Have a Clogged Interior Drainage System? Here's What To Do!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 by Kal Aldrich


It is common for basements to have an interior drainage system that works with a sump pump to keep the basement dry. The system collects water, guides it to the sump pump, then pumps it outside of the home through the discharge line. The main purpose behind an interior system is that it prevents water seepage from invading your basement. If the system gets blocked or clogged, the system would then get backed up and the chance of water seepage or basement flooding is much more likely, which is not what any homeowner would want. It is important to keep an eye on your drainage system and take proper precautions before your basement becomes affected.

Signs of a Clogged or Damaged Interior Drainage System

Most signs will be obvious, but here are the five main signs you will notice right away:

-          Sunk or curved basement floor

-          Water seepage on the floor

-          Stains on the foundation wall

-          Mineral sediments in the sump pump

-          Flooding when it rains

All of these signs and symptoms are due to sediment build-up and clogs the drainage system. This is when our design specialists and service technicians come in handy and can inspect and diagnose these problems before they get any worse.

Cleaning Out Your Interior Drainage System

The quickest way to clean out your drainage system is by twisting it with a plumber’s or drain snake, which is a flexible drilling device used to dislodge clogs in your plumbing. While this is a pretty basic “Do It Yourself” solution, some solutions require a professional contractor, especially if it damages the system or degrades the warranty. At American Waterworks, we offer annual maintenance, where our technicians check the drainage system, the sump pump, and the discharge line for clogs. They also inspect the basement for other possible signs of water or foundation problems. To learn more about our annual maintenance service, click HERE.

Six Ways to Avoid Clogging Basement Drain Systems

The first way to avoid your interior basement drainage system getting clogged is to place the drain out of the mud zone. Mud will eventually guide its way through gravel and clog up perimeter drainage systems. There is not a “self-flushing” drainage system because if mud gets in, some of it will stay there. By placing a perimeter drain on top of the foundation footing, it rests above the “mud zone” while still collecting water where the foundation wall meets the floor. The drain can still be installed underneath the floor on top of clean stone because small service ports can be attached to access the system if needed.

The second way is to not use standard drain tile. Like most technology nowadays, basement drain systems have come a long way. There is a reason why drainage systems are made the way they are. These drains are designed to clog less often, to install more efficiently, and to make you remove less of your basement floor during an installation. New drainage systems are also made to collect water from basement walls and have been custom-built for many different scenarios. Learn more about our interior drainage systems HERE!

The third way is to get one of our sump pump systems installed in your basement. At American Waterworks, we recommend installing a sump pump system along with a drainage system. A battery back-up system should also be installed to protect the home from power outages or heavy volumes of rain, which classifies as our TripleSafe Sump Pump System. A sump pump will vigorously pump water out of the basement, allowing it to drain much more water than an inactive drain system is able to get rid of. A sump pump can keep muddy water moving, preventing much of the dirt from having time to settle in the drainage system. To learn about our sump pumps, click HERE!

The fourth way is to install an IceGaurd anti-freezing drain against the foundation wall. The discharge line of a sump pump is often the weakest link in a waterproofing system, especially during the winter. When temperatures drop below freezing, sump pump discharge lines can freeze over and clog. Even a partial clog in the discharge line can force the sump pump system to work harder to pump out the water, which can increase the changes of the pump overheating and causing it to fail. At American Waterworks, we install a grated opening at the base of each of our discharge lines. This opening is made to give water a second way out of the house in case a freezing discharge line occurs. To learn more about our IceGuard Discharge Protection, click HERE!

The last way is to protect the discharge line exit point. Another weak point in a sump pump discharge line is located at where the water exits your system. In many scenarios, this can get left wide open, allowing the space to fill with leaves, mud, and other debris. Animals can occasionally live and die in these openings, which also leads to clogs. At American Waterworks, we make our discharge lines with grated outlets that blend in with the rest of your landscaping and will prevent any tripping hazards. To learn more about our LawnScape Water Outlets and other downspout extensions, click HERE!

 American Waterworks Interior Drainage Repairs

Our installers have waterproofed over 25,000 homes across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Dakota, and we have warranted solutions that can help you! We provide free inspections and estimates to homeowners within our service area. To schedule your free estimate today, call us now or fill out our online free estimate form HERE!

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American Waterworks
1307 Valleyhigh Dr NW
Rochester, MN 55901

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4119 14th Ave N
Fargo, ND 58102
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