French drain inspection and replacement

June 10th, 2021

French drains are a very effective drainage solution for areas of your property that will not drain naturally on their own. The fact that these important drainage pipes are buried underground and are out of sight means that property owners must be diligent about having their French strains inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. That’s where we come in!

The plumbing team here at Plomberie Richard et Fils have the knowledge and experience required for keeping French drains clean and unobstructed so that your property drains properly. Let’s look at some of the commonly asked questions about French drains:

  • What is a French drain?
  • How do I know if my property needs a French drain?
  • When should you clean French drains?
  • How do I know if my French drain is ready to be replaced?
  • Who can I call to clean, repair, or replace my French drain?

What is a French drain?

French drains, also referred to as drainage pipes, are part of an underground drainage system which property owners install to solve “puddling” or “pooling” problems. French drains (and drainage pipes) consist of a ditch lined with gravel and containing a perforated pipe that collects excess water that collects in a place below a property, after rain or snowmelt. The drainage pipes used in a French drain are angled to drain water from the foundations of a house or garage and empty into a storm sewer or to be collected in a rain barrel for reuse in the garden.

For older homes with porous foundations, or those with basements that have water seeping through the walls due to high groundwater pressure, French drains can be installed directly inside the basement floor. These “wet basements” use French drains to collect and discharge the water instead of having to use a sump pump or a wet vac.

Which properties need a French Drain?

If there is a low point on your property where water regularly accumulates after rain or snow, you might need a French drain, especially if you are unable to build-up the area to redirect the water drainage on a natural slope. Similarly, if the soil remains “muddy” or “soggy”when all of the other areas of your lawn or property have dried out naturally, a French drain might be the drainage solution you are looking for. Using drainage pipes in covered ditches is an effective way to keep water away from a foundation to prevent water infiltration and basement flooding.

Cleaning French Drains

The fact that French drains are buried in trenches makes them susceptible to the build-up of small sediments and debris that filter through them when the ground above is draining. Homeowners should clean or flush their French drains on an annual basis, at minimum, to keep them clean and able to effectively drain and redirect excess moisture.

Some French drain configurations will clock or have a blockage due to their length or curves. These long and or curvy drains may not be able to be flushed or unclogged with a simple garden hose or even a pressure washer. If your French drain is clogged and it is impossible to empty it on your own, it is important to contact professionals to have it cleaned with the proper tools before it causes flooding or damages your drainage pipes.

French Drain Replacement

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your French drain will extend its life. But there are times when the drainage pipes fail completely and need to be replaced. Before ripping out your French drains, always contact a qualified plumbing team to find out if there are any other options first. We use, for example, highly specialized tools and techniques to help unclog blocked French drains that might otherwise seem like they are broken and beyond repair. If it does come down to the need to replace a French drain, it’s wise to hire professionals so that they can identify what went wrong with the first drainage system and ensure that the replacement pipes and trench are better suited to your property and water flow.

The right team to clean, maintain or replace your French drain

Although there are no moving parts like in faucets, toilets, or other indoor plumbing fixtures, French drains are indeed installed and serviced by plumbers. The Plomberie Richard et Fils team serving Montreal’s West Island and the surrounding area are here to help with any questions or concerns about your French drain. Contact us today!

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