Which Pipe is Best?

I need to get my gutter water away from my house. Which kind of pipe should I use?

Great question! There’s a short answer and a long answer.

The Short Answer
There are two main types of pipe used in residential settings to transfer rain water. Corrugated pipe and PVC pipe. Corrugated pipe is the cheapest, easiest, and most common option. But we advise people against using corrugated pipe to transfer water underground. (*Note: This article deals with transferring water with a solid pipe, not constructing a French drain. That’s another topic for another day!)

The Long Answer

Corrugated Pipe: The term “corrugated” applies to any material that has alternating ridges and

4″ Corrugated Pipe
grooves. You’ve probably seen a corrugated metal roof or even corrugated cardboard. But in this case, we are referring to corrugated plastic. The most common corrugated pipe used in residential settings is black with a 4″ diameter. 

Pros of Corrugated Pipe:
Less expensive than other options.
Can be easily bent due to the corrugated nature. It can almost make a 90 degree bend in a tight space without using any additional fittings.
Is light weight and easy to work with.
Readily available at your local home improvement store.

Cons of Corrugated Pipe:

Debris and sediment has a tendency to get caught and accumulate in the ridges, therefore slowing down water flow.
The pipe walls are thin and soft, and they can easily be damaged.
If the pipe is exposed above ground, it is easily damaged by weed trimmers, lawn mowers, foot traffic, and pets.
If the pipe is buried below ground, the pipe wall can be penetrated by roots. Even shrub roots can penetrate the wall in search of water, causing up to 100% blockage.
PVC Pipe: PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride, and is commonly used as a more durable and less expensive alternative to traditional materials such as metal or terra cotta. PVC can be produced in many colors, sizes, lengths, and thicknesses. It is often used for sewer and plumbing, but it is also a

4″ PVC Pipe
great product for many yard drainage situations.

Pros of PVC Pipe:
It is much more durable than corrugated. Roots will not penetrate the walls.
The walls of the pipe are smooth so there are no ridges to slow down water flow or to catch debris.
Clean-outs can be installed for system maintenance.
For these reasons, it has a much longer life span than corrugated pipe.


Cons of PVC Pipe:
More expensive to purchase than corrugated pipe.
More labor-intensive to install.
Due to it’s rigid nature, fittings must be used to bend or turn the pipe. Fittings are commonly glued together using a special PVC cement.
Can be confusing to work with due to the various sizes and grades available on the market.

Conclusion
Although PVC pipe is more expensive and more difficult to install, it is well worth the extra investment in the long run. A homeowner that wants to do it right the first time, and not have to come back and fix the problem again in a few years, should strongly consider installing PVC pipe to transfer water away from the home. Visit our website to learn more.

The #1 Enemy of your Crawl Space is …

How can I have mold in my crawl space? I know I don’t have a water problem down there.

This is a common response from homeowners when told that they have a mold problem. Visible standing water is one obvious sign of wet crawl space. But the most common enemy of the crawl space is less visible and less obvious: High Humidity.

High humidity causes significant problems in your crawl space.
90% (pictured here) is extremely high.

If you live in the South and you have a crawl space, you need to be aware of the humidity situation in your crawl space. Humid outdoor air, poor air circulation, and the presence of other water sources often create an environment in which the humidity in the crawl space is higher than the humidity outdoors!

Our rule of thumb is that you want your humidity level to be below 60%. High humidity levels can cause the following:

Elevated Wood Moisture Levels: levels above 16% can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and structural damage.
Mold Growth: Mold thrives in humid environments.
Insulation Failure: Insulation absorbs moisture like a sponge. Wet insulation decreases in R value and eventually becomes so weighted down with excess water that it falls to the floor.
Pest Activity: Like mold, rodents and insects enjoy dark, humid environments.

High humidity leads to high wood moisture levels.
This wood is at 17% and has visible fungal growth.
Poor Indoor Air Quality: 40%-50% of the air you breathe on your first floor originates in your crawl space.
How can I have mold in my crawl space? I know I don’t have a water problem down there. 

This is a common response from homeowners when told that they have a mold problem. Visible standing water is one obvious sign of wet crawl space. But the most common enemy of the crawl space is less visible and less obvious: High Humidity. 

If you live in the South and you have a crawl space, you need to be aware of the humidity situation in your crawl space. Humid outdoor air, poor air circulation, and the presence of other water sources often create an environment in which the humidity in the crawl space is higher than the humidity outdoors!

Our rule of thumb is that you want your humidity level to be below 60%. High humidity levels can cause the following:

  • Elevated Wood Moisture Levels: levels above 16% can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and structural damage.
  • Mold Growth: Mold thrives in humid environments.
  • Insulation Failure: Insulation absorbs moisture like a sponge. Wet insulation decreases in R value and eventually becomes so weighted down with excess water that it falls to the floor.
  • Pest Activity: Like mold, rodents and insects enjoy dark, humid environments.
  • Poor Indoor Air Quality: 40%-50% of the air you breathe on your first floor originates in your crawl space.
  • Musty Smells: If you aren’t sure what that smell is, there’s a good chance it is coming from your crawl space.
The good news is that humidity in your crawl space can be controlled! Visit our website to learn more about solution options or to schedule a free inspection from our experts.

If you aren’t sure what that smell is, there’s a good chance it is coming from your crawl space.
The good news is that humidity in your crawl space can be controlled! Visit our website to learn more about solution options or to schedule a free inspection from our experts.

Sump Pump Installation

When installed improperly a sump pump can be a source of humidity, foul odors, and mold rather than a solution. Here are three ways that this sump pump is installed improperly.

  1. No lid. A proper sump basin has a lid which serves multiple purposes. 1) A lid prevents the basin water from evaporating back into your crawl space and eventually being absorbed by your insulation and floor joist. 2) A lid helps ensure a clean environment for the sump pump. Notice the dirtiness of the water and the inside of the green basin. 3) A lid is also a safety mechanism to prevent Barky or Meow from falling in. Sadly, while performing a routine inspection, one of our technicians found a customer’s puppy that had been missing for months. 
  2. Five-gallon bucket, rather than a proper sump pump basin. There are several models that will get the job done, but the typical basin is about twice the depth and four times the volume of this five-gallon bucket.
  3. No holes to allow ground water to enter basin. In a crawl space environment it is most effective to drill holes around the basin to allow ground water to enter the basin and then be pumped out. The only water entering this basin is being pumped through tubes (black 1″ tube above) from a dehumidifier. Notice the ground surrounding this sump basin is wet and muddy because the ground water has no way of entering the basin.
Visit our website to learn more about sump pumps, crawl space waterproofing, and basement waterproofing. Or contact us to schedule a free inspection of your home.