It has been 5 years since I remember so much rain in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is wonderful to see the hillsides so green and the reservoirs and lakes fill up with the much needed, life giving water.

As with many issues in life, with the “good” there can some “bad” as well.  The recent rain has caused some areas to flood, resulting in damage to homes, streets and neighborhoods.  Even though many of us on the Peninsula did not experience really bad flooding, many of the homes here either do not have drainage or, if they do, adequate drainage for the intensity of rain we have been experiencing.  Also, for those homes that do have drainage, the components are often old and due to the root systems of large trees, the drains either work slowly or not at all.  We are also finding areas that are starting to collect water that, because of past minimal rainfall, have until now gone unnoticed.

Although we do need water, it can be extraordinarily damaging to our homes and patios.  Water collecting around foundations – or even worse, underneath homes – can cause major issues: warped hardwood floors, flooded basements and the odor of dampness inside the house, just to name a few. 

The majority of the time if the roof’s downspouts have a connection that takes the water away from the foundation, a huge portion of water around or underneath the homes foundation can be redirected.  However even with the proper placement of the downspouts, there may still be areas where water can collect, especially if the home is located on a hillside for example.

In the case of a house that sits on an incline, a French drain system may be needed to provide a porous wall that will take the water into a perforated pipe and direct it to a proper location away from the foundation, patios, driveways, etc. 

Other situations may require surface drains that collect water and take the water into a solid pipe, directing it to a proper location.

There are some homes with driveways that actually sit lower than the street level, and with the heavy water the rainfall can roll right into the garage.  In this case, a channel drain would need to be installed which collects the water running down the driveway and prevents it from entering into the garage.

In some of the areas here on the Peninsula we have rather flat lots, and the water cannot drain anywhere because of the flatness.  In this situation, a sump with a pump would need to be installed so that all the collected water around the gardens and the home (from downspouts, surface drains, French drains and channel drains), can be directed to a deep sump under ground.  Once installed, this system can take the water and pump it into another pipe, directing the water to a proper location and away from the foundation of the house.

For anyone experiencing such issues, please contact us – we can work together to design a plan that will help turn this much needed resource from a potential nuisance into a blessing.

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