Cleaning Your Downspouts

A clogged down spout can be a headache

Cleaning Your Downspouts

Calhoun Plumbing

April 7, 2020

While autumn leaves are pretty, they can cause major problems for your gutters and downspouts. Leaves, twigs, seeds, and needles from trees and other debris can clog your gutters and downspouts. While cleaning the gutters is usually a semi-annual chore, downspouts may also need attention. Clogged downspouts can cause soil erosion and water damage to your foundation, basement, deck or patio. They can also introduce contaminants into the plumbing system. If you have an underground drainage system, tree roots and rocks can also block downspouts.

Typically, the solid matter gets lodged in the “elbow” — the pipe that connects the gutter to the downspout. Luckily, cleaning clogged downspouts isn’t difficult, but it can be time-consuming and messy. Here are three methods for DIY-ers. As with any home improvement project, keep safety in mind first. Make sure your ladder is sturdy and in good condition. Wear safety goggles and gloves to protect your hands. If you can round up (e.g. bribe) someone to help you, all the better! An extra set of hands to assist you while you up on the roof or ladder will make the job a lot easier and faster.

  1. Water. This method requires a garden hose with a spray nozzle attachment and a bucket or trash bag for waste. First, remove as much solid matter as possible from the top of the downspout or filter if you use one. The second step is to spray water from the hose into the downspout, using maximum pressure. How quickly the water starts backing up can give you an idea of where the clog is. You can then tap on the downspout to try to dislodge the clog. If you think the clog is farther down inside the pipe, you can try spraying water upwards to see if that is more effective.
  2. Snaking. A good old plumber’s snake can help unclog downspouts. Again, you will need to get up on the ladder. Insert the snake line into the downspout and start cranking the auger. This should break up the clog and you should be able to flush it away with water from the hose.
  3. Blowing. You can also try using a leaf blower to force air through the downspout from above. This method is most successful if the clog isn’t tightly wedged in the pipe. The obvious drawback to this is having to lug the leaf blower up the ladder, but you may be able to purchase a special attachment to extend the reach of your leaf blower. This would allow you to remain on the ground.

If you have tried any or all of these methods and still have clogged downspouts — or — you’ve decided that it’s something you don’t want to tackle yourself, contact a plumber.  A plumber can help you with removing the debris and offering options such as installing covers or guards to your guttering system. Calhoun Plumbing has provided services to the Columbus-Dublin area for more than two decades. Consult with one of our licensed plumbers to choose the best solution for unclogging your downspouts. We can also make recommendations to help prevent this problem from happening in the future. Give us a call at 614-444-1995 today to schedule an appointment that’s convenient for you.