing the code to match local practices.

Over the past 15 years or so, urban and suburban flooding has become a major issue. One major reason why flooding has become such an issue is because storm water systems were designed many years ago without the anticipation of shopping malls or a subdivision with hundreds of homes being built. The design was simply underestimated. Today’s planners and engineers put special attention toward water retention systems.

Do you know where your roof water gets piped to? Nowadays, roof downspout water can be piped directly to underground storm water retention basins. In fact, certain designs allow the water to flow into open retention or detention features. The idea is to create a community of homes in which they all work together to prevent serious floods from developing. Even small problems can be prevented from such designs. Bottom line, the water from your roof needs to be captured and redirected to a place where it does not cause a problem.

Some communities require that storm water be piped to a central location. This is actually a very beneficial thing for your property and the property of your neighbors. I would, however, recommend making sure that the piping on your lot is durable enough to contain the water and prevent tree roots from entering the pipe. Four inch diameter plastic sewer line pipe is recommended. It’s definitely worth your time to check that the right type pipe is being used and it is installed the correct way.

Installing Your Storm Water Drainage System

During the installation of your storm water drainage system, you should avoid using 90 degree fittings on your piping. Of course you will need to use this type of fitting where the pipe terminates against the foundation wall and turns up to capture the roof downspout pipe. But using 90 degree fittings in others areas can cause serious problems because it creates tight bends. There may be a time when you need to have a plumber or drain cleaning company come out and unclog your pipes and these 90 degree angels will work against them. A 90 degree bend may prevent a company from extending a metal drain cleaning wire down the piping system. Considering using two 45 degree fittings glued together instead.

In addition to the type of piping used, the soil in which it is buried is also important. Avoid burying your piping in the un-compacted fill dirt alongside your foundation. The soil there will settle over time and as it settles it can seriously damage the piping. In fact, the piping can fracture or develop a negative pitch which could ruin the effectiveness of the entire system. If your pitch is off, the water can start flowing in the wrong direction.

The best place to bury the piping is in the undisturbed soil that you will typically find about 4to 5 feet away from your foundation. The piping will have to cross the uncompacted soil in order to get to the undisturbed soil, but when doing so it is best to give the piping a good pitch for extra safety. As it crosses this danger zone, give it one inch of fall for every two feet of run. Once the pipe is in the virgin soil, it can have a pitch of 1/8 to 1/4 inch of fall per linear foot of run.

Lastly, if you are present during the installation of your storm water drainage system, try to take pictures of the piping. It will come in handy in the future if you ever have to locate the piping in order to dig a hole or excavate. Having such facts on your house is a very useful thing. Be sure to place the photos and negatives in a safe place. Many homeowners find the electric box to be a very safe place because it is hardly used. However, fireproof safe boxes also work great.

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