The ability to have running water in our homes is a luxury, even though we take it for granted in today’s society. Having hot and cold running water available to wash dishes, flush toilets and take showers are modern conveniences most of us can’t imagine doing without. So it’s important that we make sure the water in our homes is always going to the right place.
Practically every house has a drain somewhere in the floor of the basement. It’s very important to ensure this drain is clear of any obstruction. The water in the drain helps trap any sewer gases that may get into your home. If you ever smell what you believe to be sewer gas, check the drain, and if there is no water in it, immediately call a plumber.
Today, many homes are built with brick, either being all brick veneer homes, or brick and aluminum siding, for example. If you look at the first row of bricks, you will notice there is a space between them, usually every six bricks along. These spaces are called weeping lines, and they are there to allow your home to “breathe” because, in essence, your home is a living, breathing thing.
At times during the winter, you’ll notice that snow will pile up above the first row, and in the summer, sometimes a heavy rain will be driven sideways into your bricks. These weeping lines will help drain any water that may accumulate there. If you find the weeping lines have been plugged with gum or caulking, please clean them out so your home can breathe properly.
Another important water drainage area around the home that is often neglected are downspouts. I have seen many downspouts with no elbow at the end, which allows water to be driven into the ground right beside your exterior basement wall. Regardless of how well your exterior basement wall is waterproofed, water will eventually find the weakest point in the wall and seep in. The best solution is to make sure there is an elbow as well as a concrete pad to help direct water away from your home.
In today’s subdivisions there is a “dip” created between the homes in the lawn. This is called a swail, and is placed where the two property lines meet. This is done during the final engineered grading. Unfortunately, most uninformed homeowners feel compelled to fill this dip in and build a rock garden or level it with soil and grass seed. It is most important that this weeping line be left undisturbed and allowed to do the work it was intended for. The swail collects water from each neighbouring home and then drains it, in most cases, toward the front of the property. In some cases, the water may be directed to the backyard if the topography is so designed, like a ravine lot, for example.
As you can see, it is best not to skimp when it comes to making sure the ways in which water flows both inside and outside your house are properly maintained so you don’t have any unwelcome surprises no matter what season it is!