Author Topic: Yard drains clogged :(  (Read 2219 times)

jeromedawg

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Yard drains clogged :(
« on: October 25, 2021, 06:26:05 PM »
Hi all,

Anyone have suggestions on dealing with clogged up drains in the yard? We have a couple places on the lawn where there are those larger 5-6" green covered grates and I poured water into one a couple days ago and noticed it wasn't draining but pooling (not good for mosquitoes). I removed the cover and there's a root ball at the edge of the exit pipe :(

It has been raining a good amount today and there's another area of the yard (brick/cement) that has a smaller 3" drain - I can't seem to remove the cover for it but it was pooled up. The drain was packed to the brim with dirt though. I tried shoving a screwdriver in to clear some of it but it's not draining.

Is this really something I should be calling in a pro for? And if so, who would it be? Plumber? Landscaper? Drainage company? We're having a drainage company come out tomorrow to look some areas of dirt/vegetation running on the side and part of the front of the home (causing a wet wall condition on the inside). We were thinking about filling with concrete or gravel + rocks but will see what they have to say. I'll probably have my wife ask them about the drains too.

Rent an electric drain snake like this?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/rental/Electric-Eel-Mfg-Co-Inc-Drain-Cleaner-100-X-3-4-RK-3-4IC100/310643179

I don't know how to remove that smaller 3" plastic grate either - it almost seems like a permanent install but maybe it's just the dirt/friction holding it in place. I'm tempted just to break/bust the thing up and take it out that way.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2021, 06:32:09 PM by jeromedawg »

Abe

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2021, 11:02:02 PM »
That company should be able to deal with the clogged drains. You're probably right about the 3" drain cover just being stuck. If you rent the drain cleaners, please do not skimp on hand and arm protection. Heavy leather or rubber gloves are essential. Also don't do it at home alone.

Paper Chaser

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2021, 04:42:55 AM »
You need to know what kind of material your drainage is made from before you go shoving a snake in there. For PVC, a snake is probably fine. For something like black corrugated plastic, a snake will wreck it in no time.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2021, 01:37:33 PM »
He just came out - I had a work engagement but my wife was walking around with him as he checked the property. He was basically saying that we need to re-grade/slope various areas of the property to keep water from draining towards the house or pooling. He recommended doing a hydrojet+camera inspection of the various outside drains to figure out and assess how bad the root system(s) are. The thing is, part of his recommendations with grading involved tearing out various sections of concrete and trees and laying new drain down. So I'm not really sure why we would even need that hydrojet/camera inspection. Of course, I haven't spoken directly with him yet and we are waiting for an estimate too, so will go over that when we get that information.

I'm getting bits and pieces from my wife but it sounds like it's going to be major work in the back :T

Abe

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2021, 07:53:45 PM »
That seems excessive for SoCal. You probably just need better French drains at the portion of the foundation that is exposed to runoff, and cleaning our your existing drains.  Regrading is very expensive. if you have frequent rain like in the northwest thatíd be warranted.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2021, 11:51:38 PM »
That seems excessive for SoCal. You probably just need better French drains at the portion of the foundation that is exposed to runoff, and cleaning our your existing drains.  Regrading is very expensive. if you have frequent rain like in the northwest thatíd be warranted.

Yea, he was pointing out pooling water on the side of the house that has a cement alley and also how the cement next to the side of the house has a gap which shows signs that it is pulling away. Long-term this isn't a good thing and so he was suggesting doing demo of the concrete and re-grading only on that side.

The other side of the house, where there's a walkway to the front, has dirt/foliage/trees on both sides. The area of dirt between the walls of the home and the walkway are more crucial since this is likely what has been causing a persistent wet wall condition. We need to have a landscaper remove or cap off the existing sprinkler system and plumbing and possibly clear the foliage (mostly rose bushes) and likely would have them install a french drain and cover with gravel. The other side of the walkway is where it's mostly trees and then the neighbor's wall/fence (zero lot line homes). He pointed out how there's moss growing over the existing compacted soil, which indicates poor drainage (even though there are drains). So he was suggesting having the trees removed and then they would excavate and install a french drain on this side as well. We would likely fill the entire area with gravel. Or we may extend the walkway and make it wider... not quite sure. This is just for the side of the house too! We still have the actual back yard and front courtyard areas to consider as far as what we will do for landscaping and or hardscaping.



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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2021, 09:19:06 PM »
Be very careful if you're removing healthy trees.  Aside from what the loss of shade can do to your property and utility bills, trees can suck up a LOT of water. I had 2 mature maple trees that happily and quickly absorbed the water runoff from 50% of my roof, when they were cut down I suddenly had a massive drainage problem that is going to take probably $10k to really fix.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2021, 09:46:09 PM »
Be very careful if you're removing healthy trees.  Aside from what the loss of shade can do to your property and utility bills, trees can suck up a LOT of water. I had 2 mature maple trees that happily and quickly absorbed the water runoff from 50% of my roof, when they were cut down I suddenly had a massive drainage problem that is going to take probably $10k to really fix.

Thanks for the warning. We will probably leave the larger trees in place and just deal with the smaller ones.

We got the quote from the drainage company and it's $16k~

$8k to remediate one side of the house (involves excavating, adding waterproof membrane to the foundation, and then adding a french drain and all the drainage to a new curb cut in the street...this doesn't including clearing the existing plants [rose bushes] and capping off the existing irrigation/sprinklers), and the other $8k to re-grade the other side of the house where the concrete alley is with water pooling....

The landscapers I got bids from would charge me around $1000 minus material costs to clear out the area and slope/grade the dirt to drain to the existing drains + adding gravel/rock but not only that - they would remove plants from other areas of the yard that I don't want and clean-up, trim, etc the rest of the yard.
Drainage company says existing drains are compromised and they would likely need to run new drains out to the street. The first landscaper who came out ran the hose into one section of drains and water seemed to be flowing out from the curb fine. Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't root balls inside any portion of the drains either.

Right now the priority is mitigating whatever is causing the wet wall condition. I'm still not sure what that is either - I removed dirt from the front area and exposed the weep screed but the wall still registers high moisture. I would think that by removing the dirt covering the weep screed, it would at least allow some room for the walls to 'breathe' - maybe it is drying out but just takes a much longer time?

Abe

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2021, 05:08:03 AM »
It will take some time for the wall to dry out. Iíd also check for mold in that wall.
For the side thatís all concrete, consider replacing some of it with pavers that let water run through. Thatíll probably fix that problem. Also switch to drip irrigation for anything near the wall- itíll save you money and reduce excess watering.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2021, 09:16:04 AM »
It will take some time for the wall to dry out. I’d also check for mold in that wall.
For the side that’s all concrete, consider replacing some of it with pavers that let water run through. That’ll probably fix that problem. Also switch to drip irrigation for anything near the wall- it’ll save you money and reduce excess watering.

There is definitely mold in there - we had testing done during escrow.

Wouldn't installing pavers on the other side cost a lot more than concrete?

And as far as drip irrigation, those were my thoughts exactly. If we were to do a french drain type setup against the foundation and convert that dirt/soil area to gravel, I'd put planter boxes there and use drip irrigation for those.

I think the first thing we may try doing at this point is to hire landscapers to clear the front and side where there is soil and rose bushes. Then cap off the irrigation or perhaps consider removing that line all together. That irrigation line against the window would likely be in the way of provisioning for a french drain if we were to go this route.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2021, 09:17:45 AM by jeromedawg »

Abe

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2021, 10:03:13 PM »
It will take some time for the wall to dry out. Iíd also check for mold in that wall.
For the side thatís all concrete, consider replacing some of it with pavers that let water run through. Thatíll probably fix that problem. Also switch to drip irrigation for anything near the wall- itíll save you money and reduce excess watering.

There is definitely mold in there - we had testing done during escrow.

Wouldn't installing pavers on the other side cost a lot more than concrete?

And as far as drip irrigation, those were my thoughts exactly. If we were to do a french drain type setup against the foundation and convert that dirt/soil area to gravel, I'd put planter boxes there and use drip irrigation for those.

I think the first thing we may try doing at this point is to hire landscapers to clear the front and side where there is soil and rose bushes. Then cap off the irrigation or perhaps consider removing that line all together. That irrigation line against the window would likely be in the way of provisioning for a french drain if we were to go this route.

Oh, I thought you had one side that was already all concrete. I'd say dig up some of that (or all) and replace with pavers. That's probably less than $8k.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2021, 12:31:48 AM »
It will take some time for the wall to dry out. Iíd also check for mold in that wall.
For the side thatís all concrete, consider replacing some of it with pavers that let water run through. Thatíll probably fix that problem. Also switch to drip irrigation for anything near the wall- itíll save you money and reduce excess watering.

There is definitely mold in there - we had testing done during escrow.

Wouldn't installing pavers on the other side cost a lot more than concrete?

And as far as drip irrigation, those were my thoughts exactly. If we were to do a french drain type setup against the foundation and convert that dirt/soil area to gravel, I'd put planter boxes there and use drip irrigation for those.

I think the first thing we may try doing at this point is to hire landscapers to clear the front and side where there is soil and rose bushes. Then cap off the irrigation or perhaps consider removing that line all together. That irrigation line against the window would likely be in the way of provisioning for a french drain if we were to go this route.

Oh, I thought you had one side that was already all concrete. I'd say dig up some of that (or all) and replace with pavers. That's probably less than $8k.

Yea, so the other side of the house has a 'concrete alley' where the AC condenser is also sitting. My understanding was that concrete is cheaper to pour than laying pavers... or are you suggesting to DIY the paver install? Or to use cheaper pavers/brick? We spent a small fortune installing pavers at our old place but they were nicer quality (Belgard). It cost over $8k to install the pavers that we had installed, and this was in 2015. They had to excavate a lot of dirt though as well, which pushed the cost up. The quote we received for pouring concrete in that small yard was around $5k-6k.

I'm anticipating a steep labor charge for demoing the existing concrete and then we'd have to consider how to deal with the AC condenser. I'm almost inclined not to do any of that work until the AC condenser craps out and or we decide to replace it. I'd prefer to have the HVAC guy installing a new condenser in the area after it is finished since he's the expert, rather than trusting the paving company/landscaper/etc to try to work around it or even relocate it themselves and end up breaking something or not leveling it correctly. If we did the demo/paver install ASAP with the current condenser in place, we'd likely have to hire an HVAC company to temporarily disconnect and move the thing... that is, if they'd even be willing to move a unit that old (it's from 1986 IIRC lol)

Here are pics of the alley:



And the main walkway that wraps-around the other side of the house and where we have a drainage/irrigation and possible leak creating the wet wall condition inside:





My FIL will be visiting in another week or so, and he loves doing gardening type work, so I think we may leverage him to help organize all the potted items and take stuff away or back to his own place if he wants any of it. There's a TON of bamboo back there from the previous owners - we're going to have to pay someone to remove it unless we can somehow manage to sell it.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2021, 12:38:15 AM by jeromedawg »

Abe

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2021, 06:00:09 PM »
Other thought I had, since itís so unusual to get drainage issues in your area, is what if the irrigation pipes are leaking? I had that issue here but assumed that Houston is just soggy. Turned out two valves had failed in the interval 10 years and prior owner just assumed same thing I didÖIf thatís the case maybe you donít need any regrading/concrete demo; etc. also pavers wouldnít help since rain isnít the issue. The landscapers should figure that out.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2021, 08:22:52 PM »
Other thought I had, since itís so unusual to get drainage issues in your area, is what if the irrigation pipes are leaking? I had that issue here but assumed that Houston is just soggy. Turned out two valves had failed in the interval 10 years and prior owner just assumed same thing I didÖIf thatís the case maybe you donít need any regrading/concrete demo; etc. also pavers wouldnít help since rain isnít the issue. The landscapers should figure that out.

We ended up having a gardener/landscape guy come out to remove all the plants and cap off the irrigation to the area. I also turned off the gate for all irrigation so no water is running. He also re-did a portion of the drain and installed/extended it and connected to the gutters. However, one part of the existing drain he didn't touch and this portion is pooling. I'm not too happy with him because he said he talked to me about this but it wasn't clear to me, and now he's saying that it's fine and it'll still drain just slowly. I don't think that's how drains are supposed to work though - I had a different landscaper (guy who actually runs a company/crew) come out and he was saying that you don't want your drains pooling water like that.

I also bought a couple of those Drain King balloon-drain clearer devices and ran them through sections of the piping - I was able to clear out some areas for sure but the piping in the problem area still has issues. I think there's a bad root ball clogging up the part of the drain that's running out to the street too - I'm probably going to feed the thing back in there tomorrow but I think a large tree root likely blocked a good amount of that section of drain. We have several large trees around the property so it's not surprising. I'm seriously considering having at least 2-3 of them removed, including a very large palm tree that has already ruined the drain system in the backyard. Without this drain system properly functioning, this could get really ugly.

yachi

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2021, 10:06:58 AM »
Other thought I had, since itís so unusual to get drainage issues in your area, is what if the irrigation pipes are leaking? I had that issue here but assumed that Houston is just soggy. Turned out two valves had failed in the interval 10 years and prior owner just assumed same thing I didÖIf thatís the case maybe you donít need any regrading/concrete demo; etc. also pavers wouldnít help since rain isnít the issue. The landscapers should figure that out.

We ended up having a gardener/landscape guy come out to remove all the plants and cap off the irrigation to the area. I also turned off the gate for all irrigation so no water is running. He also re-did a portion of the drain and installed/extended it and connected to the gutters. However, one part of the existing drain he didn't touch and this portion is pooling. I'm not too happy with him because he said he talked to me about this but it wasn't clear to me, and now he's saying that it's fine and it'll still drain just slowly. I don't think that's how drains are supposed to work though - I had a different landscaper (guy who actually runs a company/crew) come out and he was saying that you don't want your drains pooling water like that.

I also bought a couple of those Drain King balloon-drain clearer devices and ran them through sections of the piping - I was able to clear out some areas for sure but the piping in the problem area still has issues. I think there's a bad root ball clogging up the part of the drain that's running out to the street too - I'm probably going to feed the thing back in there tomorrow but I think a large tree root likely blocked a good amount of that section of drain. We have several large trees around the property so it's not surprising. I'm seriously considering having at least 2-3 of them removed, including a very large palm tree that has already ruined the drain system in the backyard. Without this drain system properly functioning, this could get really ugly.

If you want to turn off all irrigation, there's a valve on a vertical section of pipe below your hose connection.  In your 5th picture, you have that valve in the open position.  I'd close that for good measure.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2021, 01:50:54 PM »
Other thought I had, since itís so unusual to get drainage issues in your area, is what if the irrigation pipes are leaking? I had that issue here but assumed that Houston is just soggy. Turned out two valves had failed in the interval 10 years and prior owner just assumed same thing I didÖIf thatís the case maybe you donít need any regrading/concrete demo; etc. also pavers wouldnít help since rain isnít the issue. The landscapers should figure that out.

We ended up having a gardener/landscape guy come out to remove all the plants and cap off the irrigation to the area. I also turned off the gate for all irrigation so no water is running. He also re-did a portion of the drain and installed/extended it and connected to the gutters. However, one part of the existing drain he didn't touch and this portion is pooling. I'm not too happy with him because he said he talked to me about this but it wasn't clear to me, and now he's saying that it's fine and it'll still drain just slowly. I don't think that's how drains are supposed to work though - I had a different landscaper (guy who actually runs a company/crew) come out and he was saying that you don't want your drains pooling water like that.

I also bought a couple of those Drain King balloon-drain clearer devices and ran them through sections of the piping - I was able to clear out some areas for sure but the piping in the problem area still has issues. I think there's a bad root ball clogging up the part of the drain that's running out to the street too - I'm probably going to feed the thing back in there tomorrow but I think a large tree root likely blocked a good amount of that section of drain. We have several large trees around the property so it's not surprising. I'm seriously considering having at least 2-3 of them removed, including a very large palm tree that has already ruined the drain system in the backyard. Without this drain system properly functioning, this could get really ugly.

If you want to turn off all irrigation, there's a valve on a vertical section of pipe below your hose connection.  In your 5th picture, you have that valve in the open position.  I'd close that for good measure.

That's the shut-off for the entire house haha.

Alanphilips

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2021, 02:35:18 AM »
Hi all,

Anyone have suggestions on dealing with clogged up drains in the yard? We have a couple places on the lawn where there are those larger 5-6" green covered grates and I poured water into one a couple days ago and noticed it wasn't draining but pooling (not good for mosquitoes). I removed the cover and there's a root ball at the edge of the exit pipe :(

It has been raining a good amount today and there's another area of the yard (brick/cement) that has a smaller 3" drain - I can't seem to remove the cover for it but it was pooled up. The drain was packed to the brim with dirt though. I tried shoving a screwdriver in to clear some of it but it's not draining.

Is this really something I should be calling in a pro for? And if so, who would it be? Plumber? Landscaper? Drainage company? We're having a drainage company come out tomorrow to look some areas of dirt/vegetation running on the side and part of the front of the home (causing a wet wall condition on the inside). We were thinking about filling with concrete or gravel + rocks but will see what they have to say. I'll probably have my wife ask them about the drains too.

Rent an electric drain snake like this?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/rental/Electric-Eel-Mfg-Co-Inc-Drain-Cleaner-100-X-3-4-RK-3-4IC100/310643179

I don't know how to remove that smaller 3" plastic grate either - it almost seems like a permanent install but maybe it's just the dirt/friction holding it in place. I'm tempted just to break/bust the thing up and take it out that way.

You can call service to assist with clogged drains. In addition, I know there is a powder on the market that works to unclog drains, you just need to pour it into the clogged drain. Any garbage stuck in the drain will dissolve.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2021, 10:04:58 AM »
Hi all,

Anyone have suggestions on dealing with clogged up drains in the yard? We have a couple places on the lawn where there are those larger 5-6" green covered grates and I poured water into one a couple days ago and noticed it wasn't draining but pooling (not good for mosquitoes). I removed the cover and there's a root ball at the edge of the exit pipe :(

It has been raining a good amount today and there's another area of the yard (brick/cement) that has a smaller 3" drain - I can't seem to remove the cover for it but it was pooled up. The drain was packed to the brim with dirt though. I tried shoving a screwdriver in to clear some of it but it's not draining.

Is this really something I should be calling in a pro for? And if so, who would it be? Plumber? Landscaper? Drainage company? We're having a drainage company come out tomorrow to look some areas of dirt/vegetation running on the side and part of the front of the home (causing a wet wall condition on the inside). We were thinking about filling with concrete or gravel + rocks but will see what they have to say. I'll probably have my wife ask them about the drains too.

Rent an electric drain snake like this?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/rental/Electric-Eel-Mfg-Co-Inc-Drain-Cleaner-100-X-3-4-RK-3-4IC100/310643179

I don't know how to remove that smaller 3" plastic grate either - it almost seems like a permanent install but maybe it's just the dirt/friction holding it in place. I'm tempted just to break/bust the thing up and take it out that way.

You can call service to assist with clogged drains. In addition, I know there is a powder on the market that works to unclog drains, you just need to pour it into the clogged drain. Any garbage stuck in the drain will dissolve.

I'm seriously thinking about renting an auger/drain snake but not sure if it's just a rootball or if it's a large root that has blocked a majority of the pipe.

I think I've heard of those powders - aren't those the ones that kill roots?
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Zep-Root-Kill-32-oz-Drain-Cleaner/4383191

Abe

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2021, 08:07:06 PM »
Hi all,

Anyone have suggestions on dealing with clogged up drains in the yard? We have a couple places on the lawn where there are those larger 5-6" green covered grates and I poured water into one a couple days ago and noticed it wasn't draining but pooling (not good for mosquitoes). I removed the cover and there's a root ball at the edge of the exit pipe :(

It has been raining a good amount today and there's another area of the yard (brick/cement) that has a smaller 3" drain - I can't seem to remove the cover for it but it was pooled up. The drain was packed to the brim with dirt though. I tried shoving a screwdriver in to clear some of it but it's not draining.

Is this really something I should be calling in a pro for? And if so, who would it be? Plumber? Landscaper? Drainage company? We're having a drainage company come out tomorrow to look some areas of dirt/vegetation running on the side and part of the front of the home (causing a wet wall condition on the inside). We were thinking about filling with concrete or gravel + rocks but will see what they have to say. I'll probably have my wife ask them about the drains too.

Rent an electric drain snake like this?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/rental/Electric-Eel-Mfg-Co-Inc-Drain-Cleaner-100-X-3-4-RK-3-4IC100/310643179

I don't know how to remove that smaller 3" plastic grate either - it almost seems like a permanent install but maybe it's just the dirt/friction holding it in place. I'm tempted just to break/bust the thing up and take it out that way.

You can call service to assist with clogged drains. In addition, I know there is a powder on the market that works to unclog drains, you just need to pour it into the clogged drain. Any garbage stuck in the drain will dissolve.

I'm seriously thinking about renting an auger/drain snake but not sure if it's just a rootball or if it's a large root that has blocked a majority of the pipe.

I think I've heard of those powders - aren't those the ones that kill roots?
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Zep-Root-Kill-32-oz-Drain-Cleaner/4383191

Yes. They are moderately effective once a root grows in, but much more useful to prevent roots growing. Iíd dig out the portion that is clogging and replace the pipes or cut out the root. No need to cut down a tree because one of its root clogged a drain. It will also not solve the clogging.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2021, 08:21:17 AM »
Hi all,

Anyone have suggestions on dealing with clogged up drains in the yard? We have a couple places on the lawn where there are those larger 5-6" green covered grates and I poured water into one a couple days ago and noticed it wasn't draining but pooling (not good for mosquitoes). I removed the cover and there's a root ball at the edge of the exit pipe :(

It has been raining a good amount today and there's another area of the yard (brick/cement) that has a smaller 3" drain - I can't seem to remove the cover for it but it was pooled up. The drain was packed to the brim with dirt though. I tried shoving a screwdriver in to clear some of it but it's not draining.

Is this really something I should be calling in a pro for? And if so, who would it be? Plumber? Landscaper? Drainage company? We're having a drainage company come out tomorrow to look some areas of dirt/vegetation running on the side and part of the front of the home (causing a wet wall condition on the inside). We were thinking about filling with concrete or gravel + rocks but will see what they have to say. I'll probably have my wife ask them about the drains too.

Rent an electric drain snake like this?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/rental/Electric-Eel-Mfg-Co-Inc-Drain-Cleaner-100-X-3-4-RK-3-4IC100/310643179

I don't know how to remove that smaller 3" plastic grate either - it almost seems like a permanent install but maybe it's just the dirt/friction holding it in place. I'm tempted just to break/bust the thing up and take it out that way.

You can call service to assist with clogged drains. In addition, I know there is a powder on the market that works to unclog drains, you just need to pour it into the clogged drain. Any garbage stuck in the drain will dissolve.

I'm seriously thinking about renting an auger/drain snake but not sure if it's just a rootball or if it's a large root that has blocked a majority of the pipe.

I think I've heard of those powders - aren't those the ones that kill roots?
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Zep-Root-Kill-32-oz-Drain-Cleaner/4383191

Yes. They are moderately effective once a root grows in, but much more useful to prevent roots growing. Iíd dig out the portion that is clogging and replace the pipes or cut out the root. No need to cut down a tree because one of its root clogged a drain. It will also not solve the clogging.

The concern with the trees isn't so much that they're clogging up the drains as much as they are threatening the foundation and walls. The consensus from all the landscapers and tree trimmers I've been talking to is that ficus trees, palms and bamboo are all very bad to have around the house because they're all very invasive. So that's the bigger reason I'm considering having those trees removed. If not, it will always be a potential threat to the foundation and even if we replace the drainage, we'll always have to worry about the drains potentially getting ruined by roots again... of course, part of this was lack of maintenance too. I believe the prior owners let the palm get to the size it is today and it never should have gotten this big - you can tell it was contained in a planter and they just let it break out of the container and grow into the ground - there are piece of container stuck to the base of the palm :T

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2021, 02:26:15 PM »
My FIL wanted to try a drain snake so we ended up renting one from Home Depot. 100' 3/4" --- we've been at it for almost a couple hours now and it's an extremely slow process. There is probably like a 3' section of root just clogged up in there.... my FIL is hopeful but I'm on the doubtful side... a couple roots came out but I think there's a super aggressive rootball stuck in the drain. I feel like replacing it is the best way to go but we'll see what comes of this drain snake process :T

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2021, 08:00:44 PM »
The snake didn't end up doing anything. In fact, we were too aggressive with one of the cutters and it ended up detaching from the snake and is embedded in a clump of the root ball :(

The only other thing I can think of doing is pouring root killer (probably the foaming type) down the drains that are clogged in attempt to clear them.

But if we don't want to mess with this any more, then the other option is just to have someone come in, tear it all out, and replace it with new drainage. This would mean having to remove trees too. I believe the roots that have grown into a majority of the drains are mostly from the ficus trees. They are nice trees but I think we need to just get rid of them - it's not worth the trouble they are likely going to cause even for the foundation.

In terms of who to hire for the drainage, I'm sort of at a crossroads. The landscaper who we had come out to initially do part of the drainage didn't do that thorough of a job yet he was referred to us by friends who really like his work and whose yard looks really nice. Anyway, the same landscaper offered to remove all the trees AND correct the drainage through the entire yard for $3500 which seems reasonable... I just don't know how much I would trust him for the work. Turns out he's one of the lead crewmen for a company that does artificial turf installs. He does the landscaping stuff on the side though, so I think he knows what he's doing but he's a solo kind of guy (or he'll have a buddy or two help him out on bigger projects)...

This in contrast to another landscaper in the area, who heads the company and plans things out.... this guy wants to charge just under $3500 to remove the trees and then another $4400 to replace ALL drainage. He would be ripping EVERYTHING out though and laying new drains pretty much all the way to the curb. He would be correcting the drainage so that it's graded *away* from the house and everything else would be graded to drain into the drains obviously.

Abe

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2021, 08:21:27 PM »
Looks like itís time to bite the bulletÖsuper annoying. Iíd not trust the person who did a halfway job last time.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2021, 09:19:04 PM »
Looks like itís time to bite the bulletÖsuper annoying. Iíd not trust the person who did a halfway job last time.

It's really tough finding a landscaper that you can trust. The guy seems a bit flakey even with his pricing estimates and what he says he'll do vs what he actually does. But I almost feel like there are more landscapers like this than not :(

BTW: we pulled back the area of drain he didn't adjust or make changes too and, sure enough, it's graded in the opposite direction - this is where we noticed the water pool up too. I recall the guy and his helper digging up that section too - why they didn't excavate under, lift that section, and fill with more dirt is beyond me.

Honestly, at this point I'm pretty lost as to what to do in terms of who to hire to deal with all this. The concern is how things are going to look as rainy season approaches. I mean, it is SoCal but still... I'd rather not take any chances considering we are on a hill as well. I was originally considering turf but a few people over at Bogleheads have said artificial turf isn't the best thing, especially with recent reports of artificial turf containing toxic materials - https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news/new-studies-show-pfas-artificial-grass-blades-and-backing

Maybe we'll just do packed sand/gravel and a bunch of planter boxes for veggie gardens, etc.I'd probably put a hedge of trees up lining our fence as well, so we have some privacy from our neighbors. Yesterday, I could see her and I feel like she was trying to listen in on my FIL and I talking about the yard. I think our neighbors are a little nosy and also get the feeling they don't like us much. So all the more for a hedge LOL.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2021, 09:24:41 PM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2021, 05:23:53 PM »
So it turns out the reason one of the drains isn't properly draining is because it's hitting a couple pieces of concrete which are causing it to "belly up":





Usually sledgehammers would be the thing to deploy here but I'm wondering if there's a better way to go about this like using a pick and or crowbar?

clarkfan1979

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2021, 11:10:50 AM »
That company should be able to deal with the clogged drains. You're probably right about the 3" drain cover just being stuck. If you rent the drain cleaners, please do not skimp on hand and arm protection. Heavy leather or rubber gloves are essential. Also don't do it at home alone.

My very handy friend got himself into a dangerous situation with the motorized snake to clean out pipes. They are surprisingly very dangerous.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2021, 11:55:13 AM »
That company should be able to deal with the clogged drains. You're probably right about the 3" drain cover just being stuck. If you rent the drain cleaners, please do not skimp on hand and arm protection. Heavy leather or rubber gloves are essential. Also don't do it at home alone.

My very handy friend got himself into a dangerous situation with the motorized snake to clean out pipes. They are surprisingly very dangerous.

Yep, they are - crazy amounts of torque and when the cable bends it's no joke - you do *not* want your finger caught in that mess and would probably lose one or more if that were ever the case. We rented the auto-feeder model so it was a lot easier to avoid harm but it's still very dangerous. I probably wouldn't rent one of these machines again. They are tedious and cumbersome to use. What we should have just done was rented a high powered pressure washer and bought a sewer jetter kit to attempt DIY hydrojetting :T
« Last Edit: November 10, 2021, 12:18:59 PM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2021, 05:26:20 PM »
I'm wondering but should our home inspector have caught and called out the visible root balls in the yard drains (and was he supposed to run water through any parts of the drainage to 'test' things)? As well as the potential foundation separation concerns with the cement alley 'pulling away' from the other side of the house where the AC condenser is? I noticed part of the exterior stucco wall pulling away from the side of the house as well and actually pointed that out to him too but he shrugged it off as no big deal.

EDIT: actually, I'm reading through the report and he noted this about the drainage - "The property is served by area drains that appear to be in acceptable condition. However, because it is impossible to see inside them, the seller should guarantee that the drains are functional, or they should be flushed through to the street before the close of escrow. Surface water carries minerals and silt that is deposited inside the pipes and hardens in the summer months to the consistency of wet concrete, which can impede drainage and require the pipes to be cleared by a rooter service." - obviously he didn't look hard enough. And it would have been possible to look inside them had he removed the drainage covers. One drain was completely clogged with dirt too. smh....
« Last Edit: November 10, 2021, 05:28:54 PM by jeromedawg »

Abe

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2021, 06:30:39 PM »
Our inspector ran water through the drains to test them.  Can you level the drain out yourself or is it embedded in concrete? I donít understand why thereís concrete under them. Maybe itís easier to put a French drain on top that connects to the other street side then a bunch of pea gravel on top?

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2021, 09:20:54 PM »
Our inspector ran water through the drains to test them.  Can you level the drain out yourself or is it embedded in concrete? I donít understand why thereís concrete under them. Maybe itís easier to put a French drain on top that connects to the other street side then a bunch of pea gravel on top?

I ended up running a sewer jetter + pressure washer I picked up on sale from Home Depot and cleared a couple drains in the backyard - it was quite cathartic lol. I was actually surprised I was able to clear these drains with a 1600psi pressure washer. I've heard/read that generally it takes much more. I wasn't able to clear the front yard drain out but am thinking maybe it can work but just takes more time. I could also try to find/borrow a higher PSI pressure washer to run the jetter with. I'm still tempted to pick up some foaming root killer and just pour it down then try jetting after a few days, rinse and repeat.

I think the concrete that's under the drain was part of the original footer and they were a little sloppy on the pour. Or perhaps when they poured the walkway that's there now, they didn't account for enough space for the drain pipe or thought it was a big deal that there was concrete there. A french drain might work but the issue is still with the level and grade of the pipe. If we didn't want to break the concrete causing the pipe to belly up, we'd likely have to dig up the remainder of the pipe and lift it throughout so it has the proper grade...

affordablehousing

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2021, 10:21:57 AM »
Why don't you just chip out the concrete under the pipe. Seems pretty simple...

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2021, 12:48:50 PM »
Why don't you just chip out the concrete under the pipe. Seems pretty simple...

Yea, I was thinking just to get a Ball Peen or Club Hammer and Cold Chisel and go at it. I think I'll probably pick those up at Home Depot and go at it this wknd.

Sandi_k

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2021, 07:50:36 PM »
Higher PSI pressure washers can be rented.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2021, 09:05:51 PM »
Higher PSI pressure washers can be rented.

I may go that route if the one my friend has doesn't do it. Or if I can't find one to borrow. Renting the drain snake for a day cost $120 - my FIL was insisting that it would work but just took time... so much for that. I'm not looking forward to another tool rental if I don't have to.

cchrissyy

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2021, 12:45:03 PM »
do you have a tool lending library in your town? we do, it's a branch of the normal city library system.

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2021, 01:00:25 PM »
do you have a tool lending library in your town? we do, it's a branch of the normal city library system.

I've never heard of this before - I know some libraries offer 3d printing. Never heard of tool lending though. I'll take a look but I'm a bit doubtful...

EDIT: I found this, https://localtools.org/find  - unfortunately, no local tool libraries in my immediate area but it does sound like a really cool idea.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2021, 01:02:31 PM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2021, 09:14:22 PM »
I cleared the last section of drain in the back. It looks like a section of pipe got disconnected :(

So I will probably dig it up and do the repair. Once I do it I think it'll buy us some time before deciding what to do about the overall landscaping. My inlaws helped clean up the yard a good amount this past week, reorganizing the bamboo in pots and cutting down the runaway shoots as much as possible. I still need to figure out the front area. Will probably try hydrojetting it out again in the coming week. I'm tempted to buy foaming root killer or even making a strong saline solution in hot water and pouring it down that section of drain...

PMJL34

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2021, 12:05:25 PM »
Great job Jerome! You certainly have persistence! Glad you were able to unclog the drains and I'm sure you learned a bunch in the process :)

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2021, 09:28:25 PM »
Great job Jerome! You certainly have persistence! Glad you were able to unclog the drains and I'm sure you learned a bunch in the process :)

It's been nuts... but things are slowly settling down. The inside of our house still smells like rat - I really think it's the wall behind the fridge that we need to open up and check. This can wait though. Feels like we have a lot of other things to tend to. As far as this yard thing, the only portion of drain giving us issues now, aside from the disconnected part in the back) is the front one... I'm starting to suspect that this portion of drain may have also become disconnected too. Only way to find out at this point is to dig in that area and try to uncover it. I might be able to fetch back that lost cutter attachment too lol

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2021, 07:26:19 PM »
Couple of 'fun' discoveries in the past couple weeks since posting:



There's basically a single section of pipe buried and disconnected from where, logically, the connections should have been made. One part of the drainage is completely capped off:





No idea what the previous owners were doing or thinking here. Maybe they hired a shady landscaper who was too lazy and cheap to do the job *right* and just buried everything up, conveniently forgetting to connect all the drains up. It's very strange and a big head scratcher.


At this point I'm deliberating whether I should just buy the parts and fix it or defer this to a larger landscaping revamp of the yard. While it may seem trivial to reconnect drainage pipes, there's a lot of digging and labor involved...not to mention making sure the pipes align to begin with - I may end up have to trench the entire line so it can be re-laid. Not sure if it's worth the effort at the moment. After hiring the last landscaper who didn't do that great of a job, I'm a bit hesitant... of course, it wasn't completely on him because the section he didn't remedy is 'blocked' by another issue (concrete footing which he understandably and likely didn't want to chip away at). But he also didn't make this that clear to my wife or I either...
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 07:30:23 PM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: Yard drains clogged :(
« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2021, 07:14:54 PM »
So decided to dig up the front area where I *thought* there was a root ball... much to my surprise: the drainage from the rest of the yard is exiting to a drain grate that was covered with a couple patio stones and buried 1-2ft below dirt... WTH!!!

The drain line to the curb apparently connects to this drain grate and I think there's either a 90 or 60 degree elbow turn - I tried sticking a long piece of bamboo in to help clear any rootballs that had grown inside and I am hitting a dead stop at some point. There is a bunch of mud and roots inside of the drain grate and I have no idea how to remove the thing - it appears to be in a cement 'box' that was buried into the ground and the grate cemented over it. Very odd but I'm guessing this was the original drain and there may have only been one. Of course, who knows with the history on this home.

Anyway, I'm tempted to take my recip saw and a metal blade and cut a couple of bars off the grate so I can fish my sewer jetter down to do a better clearing. After sticking the bamboo down there I was able to free up a bit of the clog - prior to this the water was pooling inside of the drain box and slowly draining out. This might have been from when I was flushing the rest of the drainage system and leaves/mud might have created additional blockage. At this point, I'm at least relieved to mostly understand now how the drainage system is setup. What would be most ideal is to remove this concrete box drain and add a Y adapter or something so I can put a proper drain there and then feed the other drains into it so it's all contained within the drain pipes.