How Long Can a Drain Be?


Plumbing and drainage systems have come a long way since the days people had to make use of buckets. No longer do we need to go empty buckets of waste and sewage ourselves; we have modern inventions for that. For those of us lucky enough to be born in modern times, the drains in our homes connect to underground pipe systems that take water away from the property. Drains have developed a lot since the days of the bucket, but if you’re not clued up about your home’s drainage system, it could cost you and others.

The length of a drain depends on the type of drain it is. Stormwater drains must be connected to your gutter pipes and need to be long enough to connect to the right outlets to take the water back to the nearest beach or river. Sewage drains, on the other hand, are based on a certain slope that is calculated based on your house’s specifications to drain wastewater.

If you’re busy renovating your house and the next stage involves your house’s plumbing, you might be wondering how long a drain can be or needs to be. Well, it depends on certain factors. In order to answer the question of how long a drain can be, you need to understand how the plumbing in most modern houses works.

Understanding Your Home’s Drainage System

Your home has a drain system that is responsible for collecting everything from rainwater to bathwater and the water from your dishwasher. Most modern homes have drainage systems that keep rainwater and wastewater separate. Some houses and properties built before 1970 feature a singular drain system, but modern dual drains for rainwater and wastewater have become the standard.

Wastewater needs to be treated at a qualified facility to be made safe, which is where this drain will take this type of water. Rainwater, on the other hand, is also known as stormwater, and the dedicated rainwater drain will take it back to the nearest beach or river. You could see how it could be catastrophic if these two drainage systems were confused!

If wastewater were to get into the rainwater drain, it could run off into a nearby river and pollute it. Homeowners and landlords are responsible for ensuring that their drain systems are connected to the right connections to function properly. There’s an easy way to check this at home!

If you go outside your home and look at your gutters, you’ll be able to locate your rainwater drain. You should ensure that this drain only collects rainwater and that it is not connected to any wastewater pipes. While wastewater flowing into the river could be disastrous, rainwater flowing into your wastewater drain could cause it to flood, which would smell just as disastrous. That’s why it is important to ensure your drains are correctly connected!

If you’re fixing up your home’s plumbing system, you’ll want to ensure that these connections are correct while busy with your renovations. Unless your house already has a combined drainage system installed that you’d like to keep using, you might be wondering about the technicalities of wastewater and stormwater drains and how long they each need to be.

The Mechanics of Household Drains

If you’re wondering how your home’s drainage system works (or should work) and how long your drains should be, we’ll break it down for you!

Sewage Drains

Sewage drains are essential – and it’s crucial that they work correctly. Without them, we might be forced to use the bucket like back in medieval times. If you’re upgrading your home’s sewage drain, you need to go about it the right way. Part of the process will even require you to do it one step at a time, which might take some patience. Unless you hire a professional, that is!

For your home’s actual wastewater drains connected to areas like your kitchen and bathrooms, they all need to be connected to the main wastewater line. The length of these pipes may vary, depending on the size and layout of your home. However, when it comes to connecting your home’s drainage system to the sewer system, there are some calculations involved!

The first step when installing a new sewage drain system in your home is to actually figure out how far the pipe needs to go. Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as measuring from A to B and will require some mathematics to calculate the necessary elevation.

The main waste drain outlet of your house is typically connected to a sewer pipe near your house’s foundation. From the point when your wastewater leaves your house’s drain system, it must travel downhill at a certain angle of elevation till it reaches the main connection to take it to the relevant treatment facility.

The slope that your waste travels to the city’s sewer line is crucial. If the slope is too steep, it could result in liquids traveling through the pipe faster than solids. This could result in clogs down the line; no pun intended. A slope that is too shallow, on the other hand, could result in improper drainage, also leading to troubles.


You will need to calculate this slope based on your home’s specifications. Your local municipality will have a specific regulatory code regarding the size and material of your drainpipes. It is important to follow the correct procedure when installing or upgrading your home’s sewage drains.

Stormwater Drains

Did you know that, if you’re a property owner, one of your many responsibilities in managing and maintaining your property pertains to the disposal of stormwater? You are not allowed to let this water runoff or dispose of it on neighboring plots of lands – unless you somehow manage to convince your neighbors and the local municipality.

Most modern homes have gutter pipes that are connected to the stormwater drain. Unfortunately, there’s no golden rule for how long your stormwater drain needs to be. This ultimately depends on the size of your home and the land it is built on. Essentially, it needs to be long enough to function as it should.

In fact, local municipalities have been known to warn the public about the implications of improperly connected home drainage systems. If your wastewater drainpipes were connected to your stormwater drain, it would result in water pollution in nearby bodies of water, as discussed above.

If your gutter drains that run along the side of your home were connected to the wastewater drain instead of the stormwater drain, it could be just as disastrous. This is illegal, so your home’s plumbing system could get you in trouble without your knowledge! It’s best to ensure your drains are connected to the right points.

Hypothetically, if your gutter drain was connected to the sewerage drain, you could cost your local municipality greatly! This would drastically increase the volume of flow into the sewage system, especially in regions where it rains a lot. This could result in your government needing to invest in new sewer pipes and treatment facilities, which would up sewerage fees down the line.

By sending clear rainwater into the sewers, you could even result in sewage backups and overflows, which have the potential of polluting local areas. When doing your home renovation, you should check that your gutter drainpipes are correctly connected to the stormwater drain – it could save you from a hefty fine and then some.

Final Thoughts

When it comes down to your home’s drainage system, it is important to know which type of plumbing your house uses. If your house utilizes a combined drainage system, it takes care of your rainwater and wastewater together. However, if your house utilizes separate stormwater and wastewater drainage like most modern homes, there are some things you need to be aware of.

Having your drains improperly connected could lead to fines, pollution, and even a hike in sewage fees in your community. It’s always important to ensure protocols regarding material, sizing, certain slope angles, and more are followed. When your house’s drainage system is properly connected, you can flush without worrying!

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