How deep should a dry well be and how far from the house should it be installed?

How deep should a dry well be?How deep should a dry well be and how far from the house should a dry well be installed? How big in diameter should a dry well be? All these things factor into your soil percolation and the volume of water you’re controlling.

Here’s the sump pump line. This discharged right into the yard and everything was just a mess. A couple of months ago when we were here and I evaluated this job for install, it was a real, real mess.

Well, a lot of manufacturers will tell you that it’s okay to put a dry well 10 feet off the house. I’m going to tell you from my professional opinion, that’s a really bad idea. Especially, if you have a basement and you got basement walls.  And, if you don’t have really, really good soil percolation, you’re loading the soil with all the downspout, spout water with all your sump pump, and discharge water.  You’re saturating the subsoils and you’re creating all this hydrostatic pressure that’s pushing against the basement wall. It’s just a really bad idea.

My opinion, you want it off the house. You want as far off the houses realistically possible. I’m all the way to the back fence on this and I have great soil percolation. I was just playing at cautious as we always do.  We got lucky — sand. Nothing’s better than sand. It was like digging on the beaches of Lake Michigan.

This sump pump runs all the time, runs every 20 minutes. There’s no water in this dry well. None whatsoever.

We have a 30-inch in diameter. This is a generic, typical system for us. One piece, heavy construction material, a bunch of half-inch holes drilled. It doesn’t matter if we’re running downspouts, sump pump discharge lines, our French drains,  we’ll run them to a dry well like this. We want to always be five, six foot deep because that way it doesn’t freeze in the winter time. Here in the north, if you build a shallow dry well, it’s just going to freeze up on you.

For dry wells, for sizing them. If you have poor soil percolation, then you need a bigger reservoir. You can just dig a hole in your yard, fill it up with water. If you can’t fill it up with water, well great, you got amazing soil percolation, you’re not going to need anything more than what you see here. Actually, this is probably a little overkill. Everything we do is we overbuild just to make sure that we cover the homeowner and ourselves. But if you’re filling that hole up and it fills up and you don’t see any percolation, you come back the next day and that whole still holding water and dry wells, not going to work for you. You’re going to have to take additional measures to evacuate that water from your yard.

If you want to learn more about dry wells and yard dewatering, subscribe to the French Drain Man YouTube Channel. If you’re looking for a dry well installed in north Macomb County, Michigan, and North Oakland County, Michigan, give us a call at 248-505-3065.