2/10/11 I saw Roger Cook and Kevin O'Conner on Ask This Old House talking about downspouts and proper drainage. Roger talked about one way was to bury a pipe below the frost line to where the land slopes away from the house. Is there a potential of the pipe section from the surface to the frost line freezing closed and causing an overflow on the surface during freeze/thaw cycles?
I guess anything is possible. How far north do you live? I would think if you had a properly installed pipe system it would take some mighty frozen ground with rain or melting snow to clog a 4 inch line.
To be assured of a maintenance free under ground pipe system follow these tips;
1- Never use that black corregated stuff. It clogs
2- Never use the pipes with the holes drilled in it. They clog
3- Do use SDR 35 pipe for the system. That's the light green stuff from Home Burrito.
4- Glue the fittings so they don't frost heave apart. If you overlap the bell ends a good 4 inches, no glue is needed between sections of pipe. If you have invasive tree roots, then glue everything.
5- When coming up from the ground to the surface, keep the riser pipe at least 12" above soil / mulch height so stuff doesn't fall in.
6- Use more Y's and not T's as the water flows much better
7- A '6 inch' downspout can be formed by hand into a circle that fits directly into a 4" coupling for the SDR35 pipe
8- (most important) keep the "bell end" of the pipes facing up hill, so the water drains downhill like a waterfall. Inside the pipe the lip of the uphill pipe will be inside the bell end of the downhill pipe. If done the other way, there is an exposed lip for stuff to get caught on, like ice. I have seen first hand, long tubes of ice making their way out of the drains of homes in the Philly area when the ground thawed.