French drains are a popular option for homeowners who need auxiliary drainage for their yards. However, French drains aren't always perfectly installed; some are susceptible to clogging or don't capture water where it's really needed. One solution to reduce clogging and also place an inlet where it's needed is to add a catch basin. A catch basin provides a sump for collecting debris, and its grated cover provides plenty of capacity for draining water. Below is how you can install one yourself for minimal cost:
Tools and materials needed
- Catch basin
- Hack saw or reciprocating saw
- Size #57 crushed stone
- Silicone repair tape (1 or 2 inch width)
- Garden hose
1. Select a catch basin for your drain – when selecting a catch basin for your French drain, you need to consider these variables:
- Drain pipe diameter – the drain pipe used in your French drain needs to match the diameter of the catch basin's inlets.
- Depth – you will need to know how deep the French drain lies underground so the catch basin's vertical intake is long enough to reach the surface.
- Sump capacity – this describes how much water and debris can be held inside the catch basin before it begins to overflow into your French drain pipe.
2. Remove the soil surrounding your French drain – once you decide where to place your catch basin, dig out the soil covering and surrounding your French drain pipe. Be careful when digging not to break or crush the pipe with your shovel. Remove enough soil underneath the drain pipe to provide a place for a 4-inch crushed stone base as well as the basin itself.
3. Prepare a spot for the catch basin – measure the catch basin from inlet end across to the opposite inlet end. Next, cut a section of drain pipe with a hacksaw or reciprocating saw equal in distance to the measurement you just made, but be sure to subtract an inch from each end to leave a slight overlap for the pipe and basin inlets.
After cutting the gap, remove the pipe section and test fit the catch basin by sliding it into position. If everything seems to fit, remove the catch basin and pour enough #57 crushed stone into the hole to form a level, 4-inch base. Gently tamp the rocks into the soil using your shovel, feet or a tamper.
4. Install the catch basin – after preparing an installation spot, clean debris from the drain hose ends with a garden hose. Next, lower the catch basin back into the hole and push each drain hose end into the inlets so they rest snugly inside them. To more securely fasten the hoses, wrap at least 2 layers of silicone repair tape around the hose ends and the catch basin inlets.
5. Finish up the catch basin – once the catch basin is installed, gently fill in the soil around and underneath the catch basin. Intermittently spray the garden hose into the hole for a few seconds at a time to eliminate air pockets in the soil. Keep filling the hole until it is full of soil and is firmly packed into place, but be careful not to throw soil into the grated cover.
6. Maintain your catch basin – once the catch basin is installed, it will require a minimal amount of maintenance to keep it working smoothly. Here are a couple simple tasks that you should perform from time to time:
- Clean out the catch basin sump – open the grated cover to the catch basin and scoop out leaf matter, twigs, sand and soil that accumulates inside the bottom of the sump. Depending on where your home lies and your annual rainfall patterns, you may want to complete this task as often as once per month or as little as once per year.
- Keep the surrounding areas neatly mowed or trimmed – if your catch basin lies in the open lawn or other areas near landscaping, be sure to frequently mow the grass and remove limbs or other debris. By keeping an accumulation of matter under control, you can prevent catch basins from clogging and protect your drain pipe, too.
If you follow these steps and still experience problems with your French drain becoming clogged, you can contact a company that offers drain cleaning services.