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27th January 2009
All homes need some form of drainage system to keep water and runoff under control. A drainage system channels rainwater from your roof and keeps water from building up around and seeping into the foundations of your home. Moisture in the foundation of your home can lead to several problems, including mold and mildew issues. Home drainage systems generally include at least one downspout. A downspout is a vertical pipe, usually made of metal or plastic, that carries the rainwater from the roof gutters to the ground. Over time, these downspouts can crack or erode. If your house is in need of an updated downspout drainage pipe, there are a few simple steps you can follow to install it yourself.
Installing downspout drainage is an easy process, even for the novice do-it-yourselfer. However, there is a correct way to install downspout drains. If not installed correctly, they won’t do their jobs properly. There are a few main things to remember when installing downspout drainage: install them in undisturbed soil and make sure they channel the water a decent distance from your home’s foundation. When building a new home, be sure not to install the downspout drains before the dirt around the foundation is compacted. The stress from the settled soil can eventually lead to fractured pipes. The best place to install downspout drainage pipes is in virgin soil, roughly 5 to 6 feet away from the foundation of your home.
Another handy downspout drainage tip is to lay the pipe in a gravel or sand bed. Sandy soil, most commonly found in Southern regions, is best for water filtration. Many clay-heavy soils will have trouble absorbing rainwater, so make sure you place the end of the downspout in an area ripe for water absorption.
Installing Downspout Drainage Step-by-Step
1. Plan out the trench. Using string and stakes, place the trench line about 4 feet from each downspout.
2. Mark the trench line. Sprinkle flour on the ground along the string line. Then, remove the string and stakes. Lay cardboard along the outer edges of the flour line.
3. Dig the trench. Start digging along the white flour line, dumping the dirt on the cardboard as you go. This makes filling in the dirt at the end a whole lot easier. Make the trench about 6 inches wide and about 10 inches deep. To make sure water drains away from the downspouts, slope the trench downward about 1 to 2 inches per section of pipe. In colder climates, you may have to dig the trench anywhere between 30-50 inches deep to make sure water in the pipe doesn’t freeze during winter. If so, make sure the pipe connects to another drain line or that you drain the pipe into a dry well.
4. Lay out the pipes. Lay out each piece of pipe and their fittings to make sure you have all of the parts.
5. Install the starter elbow. Below the coupling, place the 90 degree elbow in the trench. Cut a piece of the pipe and glue one end to the coupling and the other to the elbow.
6. Insert the adapter and reducer. Insert the downspout adapter and reducer into the pipe. Lay 90 degree elbows at each turn, making sure to check that the pipe is always sloping slightly downward. Glue a T-fitting when you reach the next downspout. Use standard couplings as you continue laying the pipe sections.
Finish the end of the pipe and fill in dirt. At the end of the pipe, dig a wide, shallow hole. Line it with rocks or gravel about 4 inches deep. Cover the pipe end with another layer of gravel. Then, fill in the original trench with the dirt you placed on the cardboard pieces.