Perimeter drains are a very boring thing to talk about and spend money on but are very helpful to keeping water out of your house. A perimeter drain runs around your house and then sends the water to the storm drain in most cases. They collect the groundwater and also the rainwater from the roof through the gutters and downspouts and send it away from your foundation. Your perimeter drain is below the dirt by the footing of your foundation. It is put in place before you put your sidewalks or landscaping so properly fixing the whole thing will normally cause a mess and a bunch more work to put things back together after your repair.
Older homes had a single perimeter drain made of concrete tiles which as you can imagine after time will collapse causing a break in the flow of water around the house to the storm drain. This can cause a water pool where the break is and could cause some water ingress to your crawlspace or somewhere in your house it shouldn’t be. Any time water sits beside your house over time can do bad things and should be fixed.
The next stage in perimeter drains is big O piping, a normally corrugated black pipe. This pipe has holes in the top and solid on the bottom so that your roof water through the downspouts, if not too much, will stay in the big o pipe, and then the top holes will collect the surrounding rain/groundwater. The problem with this design is if there is too much water the pipes will be releasing the water back out through those holes. Normally that is when you need them to be working at their best.
Although it is stronger than concrete tile, this pipe can collapse as well over time, causing water intrusion issues. Normally this is an easier fix as it would fail in spots of the perimeter, not the whole distance. Dig it up and fix the broken piece then you are ready for the next rain.
If you have a single system either concrete or big O sometimes it helps to divert some of the water from overrunning your perimeter system or if there is a break in the line somewhere move as much water from the issue spot as possible. A solution to this is simply diverting the downspout pipe water as far away from the foundation of the house as possible. The way to do this is easiest by an extension onto the downspout to take the water away at least 4 feet from your house.
There is a small roll-out hose that attaches to your downspout that rolls out when it rains moving the water away from your house. When the rain stops and the water stops running down the downspouts it rolls back in.
They are only about $10-20. Half of the water going to the issue will help a lot.
The newest way they are doing it is a 2 pipe system. They are using a single solid white pipe without any holes to take only gutter/roof water to the drains. No way dirt can clog the holes or over-filling the pipes. The second pipe is the same size but has holes to collect the groundwater and is all covered with gravel to help the water find its way to the drains and away to the road.
Not the most interesting thing to talk about but if an issue comes up it's always better to know what’s going on and how to fix it.
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