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Water drains into basement from yard

I have an old house, built 1940, and for some reason they put the plastic french drains from the yard to drain into a pit in the basement. I have a sump pump that cycles on and off several times a day because of water constantly coming in through the drains. I do not know where the drains originate, but believe they are underground outside.My pump has burned out several times over the past 7 years, the last time resulting in flooding in the basement. Has anyone ever heard of this. I had one contractor look at it and said that there is a possibility that the water table may be dumping water into these drains. The only time I've never had any water coming out was when our area had a drought. I am trying to find ways to stop the water all together. I am also talking to a landscape contractor to alleviate the excess yard water. Cold the ground be so oversaturated that is continues to dump water down the drains? I need to fix this problem, especially with the fear of another flooded basement.

Re: Water drains into basement from yard

I too have an old house and got a similar problem which water coming into the basement from the yard, did your problem got fixed? if yes, do you mind share with me how you fixed it? I am planning to put in additional room and a bath for family members come in town, but I have to fix the moisture problem before I get spend more money on the additions. Thanks for sharing your experience in advanced.

Re: Water drains into basement from yard

I have no help with your problem other than to say I would install another sump pump slightly above the original, so if/when the first burns out, you have a back up.

Re: Water drains into basement from yard

What you describe is, basically, the typical configuration of a conventional french drain, and luckily, yours seem to be working for the most part, except when, as you mentioned, the sump pump fails.

French drains have been used for many years as a way to prevent basement leaks. Note that a basement is basically a box of concrete (or stone) buried in wet dirt.

That soil which was once excavated for the basement to be built, and then back filled is more lose than the undisturbed portion of the land around it. It will take many years, or even decades for the soil to be as compact as the surroundings. As a result it soaks water like a sponge, and when it is over saturated, the resulting hydrostatic pressure pushes water against the foundation walls, and it eventually finds its way into the basement.

So the only way to keep the basement from leaking is to keep that soil as dry as possible with adequate drainage.

French drains, commonly buried by the footing, are meant to collect that ground water and divert it away from the foundation by means of a sump pump, like the one you have, or in some cases through gravity based discharge lines.

There are however other things you can do to help and take some of the burden off the sump pump.

- Grade the terrain as to slope away from the foundation walls.
- Install gutters, or keep the existing ones clear and free of debris.
- Extend downspouts as to slope as far away from the foundation wall as possible.
- Keep bushes and plants that need constant watering away from the house, avoid using sprinklers and garden hoses too close to the walls.

That should greatly reduce the burden on your sump pump. I would then recommend you to get a sump pump system with a battery operated backup sump pump,that will pick up the tab during heavy rains when the main pump is over worked, and most importantly, will keep your basement protected in case of a power outage.

If none of these measures improve the conditions, at least I'd recommend you call a good waterproofing company because you might have other problems that need to be addressed. If you live near the water, you might have a high water table issue. If not, your french drain might be clogged or collapsed (very likely) or there are water springs around the foundation.

In that case, you might need to provide additional drainage by installing an interior drain tile, around the internal perimeter of the basement and a better sump pump system to handle the job.

Good news is, internal drainage systems are not very disruptive to install and not too costly either. The best systems are serviceable throughout the years, and backed up by Transferable Lifetime Warranty as well.

Here's some information on basement leaks.

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