Reasons Downspouts Don’t Work Properly

Downspouts direct water away from the foundation of your home. Their importance is often downplayed, and they are frequently overlooked when the gutters are being maintained. Here are some reasons downspouts don’t work properly.

Not Free of Debris

Reason: When debris builds up in the downspout at the top, in the middle or above or below the elbow, it can hinder or stop water from exiting the gutter system.

Solution: Check the top of the downspout where it connects to the gutter. Clear away any debris. Look into the downspout and if you see a blockage, use a plumber’s snake to gently break up the debris. To prevent buildup from forming, install a leaf strainer over the gutter outlet. If there isn’t any clog around the gutter outlet and water is still just trickling out of the downspout, then the blockage is in the middle of the downpipe or just above/below the elbow where the water comes out. Try using a garden hose with a pressure nozzle or a plumber’s snake to loosen the clump. If water still isn’t running down the pipe the way it should, remove the middle section of the downpipe; clear away the obstruction.

Not the Right Size

Reason: Most residential structures with 5 inch gutters have 2 inch x 3 inch downpipes. But when the gutters overflow and clogging isn’t the issue, the downspout might be the guilty party.

Solution: Replace the existing downpipes with 3 x 4 inch downspouts. The larger downpipe size should be able to handle the amount of water being channeled through the gutter system without having to replace the gutters.

Not the Right Length

Reason: Another reason downpipes don’t work properly is because they are too short. When a downspout isn’t the right length, water is allowed to drain too close to the foundation.

Solution: Use the appropriate downspout accessories to help guide water exiting the downspouts further away from the basement. For example, if the downspout extender is going to cross a pathway, consider installing a hinged downspout that will allow you to fold it up and out of the way when it’s not raining.

Not the Right Number

Reason: There aren’t enough downspouts to effectively handle the runoff.

Solution: Install as many additional downpipes needed; ensure they are strategically placed. A general rule dictates that there should be on downspout for every 30 to 40 feet of gutter. But other considerations should be factored in such as the size of your home, the configuration of the roof and how much rain falls in your area.

Not Properly Installed

Reason: If your home is an older one, gutter outlets may not have been installed. In the past, to save money and time, some contractors skipped the drop outlets and simply cut a hole into the gutter to make room for the downpipe.

Solution: Replace gutter sections with new ones that include proper gutter outlets.