Foundation Drains

What is a Foundation Drain?

They're pipes located under your basement walls that collect ground water to help keep it from damaging your home or anything you store in the basement by preventing water from seeping through the floor or walls. Homes built after 1954 have sump pumps that collect water from foundation drains and move the water to your lawn or a storm sewer. Many homes constructed before 1954 have foundation drains connected directly to the lateral, which is the sanitary sewer system. Foundation drains connected to sanitary sewers deliver excess groundwater into the system that does not need to be treated at the treatment plants. This type of system also increases the risk of basement backups for you and your neighbors during heavy rain by dumping excess water into sanitary sewer pipes when they are already at or near capacity. Homes built before 1920 may not have foundation drains.

Here's How a Foundation Drain Connected to a Lateral Operates:
Here's How a Foundation Drain Connected to a Sump Pump Functions:

(Above) Look closely and you'll see slots in what appears to be a concrete box next to the wall. It's actually a newer style of foundation drain, hard plastic that allows water under the home

to flow into the box and towards the sump pump that you can see below.

Sump Pumps

If you already have a sump pump, it's a good idea to have some type of backup system installed in case you lose power during a storm. There are several to chose from with a wide range in price.

Most battery backup systems are equipped with alarms to notify you if the main power goes out and the backup system is operating. Battery backup systems are not designed to run for long periods of time, but they may buy you enough time to borrow a portable generator or for the electric company to restore power to your home.

You can also invest in a portable generator. They are more expensive than the battery backup systems, but can operate for long periods of time. NEVER operate a portable generator inside your home. Make sure it is in a well ventilated area and that any exhaust fumes are not getting into an open window or door.

It is ILLEGAL to Drain Your Sump Pump Into the Floor Drain or Wash Tub in Your Basement!!!

Doing so can significantly increase the risk of a basement backups for you and your neighbors during heavy rain by slamming a lot of excess water into the sanitary sewer system when it's at or near capacity.

Always make sure the discharge pipe from your sump pump is at least six to ten feet away from your house. Your discharge pipe may go into another pipe underground that usually drains into a storm sewer. If you are not sure if the discharge pipe from your home is connected properly, call the plumbing inspector for your city or village.