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Q.Can gutter downspouts be connected to 4-inch pipes connected to the footing drains? The footing drains eventually terminate at daylight, away from the house.

A.Corresponding Editor Paul Fisette responds: This is a terrible idea. Don’t do it. Downspouts should feed into a solid, non-perforated pipe that directs roof water far away from the house. The pipe should run independently from the footing drain.

Surprisingly, there is nothing in most building codes that prevents you from connecting downspouts to a foundation’s perimeter drainage system. The pipes used for perimeter drainage have slits or weep holes along the pipe to allow water to enter the pipe and be carried away. The goal is to remove water from around the foundation. Bringing additional water from connected downspouts to the base of the foundation runs counter to the system plan, since it introduces water to a place where you don’t want it. In all likelihood, the downspout water would leak from the perforated pipe, saturating the soil near the footing. If the perimeter footing drain ever fails or gets blocked, you also run the risk of flooding the subsoil area.