One part of regular home maintenance involves checking your gutters and downspouts for clogs and debris. When a gutter or downspout is clogged, water backs up, which leads to soil erosion and water damage to your home and property.
What’s a Downspout?
Downspouts consist of long tubes that extend from the gutter to the ground and are usually installed by a low point. The downspout is typically made of the same materials as the gutter. There should roughly be a downspout every 40 feet of gutter.
How Does a Downspout Work?
Downspouts curve outward at the bottom end to direct water away from a building's foundation. The soil below the base of the downspout can be protected from erosion by placing a splash block at the base. Some homes also have an underground drainage system that connects to the downspout, carrying the water away from the home.
Often homeowners remember to clean out their gutters but forget downspouts, which means that water flows down smoothly from the roof through the gutters and then gets stuck in a clogged downspout. When you fail to clear out a clogged downspout, water backs up and the excess water may damage the exterior and foundation.
Start with Gutters & Install Gutter Guards
You know you have a clogged gutter when you see water flowing out over the gutter during a storm or you can see soil erosion under the gutter. There are other signs that can indicate clogged gutters include peeling paint, dirt, and moisture on the building's siding.
You can clean your gutters by hiring a professional or do it yourself using caution. The most effective way you can prevent clogs in your gutter is by installing gutter guards.
How to Install Guards
A gutter guard protects your drainage system by fitting over open gutters and preventing new debris, animal matter, leaves, twigs, and other small objects from entering your gutter system. They prevent clogs from forming while allowing water to flow down smoothly through the gutters. While you can install the guards yourself, hiring a professional who is trained in how to install gutter guards advisable as it takes some skill and precision.
Check Downspouts for Clogs
If you see water flowing over the edges of your gutters and not through your downspouts, your downspouts are most likely clogged with a small object or leaves and twigs. Clogs in downspouts are generally hard to see. You will need to feel inside the downspout by tapping the sides, starting at the top, and working your way down listening for a studded or solid sound. If you find one remove the downspout from a connecting drain, place a garden hose inside the downspout and turn on the water. If the water is backing up and the hose doesn’t clear it out try tapping on the downspout while the hose keeps running. You can learn more about our gutter cleaning guys here.
Check Drainpipes for Clogs
Some homes have downspouts that connect to a drainpipe that goes into the ground and carries water away from the house to a dry well or sewer. This can also get clogged. This clog can be difficult to clear out as it can run below the house and be difficult to reach. The drainpipe clogs aren’t always caused by debris accumulation either. They can be caused by tree roots growing into the pipe and damaging it.
To clear out the drainpipe, first, remove the downspout. Use a plumbing snake or hose to clear out the clog. If the clog is too far down along the pipe, you will need professional help to clear out the pipe.