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What you should know about basement drain systems

June 30, 2019

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Basement drain systems weren't a part of the code when homes were constructed years ago. Today, all homes are built with a basement drain system. Here's what you should know. 

Basement drain systems are installed to keep standing water out of the basement area. Several different pieces of equipment and tiling can be used together on both the exterior and interior of the home for the prevention of flooding from outside precipitation and hydrostatic pressure.

sump pump installation in Rhode Island

What is a Basement Drain System?

The basement drain system is a combination of tilling, pumps, and other equipment used to keep water out of the lowest part of a house. It isn't surprising that the basement is most susceptible to flooding because it is under the ground. As mentioned earlier, almost all newer houses have these installed during construction. Older homes don't always have them, but homeowners tend to add one in after they realize that moisture in the basement is a problem.

Why Do I Need a Basement Drain System?

Moisture in the basement isn't just annoying to look at. As it sits, it can lead to cracks and other damages in the foundation, walls, flooring, and different parts of the building structure. The problems don't stop there, though. 

There is a potential for mold growth, which is just as damaging but can also cause health problems and respiratory issues. Anything you store in the basement will likely be ruined if water gets in. Last but not least, water or moisture of any kind that lingers smells terrible. So, if you're dealing with any of these situations, it's time to learn more about basement drain systems.

Drain Tile for Exterior Basement Drain Systems

After the foundation is put in, contractors will add a drainpipe that is flexible and perforated all the way around the perimeter. It stops outside water before it has a chance to seep in. To filter out the dirt, gravel is put over the top and around the installed piping. There is a collection pit where the water goes from the pipe, and then it gets pushed back where it needs to go through a sump pump.

Basement Drain Systems with Interior French Drains

French drains are more common to use for basement waterproofing when the home is already built, but water damages are beginning to occur. A basement waterproofing company will install the same kind of system that is used in exterior drain systems, including the pipe, sump pump, collection pan, and gravel for filtering. The difference is, a French drain is placed inside the basement perimeter just under the floor level. For finished basements, an added grate is installed to cover the French drain system. Those that only use their basement area for things like storage will skip that and leave the equipment exposed.

Floor Drains for Basement Drain Systems

Floor drains are typically installed before the home gets built. The concrete floor is poured in a way so that it gently slopes towards the drain situated underground. It goes down to a collection pit from there, and then a sump pump pushes it all back up to the ground level. In the past, floor drains were connected to the main sewer lines, but after enough people dealt with backup issues, it's not so common to see anymore.

Basement Drain Systems with Sump Pump Installation

There are two different types of sump pumps, including a pedestal model and a submersible unit. Before having one of these devices installed, there has to be a collection pit dug. It's situated below the level of the floor. Typically, contractors measure these out to be about two feet wide and one and a half feet deep. Some are larger, depending on the region where the home is located. 

The way a sump pump works is when the level of the water that's inside the collection pit reaches a certain height, it will kick into action and start forcing the water through a hose or pipe from the basement out into an area where it's not close to the building structure.

Submersible sump pumps are known for being more powerful when it comes to pushing the water back out into the yard for natural drainage. However, you should know that with this performance comes a heftier price tag.

Pedestal sump pumps work more like the float you see in a toilet tank. These devices are installed higher above the collection pan and operate the same way for the same purpose. They aren't as strong or as costly as submersible pumps. When you live in a region that gets a lot of rain, or if you're always dealing with water in the basement, it's a better idea to get the more expensive one to save yourself the headache. A professional basement waterproofing contractor can give you an expert recommendation on what custom solution for basement drain systems is ideal for you.

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