As a homeowner, you may not have much of a choice on whether or not to install a soakwell system since it is a legal requirement in some places in Australia. However, you do have a choice on what kind of connections you can have between your downpipes and the soakwell.
There are two main types of connections:
- Gooseneck connection – This is a direct connection to the soakwell. The pipe linking the downpipe to the soakwell is in the shape of a goose's neck, hence the name.
- Open grill or grate connection – Here an open grill is place underneath the downpipe and the water flow through it into the soakwell. It is not a direct connection as with the gooseneck.
Your home can have either of these two connections, but as most soakwell installers will advise you, getting the open grill connection is a much better choice than the gooseneck connection.
A few reasons why…
- Open grill connections 'breathe' better than gooseneck connections. The open spaces that characterize the grill allow air that may be trapped in the pipes to escape. In case of a sudden storm, a gooseneck connection may have air trapped within it, affecting its maximum capacity. This would not occur with an open grill connection.
Handling Excess Water
A sufficiently large storm can cause soakwells to fill up due to water saturation in the surrounding soil.
With gooseneck connections, when the soakwell fills up, the water starts to fill the piping all the way up to the downpipe adapter and back up into the downpipe. This causes mounting hydraulic pressure to develop in the soakwell which can cause the sand around it to start churning, resulting in the paving around and near the soakwell to be lifted.
In addition, as the water backs up into the downpipe, it could flow into the eaves of the house and then into wall cavities, causing water stains or even molding in the ceilings and inner walls of the house.
Not so with the open grill connection. Excess water from a full soakwell flows out through the holes of the grill back to the surface. This way, there is no hydraulic pressure build up and no disturbance to the paving around and near the soakwell. Further, there is no chance of the inner walls or ceiling getting water stains or molds from an overflowing soakwell.
- Safety is another reason why the grill trumps the gooseneck. The gooseneck design requires it to protrude from the ground in the shape of a goose's neck. Due to their placement around the house, these protrusions could result in injuries to playing children or even distracted adults. Grills, on the other hand, do not protrude from the ground and so are not hazardous to have around the home.
Aesthetics are another reason the open grill connection is better. There are no obvious protrusions as with the gooseneck since the grills are installed discreetly into the ground just below the downpipes. This gives the house a sleek, modern look that will certainly increase your home's appeal and value should you consider selling it in the future.