Downspouts are the part of the gutter system that works to get all the rain water off the roof to an area away from the home. If water is not redirected away from the foundation of the home, a lot of damage can be done to your yard or any beautification such as flower beds or gardens. It is recommended that the water be directed at least 7-10 feet away from the home using an underwater downspout drain. Because the water needs to go 7-10 feet away, a lot of people choose to have the water redirected underground so large ugly pipes aren’t laying in the middle of their yard.
Usually underground drains are piped anywhere between 5-100 feet depending on the terrain and the preference of the homeowner. However, when a drain is placed underground it becomes susceptible to being damaged or clogged. Here are a few reasons why a drain can get damaged or clogged.
When the drain is damaged, dirt and debris can pass through cracks or openings resulting in clogging. Doing electrical work that necessitates putting lines underground or putting up a split rail fence requiring you to dig deep holes are some of the most common ways drains get damaged. If you hire a local handyman or even some sub-contractors to do these jobs and they damage your drain, they may use duck tape or some other quick fix to repair the damaged drain pipe for a low cost. These types of fixes eventually fail resulting in a clogged underground drain.
If no one has been digging or driving heavy equipment around your drain and there is damage that could cause clogging, the problem could be related to the original installation. If a perforated drain pipe was used to redirect the rain water, this could possibly be the problem.
Some contractors and homeowners elect to use perforated pipe thinking a small amount of water may escape but will soak into the soil. Although this may sound logical, the result can be costly. Since plants and roots need water to grow, nearby roots will actually seek out the source of the water and pass through the tiny holes in the pipe. As roots continue to move and grow they will eventually invade and destroy your underground drain system. Every time it rains, more water flows through the pipe and the roots grow larger until the pipe becomes clogged and finally bursts. This leads to standing water in your yard and creates all the negative side effects that result from flooding.
If an underground drain becomes root bound, it is almost impossible to fix. The only way to remove the roots is to dig up the drain and clean it out in sections. If you choose to clean the drain instead of getting a new one, understand that the same issue may very well happen again.
Usually if this situation occurs the homeowner or property owner chooses to have a new pipe installed that doesn’t allow water in to begin with.
Another reason why underground drains get clogged is because of how slow the flow of water is. If leaves, pine needles, or other types of debris make their way into the pipe, they may not pass all the way through. Over the course of time, sediment can cause the pipe to deteriorate and build up in the bottom of the drain.
The longer the pipe, the less of an angle there will be and the low water pressure will allow clogging to occur. Usually this process takes a long time but it is not an uncommon scenario. To prevent this from happening, you can disconnect the bottom of the downspout and use a water hose to increase water pressure and flush out the debris.
If your underground drain is damaged or root bound, the best way to handle the situation is to simply have the drain replaced. Any other course of action won’t be much more affordable and can open you up to a high risk of the drain being clogged again in the near future. Maintaining your underground drains by flushing them frequently will prevent the majority of the issues that lead to clogging. Make sure your pipes are not perforated and try not to drive vehicles or operate heavy equipment above where your pipe is located.