Here, you’ll learn all about the French drain cleaning process as well as the costs involved. Readers having issues with their French drains can perform DIY maintenance with the knowledge provided here.
As one of the most versatile drainage systems, French drains have lots of applicability.
The main purpose is to have water properly channeled away from your property. After having a French drain installed successfully, what remains is the need for frequent maintenance.
While maintenance may have a lot of meaning, it’s being used in the context of cleaning.
What’s A French Drain?
Names can be confusing for a lot of reasons. It’s possible to have a French drain installed on your property without knowing its name. Well, not anymore.
As a way of introduction, let’s begin by considering what a French drain is.
Also called a weeping tile, a French drain consists of a trench filled with rock or gravels with a perforated pipe that directs water off your property. It has two main parts; the drain field and the exit point.
The drain field is the section where water enters the drain pipe. This travels to the exit point which is usually slanted for easy drainage of water.
How it Works
Now, it’s common knowledge that water always seeks out the lowest point to flow towards. Based on this principle, a French drain is installed in a way that creates a sunken channel.
Beneath this channel is a perforated pipe covered with gravel.
Water easily drains out of the soil and into the pipe or drainage channel which empties the water away from your property. Here, gravity is essential to its smooth functioning.
That is as far as we’ll go in discussing how the French drain works.
French Drain Cleaning Process
French drains will need to be cleaned to maintain functionality.
Functionality in this sense refers to the absence of clogs. Clogging is the primary cause of malfunction for most French drains. This could be mud-related or external pipe clogs.
How French Drain Clogs Occur
We’ve stated that French drain clogs are of two types; those that are mud-related and external clogs. For mud-related clogs, it results from erosion. Steady erosion leads to the accumulation of muddy water.
The steady buildup of mud eventually blocks off or clogs the drain.
Also, groundwater contains sediments that may pass through French pipes. With time, there could also be a buildup of soil sediments leading to clogging of drains.
French pipes located above ground may get clogged more frequently and easily than those buried underground.
Whatever the case is, you’ll need to have your drains cleaned. This helps avoid backing up water in your yard or basement. So, what’s the cleaning process like?
First, you’ll need to locate the drain exit. This is followed by further testing to ascertain that it’s indeed clogged. With the help of a pressure washer, dislodge and flush down clogs.
A sewer snake may prove handy for carrying out French drain cleaning.
Locating the Drain Exit
The French drain cleaning process starts with locating the drain exit.
In other words, you need to find where the French drain ends. This is the reference point for finding the drain head or starting point. One of the easiest ways to locate such is by inspecting elevated areas of your yard.
Testing to Ensure there’s a Clog
Having found the starting and exit points of the drain, what remains is to have the drain tested to be double sure it’s indeed clogged. One of the easy ways to do that is by running down the drain using a garden hose.
This helps reveal if the drain has issues or not.
With water backing up, it’s a clear sign that your drain is clogged and in need of cleaning. At this point, you’ll need to proceed to the next step which involves pushing out clogs preventing water flow.
Consider Using a Pressure Washer
A pressure washer comes in handy for such situations. French drain cleaning can be handled with the help of this tool. Under high pressure, most clogs are likely to give way.
To use the pressure washer, properly position yourself by standing to the side.
Aim at the clogged pipe bottom and put on the pressure washer to commence the cleanup process. In most cases, this should be enough to push out any clogs. Clogs left for long are likely to be tougher to get rid of.
This is where you should use an additional tool; the sewer snake.
Use a Sewer Snake for Difficult Clogs
Sewer snakes are handy tools used for dislodging clogs in sewer systems. This will prove useful for French drain cleaning. Insert the snake into the drain until it encounters resistance.
This should be gently pushed until it steadily loosens. Your pressure washer should be used at intervals to help speed up the cleaning process.
French Draining Cleaning Cost
Having discussed the process involved in cleaning a French drain, what remains is the cost of performing such a procedure. Clean-up costs are determined by the cleaning methods adopted.
For DIY cleaning, you’ll incur little to nothing in costs.
This is because you’re performing the maintenance process yourself. There may be little costs involved when hiring certain equipment. Otherwise, you won’t have to pay a penny for this cleanup process.
Cost of Calling the Pros
Not everyone is suited for DIY French drain cleaning. Some homeowners prefer having professionals perform the job for them. Whatever your preferences are, it’s important to do it the right way.
Therefore, only a reputable technician or handyman should be called for such a job.
French drain cleaning costs will range from around $80 to $300 depending on the drain condition. Also, the number of hours spent on the job may count as well. So, you might end up paying anywhere from $100 to $500.
Exact costs are determined after an assessment of the French drain’s condition. So, you’ll need to have a technician come around to provide you with a price quote.
This is all you need to know about French drain cleaning. With the cleaning process discussed, you can lower cleaning costs by adopting the DIY approach to cleaning. You can also have a pro handle this task for you at a cost.
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