What Can Go Wrong with Downspouts?

Downspouts are the part of a gutter system that expel rainwater safely away from a home’s foundation. To ensure that they are working the way they should, look out for some common things that can go wrong with them.

Buildup: The number one issue downspouts have is buildup of materials. Twigs, leaves and other types of debris exiting the gutter system can become lodged inside the downpipe. When a clog or blockage is left unattended, it can become large enough to seriously impede or stop rainwater from flowing out.

Loose: When a downspout pulls away, it becomes unstable and its ability to direct water away from the foundation has compromised its functionality. Reattach downpipes by using new screws that are the correct length – using ones that are not flush can snag bits of debris inside the downspout, helping to create clogs.

Broken: Downspouts can break away from a gutter outlet or between sections where they are joined together. This occurs when the elbow in the affected section becomes so clogged with debris, the additional weight causes the downpipe to separate from the gutter outlet or another section.

Noise: Noise is often an indication that there is a leak. Water from the leak lands on the inside of the elbow of the downspout, making noise as it exits a metal downpipe. It can also be a sign that the downspout has shifted slightly, causing water to come into direct contact with the elbow.

Pooling: Pooling water underneath a downpipe can seep into the ground. If it “sits” for any length of time, it can make the soil around the foundation unstable or it can seep into the foundation itself, causing serious problems. Make sure that the downpipe deposits the water a minimum of five to seven feet away from the exterior wall – use a downspout extension if you have to. I could save the corner of the foundation from sinking or cracking.