We’re glad and appreciative that you chose Williamson to install your drainage system! Just like rain gutters, drains must be clean and clear of debris in order to function properly. All drainage systems require periodic maintenance in order to maintain proper working conditions. This maintenance is NOT a part of our contract, warranty, or normal service. It is up to the home owner to monitor and maintain the drainage system installed. These basic instructions are good for all drainage systems, even ones not installed by us.
2. When installing rain gutters, pay close attention that the downspouts release water only in areas with good drainage.
3. Your foundation needs water, but too much or too little water WILL create foundation problems. The key to foundation stability is to maintain a consistent moisture level around the home year ‘round. Sprinkler systems help tremendously, but normally do not provide enough water AT the foundation. Therefore, use of a soaker hose is highly recommended, even in conjunction with a sprinkler system
1. The dirt around your home should not be at the top of your foundation.
2. Trees and large shrubs (like photinias and large hollies) should be planted at least 10 feet away from the home, as these root system drink a tremendous amount of water from the soil under your home, and they also can create breaks in your plumbing system.
3. Gutter downspouts should never empty water into an area where it will be trapped near the foundation – like flower beds with raised edging, low spots, court yards, etc. Pooling water can create uneven foundation movement, and more severe problems like upheavals.
Unless low-profile drainage basins were used, the standard drain basins installed will have a shallow collection area at the bottom of the drain. This is intended to collect sediment and debris so that it does not enter the pipe and clog the system. This collection basin area must be cleaned out as needed to prevent filling with dirt and debris and blocking the drainage pipe. If the area around the drains has mostly dirt or gravel, this will have to be done quite frequently. Once grass, ground cover plants, and/or larger rocks fill the surrounding area, these drains will typically only need to be cleaned once or twice a year. To clean out these drains, simply unscrew the screws holding down the drain cover grate, remove the grate, and scoop out all debris. Take a garden hose after all drain boxes are cleaned out and run water through the system to help flush out the drain line. Replace the grate and screws when finished.
Please note that, due to the collection area as an intended design element, mosquitoes can become an issue. For this issue, it is advised to get the area covered with a suitable ground cover as quickly as possible, and then pour concrete in the bottom collection area of all drainage basins. This is not a part of the service we offer, and is a very easy do-it- yourself task. Also, “mosquito rings” can be placed in the drain to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. These are available at most home and garden stores where insecticides are sold.
What Are “French Drains”?
Unlike a surface drain, which is intended to channel off rain and sprinkler water, a French Drain alleviates the flow or build-up of sub-surface water, which if unchecked can lead to excessive foundation movements and/or retaining wall failure.
If excessive amounts of water flow under a home’s foundation, it can create either a heaval (where the overly hydrated soil swells and raises portions of the slab), or in some cases interior settlement (central portions of a home sinking as the underlying soils are eroded away by the water flow). The French Drain collects sub-surface water flow before it extends under the foundation slab, and channels it around the home either through natural gravity flow, or the use of a sump pump.
As excessive moisture builds in the soils behind a retaining wall, both from sub- surface flow and surface water saturation, the soil swell pressure combines with the hydrostatic pressure and pushes on the retaining wall with great force. If the wall is not designed to allow this moisture to drain and these pressures to “vent”, then the wall will ultimately succumb and fail. A French Drain should be installed to drain off excess moisture from the soils, thereby relieving much of the hydrostatic pressure. Also, by reducing water levels in the soils, soil expansion is minimized and the expansive forces on the retaining wall are reduced. Additionally, the void spaces in the French Drain act as a “cushion” to minimize the effects of soils swell pressures on the wall.
Sump pumps should require little to no maintenance. However, if you have fresh loose dirt or gravel washing into the collection basins, this is also working its way to the sump box. The sump box should be cleaned of dirt and debris at least once a year – more often if the drain boxes are filling with dirt or debris often. The sump box has a large round cover held on by screws or bolts. Please note that a clogged drainage system is not considered a defect in materials or workmanship and is not, therefore, covered as a warranty issue. Service fees may