In Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, we all know how important drainage is. The West Coast is the wettest place in the country, and it it’s extremely important that a home’s drains are functioning properly all year long.
This includes the perimeter drain around your home. Never heard of it? No problem. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about this important drainage system and how it works.
The perimeter drain is an underground drainage system designed to attract the water in the surrounding soil that has accumulated from heavy rains, rising groundwater or melting snow. The perimeter drain prevents the water from seeping into your basement and all houses are built with them.
These days, the perimeter drain is made of a plastic or PVC perforated pipe. The pipe is installed underground and runs the perimeter of a home or building. The perforated pipe is covered by fine mesh so that water is able to enter the pipe, but dirt and debris are not.
The pipe is covered with layers of gravel from less dense to more, so that water is able to filter through the soil and travel toward the pipe. From there, it is carried away from your home.
You know how basements often have a bit of a damp feel to them? Especially unfinished ones or basements with concrete walls and floors? That’s because the water underground is slowly on the move, drip by drip, and water eventually seeps into everything. The perimeter drain will help prevent water from pooling around or in your home, causing countless problems in the long run (like black mould).
Over time, perimeter drains will need some attention because they will become blocked with debris, dirt and roots. Older homes may not have PVC pipes but rather a clay or concrete system might need more attention because these older systems can break or collapse.
As with all elements of home ownership, it is best to be proactive and ensure that you are keeping up with inspections and maintenance.
For perimeter drain maintenance, pay close attention after the West Coast winter or if there is heavy rainfall in the summer. If you see water stains on your basement walls or mystery puddles forming around your home’s foundation, take steps to address it. If you have never had an inspection done on your home’s perimeter drain, it’s a good idea to get one.
If you suspect that there may be a problem with your perimeter drain, it’s important to fix it. Leaving it will make the problems much worse, and quickly.
Should you panic? No! Perimeter drains, even older ones, are designed to withstand many decades of functioning. But the more you know about it, the better.
If you have never had an inspection done on this system, or if you don’t know anything about it, it’s a good idea to call in a professional. They will perform a inspection by sending a camera through the drain system and report back if any maintenance is needed.
A clogged or even collapsing system does not necessarily mean a total overhaul. Your system may need to be flushed or a small drain pipe section replaced.
If you have any questions about the drainage system in your home, give us a call!