For the last couple of days, I’ve had a team of plumbers out digging trenches and laying PVC piping in our yard.
The recent rain torrents and flooding into the house made us realise that something was up with our pipes. We keep our roof and guttering clean; we ensure our down pipes are obstacle-free and we have gutter guard around the house to prevent leaves from entering them. However, the sheer volume of rains we have been having highlighted it wasn’t enough. We fixed our roof which had small rusty holes all over it (expensive but necessary) and we revealed our windows however the last thing we needed was to get the plumbers out to lay a camera cable and check what was happening.
We have a small part of the external area that is enclosed where we keep the cat litter and I have my plants in there. It acts like a greenhouse because it’s protected. However during flood rains, the entire area gets flooded. When you see the kitty litter and plants floating away, you know something is wrong.
There’s a drain there so the plumbers put a camera down it only to reveal that it goes into a short way then…. Nothing. He floods it with water, puts pressure down it… nothing. It doesn’t unblock.
Our house was built in the 1950s like many houses on our street. A lot of homes have terra cotta piping that connect to storm water drains but many of them have their down pipes just connecting to nothing at all except going into the ground. Over the years, slowly but surely, plumbers have been removing terracotta and replacing with PVC. The amount and sheer dump of water means the ground can’t keep it all and you end up with a soggy muddy yard that sinks under your feet.
I don’t want a bloody sink hole in my garden.
That’s what happened in our front yard a couple of years back and it was fixed; along with the council also fixing and unblocking the storm water drain that sits directly outside our property. I’m vigilant about it as I check it every few months and call them up immediately to get them to do their work and keep it clean. After all, that’s why we pay our rates!
Well the sogginess was now happening in our back yard and I also worried water was getting into our foundations. I don’t want the house to be sitting on damp ground! (I don’t think it’s got to that stage because we have been in extreme hot weather for the last couple of years too which has dried the ground too) and we have been fixing the leaks as they happen.
The plumbers laid new bigger piping and put in a much larger drain in that little area. Inside the drain sits a pump that works like the toilet flush. Once the water reaches the balloon, the pump starts up (it’s rigged up electrically) and pumps out the volume of water immediately out around the house and towards the storm water drain. The down pipes that “led to nowhere” were all rerouted to go to that drain.
Now as long as the power doesn’t go out during major flooding, I think this will be a solution for now.
As a back up though, I have been looking into buying sand bags that I can keep in the garage as a back up solution. I know it’s overkill and likely never to use them but it’ll give me peace of mind that they’re there.
There are sand bags that are filled with material that is light – it looks like fairy floss – but once it gets wet, it soaks it up like sand and you can drag it around to where you want. However, these are all sold out everywhere. It tells me that it takes disasters like we have had recently to make people start to prepare and run out of these items so it means that I have to start thinking smarter – BEFORE such events happen.
I’ve been looking online and found these on Amazon. (I don’t buy anything from this site – except Kindle books – so I’ll have to make an exception). These Quick Grab & Go Flood Kit might be the ticket.
It takes a lot of work to have a house and to keep it maintained. The amount of work we have done outside the house, the plumbing, electrics, fencing over the last few years has been big.
We haven’t touched the inside at all even though it’s badly need of a makeover however, it’s not a priority for me at all. We are talking that in future, during retirement, we will redo our bathroom and kitchen simply because the latter, I don’t want to be bending over or reaching for things that require a step ladder for me (which is what I do now).
But one thing at a time…