When you're planning your new build, a soakwell is something that you should factor in. There are two types of connections to a standard domestic soakwell – direct connections and open grills. But which is best? Here's a helpful comparison.
Direct downpipe connection systems
Direct downpipe connectors are cheap and relatively easy to install. They are useful for undercover areas such as patios because they don't cause splashing and are effective at directing storm water directly into the soakwell.
However, downpipe connectors do present a number of disadvantages.
- They are not very pleasing to the eye.
- They can present a tripping hazard, depending where they are in relation to pathways etc.
- Downpipes can also suffer from backflow. Backflow is when the soakwell becomes overfull so that the excess water begins to fill up the downpipe, eventually reaching the adapter and leaking out. This can also cause potentially damaging pressure to build in the soakwell system, which can cause paving above the tank to lift.
- If backflow causes the water to continue up the downpipe so that it spills into the guttering system, your gutters may overflow, causing damp patches on your interior walls that could turn mouldy.
Open grill system
Open grill drainage systems offer a number of advantages over the old-fashioned downpipe system, although they are more expensive to install.
- The open grill system does away with ugly exterior pipework that could detract from the look of your home.
- From a safety perspective, an open grill is a better option, especially if you have children who like to run around outside the house. There are no protruding pipes that could present a tripping hazard.
- An open system allows trapped air in the soakwell system to escape during a downpour. This means that the entire capacity of the soakwell is available to take excess water.
- In the event of a major storm where the soakwell fills to capacity, an open grill system will allow the excess water to overflow through the grill. This relieves any pressure on the soakwell tank and removes the risk of backflow so your paving and guttering will not be compromised.
When it comes to planning for storm water drainage, give the above points due consideration before deciding on whether to opt for an open grill system or a more traditional downpipe. Have a chat with your local soakwell installation contractor for more information and advice.