Don’t Let Downspouts Be Your Downfall

Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

The last thing you would ever worry about are downspouts.  What could possibly go wrong with something so simple?  They just hang there and water runs down them.  They don’t do anything and worse case the rainwater will come down somehow.  First thing to consider with downspouts is that much like a leaking roof, you never notice there is something wrong until it’s raining.  So that is the perfect time for you to go outside and try to fix them while you get to experience lightening, thunder, pelting rain, blowing wind...ahh the joys of homeownership.  Well let me give you some hard-learned lessons about how badly downspouts can ruin your day….

Mason block wall repair cementTHE DOWNSIDE -Based on my experience, having broken; poorly hung; or clogged downspouts can be catastrophic.  You laugh, but here’s the bad news.  If your downspouts (and gutters) are not working properly, that water still goes somewhere.  And that somewhere is down along side your foundation.  Then once the foundation is breeched, you will have to deal with a flooded basement or crawlspace.  But wait there’s more…   If left unchecked your basement wall will begin to swell and crack.  Mine got so bad that between the floor and the ceiling in the basement there was a 4”-6” “potbelly” in the middle where the block wall had bowed inwards.  Pretty bad huh?  But it gets better…. Then the brick on the outside of the house started cracking and sagging as the basement wall supporting it kept moving.  After totally excavating all along the wall down to the footers; realigning the basement wall; pouring concrete support columns; and repairing the brick; we had spent thousands in repair bills.  After we were all done with these repairs, the contractor explained that all of this damage was caused by simply not having the downspouts maintained and running the discharge water well away from the foundation.  Really?  What an expensive lesson.

gutter screen

RULE #1 – DEBRIS:  You have to keep all the various crap out of your downspouts.  You can either use gutter guards or install the cheap and easy downspout screens.  Both will work to keep leaves; twigs; shingle sand and other debris from clogging your system.  Once clogged then all that water just overflows and you're back to having foundation problems. 

downspout

RULE #2 – DISCHARGE LEGS: Once the water comes down the downspout it has to be carried away from the house so it doesn’t leech back to the foundation.  This is where you want to have at least five feet of horizontal run to push the water far enough away.  This can be using more aluminum downspout; flexible pvc hoses; a French drain; or even a buried piping/tile system.  Pay attention to your landscaping too.  Make sure that the ground slopes away from your foundation or any water you discharge is just going to pool and run back to the house.

 

RULE #3 – MAINTENENCE:  Murphy’s Law dictates that something can, and will, go wrong.  Periodically check your gutters and downspouts.  Sometimes they come apart at the seams; the legs get blown off in the wind; birds just love to make nests in them.  With maintenance, a penny spent is thousands saved – believe me I know.

downspout

As a personal product reference, I found these InvisaFlow extensions at our local hardware store (Lowe’s), and they are really working quite well.  Because of their low profile I’ve never had to chase these across the neighborhood during a storm.  They are clean-looking and inconspicuous.  We even have some buried under mulch in the flower garden to help disperse rainwater.  Check them out… but most of all don’t forget to check out your downspouts.  It could be the cheapest and easiest way to avoid bigger problems later.

downspout blower cleanout

BTW – I also found this little gem online.  It’s a downspout blower attachment.  Stick this on the end of your downspout, shove your leaf blower in the other side and BOOM – in one quick shot you’ve cleaned out the downspout AND the gutter screen… all from ground level!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add new comment

How to Build and Use a Water Level

No votes yet

Plumb BobI had to lay some buried drain lines on my property to address problems where water was pooling and causing mud holes. Once I had dug the trenches my next problem was to figure out how to accurately measure the slope of the drain lines to ensure the water would go where I wanted.  I’m basically too cheap to buy a laser level or a transit; and too inept to use a string level with any accuracy.  So I decided to build a simple water level to make sure my drain lines were right.  Here's how I did it......

Water-bound with Toddlers

No votes yet

While it may be true that “Those who are lucky enough to live on a lake are lucky enough,” for those of us who are not lucky enough, we must pull our wet and wild goodies from beach bags not from our lakeside cabanas.  Thirty-six years of being a water bug have taught me I absolutely must have these... 

Tackling Clogged Drains

No votes yet

PumberI guarantee that one day you will have to deal with a stopped up drain. Whether in the kitchen the bath or the toilet…it’s inevitable as death and taxes. The other given is that you will already be busy doing something else when this emergency occurs. Here are some helpful techniques for tackling these various problems.

Treating Back Pain at Home

No votes yet

back massageFor a long time now I have suffered from occasional lower back pain. Lifting heavy loads; twisting; and basic over exertion have all taken their toll on my back. Sometimes it’s even comical (though still painful). Like the time I was reaching for the toilet paper and bam, out goes the old man’s back. Seriously, what sadistic person mounts the roll behind you on the wall at shoulder height? If your spouse comes to help you in this position, you really know their love will last a lifetime. So here is how I fix my own back pains at home…

Super Easy Toilet Clog Fix

Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

toilet boy cute babyAs a follow up to a prior article on unclogging drains, I wanted to share this simple method for clearing plugged toilets. Now I’ve taken a lot of crap over the years about this topic, and I wish somebody had just told me about this fix 20 years ago. From a very early age both of my boys have had “issues” using the toilet. One believes there is no such thing as using too much toilet paper, and the other must have a colon shaped like a Pringles can – OMG. And the only thing that has changed over the years is they are now older, bigger, and still being a pain in the commode. Now on to the easiest fix you’ll ever find…

Recommend 4busydads.com to:

 

 

Author Information

MikeC
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/12/2012 - 9:34pm

PageRank
Dad Blogs