Wet basements and sewer backups in older homes

This house has an older style foundation drainage system. It is made out of segments of clay tile referred to as the footing drain. This drain system collects water from the ground around the house and any water from the roof or gutter that migrates down the outside of the foundation wall. This footing drain is also connected to the floor drains in the basement.

The home’s sanitary waste plumbing directs waste from the house out to the street. This drain ties into the footing drain at a point under the basement floor concrete slab. A common clay tile drain is then used to direct water collected from the footing drain, basement floor drains, and waste plumbing out under the front yard and into the city sewer below the street. All of the water and waste eventually goes out to the sanitary sewer below the street in one common drain.

Clay tile drain is laid in short sections. They are not physically connected but instead lay end-to-end.  Clay tile is prone to cracking and breaking over time and will typically allow sand, dirt, and tree roots to get inside the pipe, clogging the pipe and interfering with its flow to the sewer. When there are periods of heavy rain, the system is prone to backing up. Ground water, mixed with sewage in some cases, is forced back up the common sewer drain and into the basement floor drain.

The home will always be prone to this type of backup. Preventative maintenance is recommended.  At a minimum, have the drain tile system augured and cleaned by a professional drain cleaning company.  These homes can be up-graded with the installation of an interior foundation drain and replacement of the common clay tile sewage drain.  Consult with a basement waterproofing company for further evaluation and estimates for costs on installation of a system designed specifically for your home.

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