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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    1

    Default Need Help Identifying "Pipes" Along the Foundation

    Hi everyone. I'm a newer homeowner and need some help. There is a "pipe" of sorts on each side of my house right at the foundation. They come up from the ground and are open at the top. They look like a ceramic material. Some of them have what looks like concrete around part of the opening. They are about 6 inches wide. I'm not sure what these are and what they're for. Any thoughts? I'm not sure what these "pipes" lead to and should they have some sort of screen over them to keep bugs and other rodents out?

    Thanks!

    Joe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,533

    Default Re: Need Help Identifying "Pipes" Along the Foundation

    Without seeing them, I would guess that they are clean outs.

    If they are clean outs, they should be capped. Use caps that can be removed easily to service the drain line.

    Just to be sure, why don't you upload a photo on a host like photobucket.com and give us the link.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,051

    Default Re: Need Help Identifying "Pipes" Along the Foundation

    Tough call without seeing them. Could be clean outs, as DJ suggests, could be receptacles for downspouts. If you can post pictures, try to get a shot down the pipes to see what is at the bottom. You may need a flashlight.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Need Help Identifying "Pipes" Along the Foundation

    ToledoFlagsOwner
    Since you did not mention where you live, and from your alias, you seem that you live way up north. And you did not mention the age of the house, if they are field tile with cement to secure the joints, they could weeping tile system or a drainage system for the gutters. Our house has that, I dug the old field tile and replaced it all with PVC since the clay field tile are more easily broken and allow roots to pass thru the tile, I did not want water to leak from them. I have mine empty into a large underground tank for watering the lawn and garden.

    A picture would be very helpful to be certain. But as you stated, if that is actually cement around the top opening, and it is in the shape and size of a downspout, I would bet that is a drain for your downspouts.

    Look down the pipe and see if you can see the direction of the 90 at the bottom. If it is pointing toward the backyard, use your hose pipe and let some water run into the pipe and see if you happen to notice where it exits. You can also shine a bright light in the pipe after dark, and if it is not blocked you may get lucky and see some light at the end of the pipe. If the 90 turns toward the street, they are most likely connected to the sewer drain if you do not have a septic tank system. If that is the case, I would dig them up and replace with PVC and use the rain water or let it drain out and away from the property.

    There are so many variables, it is difficult to tell for certain.

    Handy Andy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,091

    Default Re: Need Help Identifying "Pipes" Along the Foundation

    Being on both sides, my guess is gutter drains. If they are soil pipes the smell will identify them. They may be in good enough shape to use as-is, but if not before you replace them check with your local building codes department, as some places where you used to be allowed to pipe rainwater into the sewer have changed the laws and it is no longer permissible. This happens because all sewer water must be treated, which takes capacity and money, as well as heavy rains sometimes overwhelming the sewer system causing raw sewage to overflow and bringing heavy fines from the EPA.


    Phil

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,607

    Default Re: Need Help Identifying "Pipes" Along the Foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastercarpentry View Post
    Being on both sides, my guess is gutter drains. If they are soil pipes the smell will identify them. They may be in good enough shape to use as-is, but if not before you replace them check with your local building codes department, as some places where you used to be allowed to pipe rainwater into the sewer have changed the laws and it is no longer permissible. This happens because all sewer water must be treated, which takes capacity and money, as well as heavy rains sometimes overwhelming the sewer system causing raw sewage to overflow and bringing heavy fines from the EPA.
    Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, codes are increasingly demanding "onsite" handling of rainwater. That means in some areas you can no longer route the downspouts directly to the curb, ditch, or stream; there must be a retention pond onsite to hold excess rainwater until it seeps into the ground on the property. (Thankfully, we CAN still route excess rainwater -- such as from a downpour or when the soil is already saturated -- to streams.)

    But you have to be careful, because the law will get you if you store "the state's water" (or should I say "the king's water"?) in more than a couple of rainbarrels. There have been a few people who've been prosecuted by the state for building cisterns holding thousands of gallons of collected rainwater.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,091

    Default Re: Need Help Identifying "Pipes" Along the Foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    There have been a few people who've been prosecuted by the state for building cisterns holding thousands of gallons of collected rainwater.
    And those same elected or appointed morons would probably prosecute you for releasing said water when so accused and causing a flood. Glad they haven't gotten so crazy here- yet The good Lord giveth rainwater but the government won't let you have it. Sheesh

    Phil

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,587

    Default Re: Need Help Identifying "Pipes" Along the Foundation

    And in Maryland we have a "rain tax". Go figure.

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