Troubleshooting Downspouts

Typically it’s the gutters that get most of the attention, but properly maintained downspouts are just as an important part of your gutter system. Like gutters, a downspout protects both your home’s roof and your foundation from potential water damage. When downpipes are working optimally, they are correctly secured to the gutter; do not leak; and are positioned so that they deposit water channeled from the gutters at least six feet from the foundation. When cleaning or inspecting your gutters, don’t forget to check the downspouts to ensure they haven’t been blocked or damaged.


Blockages or clogs often occur in the gutters, but they can also occur in two separate areas of the downpipe, greatly decreasing its flow capacity. The first place a clog can happen is at the top of the downspout where it connects to the gutter; the second is at a downspout elbow. A clog that forms somewhere in between the top or the bottom of the downspout might be caused by the screws that connect the pipe’s joints together. If these screws are too long, they can snag debris, preventing it from being expelled properly and can be replaced with shorter screws to prevent the problem from reoccurring. If an obstruction cannot be easily flushed from the downspouts, you might have to remove one or two sections to see what is actually happening. An inexpensive solution is to install leaf strainer on each downpipe outlet.

Loose Downspout

When a downspout is loose, water is released rather than redirected from out of the gutter system and away from your home. If the downspout has been disconnected or shifts easily and is not securely reattached, it could cause water damage to the walls or foundation. Replace old screws with new ones and ensure that they are the appropriate length.

Downspout too Close to Foundation

If downspouts drain too close to a house’s foundation, they can cause the basement to flood, structural damage and mould when water isn’t redirected far enough away. A downspout should be positioned to drain water at least 6 to 10 feet away from the foundation. Use a gutter extension or replace that section of downpipe with a longer one to direct rain water further away from your home.