Do Pop-Up Drains Really Work? (Explained)

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Pop-up drains are an effective method that drains water away from the foundation of a building to a water safe area. It is an excellent method to protect buildings from water damage. Pop-up drains also have a cover that stays closed to prevent any debris from going into the pipe.

When Would You Use a Pop-Up Drain?

Most houses or buildings use a standard downspout mechanism when the rain water is collected by the gutters and deposited close by. In many cases, this works out fine because the area where the water is deposited has a solid or firm foundation.

In other scenarios, however, the downspout of the water can cause flooding and many other problems. This is when a pop-up drain emitter is the solution, since it moves the water away from the foundation of the house or building and releases it in a safe, flood-free area.

There are some cases where you would need to use a pop-up drain emitter. I’ll discuss these here.

Your Garden or Outdoor Area Experiences Flooding

If a house or building is already on a slope, then there is less chance that flooding will occur. However, in situations where there is less of a slope, it is easy for water to build up during rain storms or rainy seasons.

A standard downspout will deposit the water not too far from the house, where it will collect and flood. Installing a pop-up drain emitter will solve this problem.

Once it’s installed, it will divert the excess water away from the garden or outdoor area to an area where flooding is less likely to occur.

The Soil in Your Garden Is Eroding or Retaining Water

Soil erosion is a sign that the large amounts of water are causing damage. This also happens when the soil in the garden doesn’t drain properly. This causes flooding too, and is likely to result in water damage to the foundation of the house if it does not drain properly.

Either of these signs show that the downspout draining system is not the right choice for your house. You may need to consider a pop-up drain emitter which will move water to another area so that it doesn’t clog the soil or cause soil erosion.

The Foundation of Your House is Showing

If the downspout causes the soil or ground around the foundation of the house to erode, then you might start seeing the house’s foundation. This means there is more chance that it’ll start getting water damage.

This is a sign that it’s time to install a pop-up drain emitter or another alternative because the downspout system is causing damage. The pop-up drain emitter will allow the water to flow away from the house’s foundation, protecting it from water damage.

Signs of Water Damage to a Home’s Foundation

You may think, how serious can water damage to a home’s foundation be? The cost to install proper drainage is nothing compared to the cost of repairing the effects of water damage to the foundation of your house.

That’s because too much moisture can cause several problems, including issues in the inside of the house too! Here’s what happens when your house’s foundation is experiencing a water build-up and that it may be time to install a pop-up drain emitter.

Cracking Walls

When walls are constantly exposed to flooding, water and moisture, the concrete starts to wither. While some cracking in the walls is normal, especially if it’s occurred after long periods of time. But if there are new cracks developing then it could be a sign of water damage.

Mildew or Mold is Developing

If you notice signs of continuous mildew or mold developing in multiple areas of the house, then it’s a sign that there may be too much water building up around or near the house. Especially if the mold is occurring in rooms too and not just the bathroom.

A Miff Odor

While some places may be humid, they shouldn’t have a constant musty smell. If you have noticed mildew build-up and a miff odor that you can’t get rid of it’s a sign that there may be excess water building up.

Paint Peeling Off the Walls

This is yet another sign of too much moisture in your house, which is usually attributed to water buildup near your house or in the foundation of the house. If you notice paint bubbling or peeling in multiple areas then that’s a sign that you need to look at better drainage.

Sinking Ground

If the soil or ground around your house seems to be sinking or has sunk significantly, then there’s a good chance that there’s an excess of water lingering around your house or in the foundation.

How Do Pop-Up Drains Work?

Pop-up drain emitters work by diverting the water away from the house through a long pipe that runs underground.

The pipe has to be angled in a slight slope to ensure there is enough pressure. There is a cap at the end of the drain pipe that is pushed open by the water as it flows out into a more appropriate area for the water to collect or drain.

This could be a trench like area or a roadeside with effective drainage systems for the water to flow into. These drains are also designed in a way that makes them look neat in the garden or area where the end of the pipe shows.

How Far Should Pop-Up Drains Be From the House?

When you install a pop-up drain emitter, you need to make sure to dig deep enough into the ground.

You also need to make sure that you place the pipe on a slight slope. To be effective, you’ll want to make sure that the water is carried several feet away from your house’s foundation.

What Is the Alternative to Pop-Up Drains?

There are a few alternatives to using pop-up drains. You may look for a more modern design like a mitered drain, or maybe you want a more natural approach to protect your garden and the foundation of your house from water damage? Here are some alternatives you can consider.

Mitered Drain

Mitered drains are a new alternative to pop-up drains. It is also designed to be used as an inlet or outlet of water.

It has a grid attachment at the end to keep small animals and debris from entering the pipe and makes it easier to clean.


Swales are like sunken land or dug up trenches that collect free flowing water, preventing it from flooding an area. The water runs down the slope into the swale where it pools. These can be man made or natural. It is especially used for houses or buildings with surrounding forestry or green areas.

Design a New Garden

If major flooding or soil erosion is the problem, then there are steps you can take to make your garden more resistant. Choose plants that are good at holding water and firmly keep the soil from eroding.

You can also opt for soil that drains better. In fact, a good soil for gardens is loam, which is a mixture of clay, sand and silt.

In Conclusion

As you may know, the pooling of water in any area is not a good thing. Especially when it’s around the foundation of your house. This can cause lots of issues indoors and outdoors. And it can also erode and damage to your garden.

Installing a pop-up drain emitter is an effective solution as it will move the excess water away from your house to an area that can either collect or drain the water.