Over time, leaves, conifer needles, silt, roots and other undesirables will build up in any drainage system. The key to keeping a drainage system working trouble free is both preventative and routine maintenance.
A drainage system is largely sealed against introduction of foreign matter by virtue of the fact that it is buried and sitting in a bed of gravel, but remember that there are still several openings which should be kept clean.
The rain gutters (depending on the size and number of trees in the area) can introduce decaying organic matter as well as such things as asphalt roofing material into the drainage system via the downspouts. Although timely annual cleaning of the gutters is important, even more important is the use of strainers in the gutters where the downspout is attached. These will hold back the solid matter from going down the downspout until the gutters can be cleaned.
The points at ground level where the downspouts enter the drainage system piping should also be kept above (or protected from) the surrounding soil and covered.
Surface drains, such as those found at the bottom of a sloped driveway or outside a basement door, will collect all manner of dirt and debris. Most drains will have removable grates which allow them to be cleaned out reasonably well with a wet-dry vacuum.
The number one enemy of the perimeter drainage system is tree roots. Clay and concrete tile system are extremely susceptible to root induced problems. Although planting a tree of any size within 1m (3′) of the house foundation is never a good idea, some trees are more problematic than others for the Consider the rooting habits of any trees planted near the foundation of a house. Planting any tree right on the corner of a house guarantees future problems.
The final part of the maintenance routine is to have the system professionally augered or Hydro-Flushed / Jetting every 1-2 years. The cleaning schedule will vary from system to system. A properly installed modern drainage system may not require attention for 5-10 years, while an old clay tile system may be kept alive only through yearly cleanings.
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