LESLIE: Fred in Delaware, with a question about water backing up in his basement, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
FRED: I am having built an egress walkout up my basement with steps. There’s about five steps.
FRED: And it’s a double-wide about 72 inches across. And I’m wondering if it’s required that I have single handrails or double handrails?
TOM: Hmm. That’s a good question. I’m actually not sure. I’d have to look that up. But generally speaking, as long as you have one handrail in the middle, you’re OK. If it’s along the wall on opposite ends of it, then I think you probably ought to have two. Why not? If you’re going to put one, you might as well put in two. And this way, it’s safer for anybody that goes up and down that space.
I would ask the local building inspector, since you’re having this built, what they’re going to require. Because, frankly, I’ve seen a lot of situations where I know one was required and they – one was required by code and they asked for two. So, it’s kind of a minor thing for them. So just – why don’t you just ask and give them what they want?
TOM: But if you just want to be safe, I’d put in two. I don’t see any reason not to do that.
FRED: Right, right. And a side question to that is – the bottom of the staircase there, we have the basic drain.
FRED: And we had a lot of rain this weekend and there’s water backing up.
TOM: Yep. Where is it draining to?
FRED: Well, that was one – that was a point of contention. I thought they were going to do this to the sump pump, which is inside the house. But they put it to the outside foundation – around the foundation.
TOM: OK. But again, where are they draining it to? Because if they’re going to dump that around the foundation, then you’re going to put a lot of water around that house. And you want to get it away.
FRED: Well, the thing is – and I can’t tell because it’s underground. They say it goes into these soft, plastic, big, black pipes and that goes around and comes back and connects with a sump pump inside. They said that but when I tested it and I poured a lot of water on it last week, I didn’t see any flow of that water back to my sump pump. So I don’t know where it was going.
TOM: Yeah. And that’s definitely a concern. You can do a camera inspection of that drain. It’s going to cost you some money and the companies that are drain cleaners, they have these drain cameras.
And they basically are like a long snake that you can run through there. They can always tell where the top of it is and the head of it. And they can tell exactly where that’s going. But I think you definitely have an issue there with water backing up.
FRED: I see.
TOM: I’d worry about the water backing up more than the handrails, because that’s not going to get any better.
TOM: If that’s brand new and it’s backing up right now, it does sound very much like something was not put together correctly.
If it’s at all physically possible, I would much prefer to see that connected by a solid PVC pipe – not a flexible pipe but solid pipe – out to the street or out to daylight somewhere. So, as you say, you can always know that it’s working and you can always snake it out if it’s not.
FRED: Oh, wow.
TOM: So, that’s definitely a concern. I think you’ve got to get more into that, OK?
FRED: Alright. Thank you.