Where Should a Pop-up Drain Be Placed? (Explained)

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Pop-up drain emitters should be buried a few inches under the ground, preferably 14 inches deep, and should be placed at a slight incline. In places with colder climates, the pop-up drain should be deeper to prevent freezing. You should also make sure it extends to about 6-8 feet.

What is a Pop-Up Drain Emitter?

A pop-up drain emitter is a french drain that works by draining rain water away from your house. It collects the rainwater from the gutter and deposits it in a safer area. This protects your house and its foundation from water damage during rain storms or heavy rainfall seasons.

It is buried under the ground at an angle so that there is a pressure build-up and the water can escape the capped end of the pipe. This cap is designed to keep debris from entering and clogging the pipe.

The Advantages of Installing a Pop-Up Drain

Apart from moving large amounts of water away from your house’s foundation, pop-up drain emitters can help prevent flooding and soil erosion around the house. It also looks neat because all you’ll see is the cap.

This cap usually comes in neutral colors that blend in with any garden or landscape design. They are also less likely to get clogged like some other options.

The Disadvantages of a Pop-Up Drain

One of the biggest disadvantages is that a large amount of ground needs to be dug up for the piping to be installed. In some cases, this would require digging up existing structures or decorated areas.

It is also not uncommon for the cap of the pop-up drain emitter to be damaged by a lawn mower since they are sometimes hard to see. Luckily, it is quite easy to replace.

When Should You Install a Pop-Up Drain?

In some instances, normal downspite gutter systems work fine and don’t cause any flooding or water damage to the foundation or other areas of the house.

However, if you are noticing signs that the downspite system is not working then it’s a good time to consider installing a pop-up drain emitter. Here are signs to look out for.

Your Soil Isn’t Draining Properly

If your soil seems to be holding too much water and is not draining adequately then it’s a sign that the water needs to be deposited further away from the house.

You may also notice soil erosion occurring, which is also a sign that the downspite system is not the right option for you.

Your Garden is Flooding

One of the biggest complaints that people have when they’re looking for alternate drainage systems is constant flooding during rain storms.

Flooding is a bad thing because it means water is also accumulating around the foundation of the house.

This is a sign that the garden does not drain well and a pop-up drain emitter is a good solution to move the water into a better area.

There Are Signs of Water Damage

If you’re noticing mold or mildew build up in and around your home, cracking and peeling walls, sinking ground and a musty smell then it is probably due to the retention of water.

These signs show that there could also be water accumulating around the foundation of the house.

Installing a pop-up drain can help move the water away from the house to combat the high levels of moisture.

What To Check Before Installing a Pop-Up Drain Emitter

So, if you’ve decided that installing a pop-up or french drain is the right step for you then here are some things you should consider before you start.

The first thing to check is that there are no utilities in the area you intend to dig up. These could be things like a water or gas line. You’ll also want to make sure you have a safe place for your water to run off and that it’s legal if it’s outside of your yard, like a roadside etc.

The next thing to check is the slope or angle that you need to make sure the water flows away from your house correctly. This might be easier said than done and it is sometimes hard to see with the naked eye.

The ideal slope angles towards the area where you want the water to drain and has a consistent slope. That means it does not curve in any areas but allows the water to flow straight down.

Tips for Installing a Pop-Up Drain Emitter

If you’ve decided that you’re going ahead and installing a pop-up emitter then there are a few other important tips you may be interested in finding out about before you start. I’ll cover some of the most vital information that you need to know.

How Far Should the Pop-up Drain Be From the House?

The minimum distance is 3 feet but the ideal distance is between 6-8 feet away from the house. The longer distance also makes it easier to get the slope right and makes sure that there is sufficient pressure for the water to exit the end of the pipe.

The distance of the pop-up drain also depends on where you want the water to be deposited. It is important to measure the distance first and take patios and other structures into consideration.

Where Should a Pop-up Drain Be Placed?

Ideally, you’ll want to place the drain at the highest point of your yard so that the water flows downwards.

You’ll want to dig the trench towards the lower point of your garden. Pop-up emitters should also be placed underground with the end leading to the water catchment area.

This catchment area could be a swale, valley or even lead onto a roadside area with a storm drain. You may even decide to create a water catchment area by digging a trench.

How Deep Can a Pop-up Drain Be?

The minimum depth for a pop-up emitter should be 8 inches. However, the ideal depth is around 14 inches.

The depth of the trench that you need to dig also depends on whether you’re installing them around foundations or the bases of retaining walls, for example.

In these instances you’ll need to lean towards 14 inches deep.

Steps to Install a Pop-Up Emitter

The first step is to dig a trench. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll want to start at the highest point of the garden and dig the trench towards the lowest part. Also make sure to dig deep enough.

Next, you’ll want to put the drain pipe into the trench and make sure they are on a slope. You can then connect the first part to the downspout.

You may also consider a catch basin to connect the two parts, especially if you experience frequent heavy rainfall or rainstorms. The catch basin allows a larger amount of water to flow at a faster rate.

Then, you’ll need to attach the elbow pipe to the other end of the drain pipes. Make sure it is attached securely and place it well in the trench. Finally, once everything is in place, put the sand/soil over the pipe and close the trench up.

Only the end part with the cap should be showing when you’re done – it’s as simple as that!

The Bottom Line

If you’re constantly seeing signs of water damage inside and outside of your house during or after rainfall then it’s a sign that the water is not draining efficiently. In this case a pop-up drain emitter is a great solution.

It moves water away from your house and its foundation to a water catchment area.