Clogged Downspouts

clogged_downspout
Clogged downspout filled with tree seeds and leaves

A clogged downspout can also cause water to run back under your roofline, causing water damage to the plywood under you roof and the sofit that holds the gutters by the roofline. Fixing either of these parts of the house can be a very costly repair which could have been avoided with routine downspout clean outs. This can be the hardest part of gutter cleanining since material jambed down in the downspouts is hard to bring back up, so it either has to be brocken up or the leaders and joints in the down spout system taken apart. This just takes more time to do but prevents making it worse.

Places Downspouts Clog

At the very top of the downspouts where the gutter and downspouts join is where the most clogs occur. Leaves, seeds, tree flowers and Debris tend to float to the opening of the downspouts. With relatively low flow these materials can hang there and then the gutter dries out and gets stuck or almost glued there. Then the next rain comes along and hangs up on the dam that was created by the first piece hung up at the down spout. As this happens a number of times the downspout opening gets bridged over and literally plugged up. Then the entire gutter system stops working and overflows damaging the house, landscaping, and foundation. What is often remarkable is when the blockage is removed from the top of the downspouts the rest of the system can be perfectly clear.

Clogs at the bends in the downspouts are the second most frequent area of blockage. With perfectly straight runs from the gutters down to the ground there is nothing for material to hang up on and they seldom get clogged. With Bends to fit the profile of a house the potential for twigs, screws, or debris to start a back up greatly increases. The farther down the system the harder it can be to clean out.

Clearing Clogged Downspouts

Pressurized water from a hose pushed down the system can flush the blockage out. Be careful not to put a hose down with a nozzle on it since it can get stuck so that it can not be pulled back out.

Plumbers snakes have a auger tip that can cut through a blockage and pull lose some debris to start the clearing of the Downspouts. The disadvantage to this is your can also dig through a joint in the gutter system if you are not careful. If the material can be loosened up then running it up and down the system can clear it so the water will flow freely. An electricians snake works at the first elbow when the gutter curves under the fascia to push and or probe for any blockages, but not well for problems lower down in the system since all you do it jamb material down further into the downspouts.

Downspouts that go into underground drainage can be hard to make sure they are clear. If there is a clean out access point at the ground or a way to take out the downspout then a snake or hose can be inserted to check if it is clear. Oten to really be sure a large amount of water is needed to see if the downspout drainage is working well.