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Cold Weather french drains

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Hi John:
I think that is a good question.
French drains are generally installed behind retaining walls at lower finished grade (finished floor) height.  This allows for the perforated pipe to drain to grade at the retainig wall termination(s). 
They can be installed in other locations, but they pose different problems.
I don't see the design/location/function being effected by freeze/thaw.
With Joy and Hope,
Bob Freeman, Architect
Structural designer
Integrated Design Services, Inc.
(949) 387-8500 x115