Do you know that the same things that causes your gutters to clog also are the reasons for a clogged downspout.

Common downspout problems arises from:

  • leaves debris
  • animal droppings
  • loose granules

If you notice that your gutters are clean however there is still water overflowing from them then it may be a clogged downspout that causes the overflow.

Some homes, townhouses or units have their gutter downspouts connect to underground drains that re-direct the water away from the home – usually to the street or sidewalk near the property. They may even connect to the sewer system.

When the gutter downspouts get clogged the rain water cannot flow away freely, causing an overflow which then damages the gutter system and possibly damage the property as well. Clogged downspouts may be partially or fully clogged.

How do you know if a downspout is clogged underground?

When downspouts are clogged underground you will notice water seeping out of the crucial points of the gutter system during rain or a downpour. The best time to notice if your gutter is clogged is observing during a downpour of rain.

Signs of tell tale signs:

  • Water pooling or puddles/ overflowing from downspouts – look at the bottom of the downspouts and check if water is gushing out of them and spilling out of the adapter seams. This can only be observed during a downpour of rain. If water is coming out of pipes its a clear sign that you have a clogged downspout. Also if there are pools of water around the base of the pipe is another clear giveaway. Other signs are damp or swampy over saturated ground or mildew concrete could be caused by water from clogged downspouts.
  • Gutters overflowing – the rate of overflow will tell you if you have a partial clog or a fully clogged downspout. Gutters once fully filed will start to overflow like a water fall. The water can enter the home and cause severe damage to the interior. Sometimes you will need to call a licensed plumber to use specialize equipment to clear out the down-pipes or to install more downspouts to divert the water away from the house faster.
  • Water leaking or damage in basements – one of the main cause of water leaks in a basement of a home is caused by leaking downspouts. If a downspout empties near a home wall it can easily trickle into the foundations and enter the basement if the water seal of the home is damaged. Always check the boundary walls of your home to detect water standing that can leak into your basements.

How To prevent erosion from gutter downspouts?

The best way to prevent clogged downspouts is keeping your gutters clean at all times. Especially before the raining or storm season.

  • Add downspout strainers to your downspouts to prevent leaves from entering and clogging the system.
  • Add a downspout filter boxes to help you to clear debris
  • Gutter leaf guards help cover the gutters so debris doesn’t fall into the gutter and end up clogging the downspouts. Use a perforated aluminum gutter cover only.

How to fix a downspout washout?

Most gutter companies will not service downspouts. It is best to call a licensed plumber such as Plumbaround Pty Ltd to help you with any blocked or clogged downspouts. Call 07-30381038 for a local licensed plumber in Brisbane.

Why is water not going down my downspout?

If water is not properly flowing down your downspout, it usually indicates a blockage or an issue with the gutter system’s design or installation. Here are some common reasons for this problem:

1. Clogs from Debris

The most common cause of water not flowing down a downspout is a clog formed by leaves, twigs, dirt, and other debris that have accumulated in the gutters or the downspout itself. Over time, this debris can build up, especially if the gutters are not regularly cleaned.

2. Improper Gutter Slope

Gutters need a slight slope towards the downspouts to ensure water flows correctly. If the gutters are not sloped properly, water can pool in certain areas instead of flowing towards and down the downspouts.

3. Downspout Strainer Blockage

Some gutter systems include strainers at the top of the downspout to prevent debris from entering. These strainers can become clogged and restrict water flow.

4. Ice Dams or Frozen Water

In cold climates, water trapped in the gutters can freeze, forming ice dams or blockages that prevent water from reaching the downspouts. This is more likely to occur if the gutters are clogged with debris, which traps water that then freezes.

5. Insufficient Downspouts

If the gutter system does not have enough downspouts for the roof’s size and the amount of rainfall your area receives, it can lead to overflow and poor drainage, as the existing downspouts cannot handle the volume of water.

6. Damaged or Misaligned Gutters/Downspouts

Physical damage to the gutters or downspouts, such as dents, bends, or sections coming apart, can impede water flow. Misaligned gutters or downspouts can also cause water to spill over the edges instead of flowing down the intended path.

How to Address the Issue:

  • Gutter Cleaning: Regularly clean your gutters and downspouts to remove debris. This can often be done using a garden hose, gutter cleaning tool, or by hand with gloves. Ensure to check and clean the strainers as well.
  • Adjust the Slope: Inspect the slope of your gutters. They should have a slight slope towards the downspouts, typically about 1/4 inch for every 10 feet of gutter.
  • Install Gutter Guards: Gutter guards can help prevent debris from entering the gutters, reducing the likelihood of clogs.
  • Add More Downspouts: If your gutter system is overwhelmed during heavy rains, consider adding more downspouts to improve drainage capacity.
  • Inspect for Damage: Check for and repair any damage to your gutters and downspouts. Ensure they are securely attached and aligned correctly.
  • Professional Inspection: If you’re unsure of the cause or how to fix the issue, consider hiring a professional to inspect and repair your gutter system.

Addressing the issue promptly can prevent water damage to your home’s foundation, siding, and landscaping caused by overflowing gutters or improper drainage.

What happens if a downspout is clogged?

If a downspout is clogged, it can lead to a range of issues that may affect your home and property. Here are some of the potential consequences:

1. Water Overflow

Clogs can cause water to back up and overflow from the gutters. This overflow can spill over the edges of the gutters, leading to water pouring down the sides of your home, which can cause damage to the siding, windows, and doors.

2. Foundation Damage

One of the primary functions of gutters and downspouts is to direct water away from your home’s foundation. When a downspout is clogged, water may pool around the foundation, which can lead to erosion, cracking, and even water seeping into basements or crawl spaces, potentially causing significant structural damage over time.

3. Landscape Erosion

Overflowing water can also damage your landscaping, eroding soil, mulch, and plants. The force of the water spilling over can displace garden beds, damage plants, and create unsightly gullies in your yard.

4. Wood Rot and Mold

The fascia boards that hold your gutters in place are susceptible to rot if they’re constantly exposed to water due to overflowing gutters. Over time, this can lead to the weakening of your gutter system’s structural integrity. Additionally, persistent dampness can foster mold and mildew growth, which can spread to other parts of your home.

5. Pest Infestations

Standing water in clogged gutters and downspouts can create a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests. Moreover, the damp conditions can attract termites, carpenter ants, and rodents seeking water.

6. Ice Dams and Icicles

In colder climates, clogged downspouts can contribute to the formation of ice dams on the roof. When water cannot flow through the gutters and downspouts properly, it may freeze and accumulate at the edge of the roof, preventing melting snow from draining. This can lead to water seeping under roof shingles and into the home. Large icicles can also form, which pose a risk to personal safety and can damage gutters due to their weight.

Preventative Measures and Solutions:

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean your gutters and downspouts regularly, especially after the fall season or after significant storms, to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris.
  • Install Gutter Guards: Gutter guards can help prevent debris from entering the gutters, reducing the risk of clogs.
  • Flush Downspouts: Use a garden hose to flush out your downspouts, ensuring water flows freely through them.
  • Inspect and Repair: Regularly inspect your gutter system for signs of damage or misalignment and make necessary repairs.
  • Professional Help: If you’re unable to clear a clog or if your gutter system requires significant maintenance, consider hiring a professional gutter cleaning service.

Addressing clogged downspouts promptly can help prevent these issues, protecting your home’s structural integrity, aesthetic appeal, and safety.

What is the problem with underground downspouts?

Underground downspouts, also known as underground drainage systems, are used to direct water away from a building’s foundation to a safe discharge area. While they can be very effective, there are potential problems associated with them:

1. Clogging

Underground downspouts can become clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris that wash down from the gutters. Roots from nearby trees can also grow into the pipes, causing blockages. Clogged underground downspouts can lead to water backing up, potentially causing damage to the foundation or basement.

2. Difficult Maintenance

Accessing and cleaning underground downspout systems can be more challenging than maintaining above-ground systems. Special tools and professional services may be required to clear blockages or repair damaged sections, which can be costly.

3. Pipe Damage

Underground pipes can be damaged by tree roots, shifting soil, or heavy equipment above ground. Cracked or collapsed pipes can impede water flow and require significant effort and expense to repair or replace.

4. Improper Installation

If not properly installed, underground downspouts may not effectively divert water away from the building, leading to water pooling around the foundation. The system must be designed to ensure adequate slope and water flow to the discharge point.

5. Freezing

In cold climates, water remaining in underground pipes can freeze, blocking the system and preventing drainage. This can lead to water overflow near the foundation or even damage the pipes.

6. Over-Saturation

If the discharge point is not properly chosen, it can lead to over-saturation of the soil in that area. This can affect landscaping, create muddy areas, and potentially lead to water seepage problems in your own or neighboring properties.

7. Legal and Regulatory Issues

There may be local regulations or building codes that restrict or dictate how and where water can be discharged. Improperly designed or installed systems can lead to legal issues, especially if they cause water to flow onto neighboring properties or into municipal sewer systems not designed for stormwater.

Solutions and Preventative Measures:

  • Regular Inspections and Maintenance: Conduct regular inspections and cleanings to ensure the system is free of debris. This may involve using a plumber’s snake, high-pressure water jetting, or a professional cleaning service.
  • Proper Installation: Ensure that the system is designed and installed by professionals with consideration for local climate, soil type, and landscape.
  • Adequate Discharge Point: The discharge point should be carefully selected to ensure water is diverted away from the property without causing problems elsewhere.
  • Heating Elements: In colder climates, consider installing heating elements or using insulated pipes to prevent freezing.
  • Access Points: Include access points within the design to facilitate cleaning and maintenance.

While underground downspouts can be an effective way to manage rainwater and protect your foundation, they require careful planning, installation, and maintenance to avoid potential problems.

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