A New Solution to Water Runoff: Pop-Up Gutter Drains

Gutter drains

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The gutters that encircle your home’s roofline are great for collecting runoff water and preventing it from seeping into the ground next to your home’s foundation. But they won’t do you any good if the water is not successfully directed out of your downspouts and away from your home.

Splash blocks may work for small amounts of water, but they won’t be able to handle a major downpour. Downspout extensions will often do the trick, but they can be unsightly and aren’t always practical.

Here’s a solution: pop-up gutter drains.

What is a Pop-up Gutter Drain?

Pop-up gutter drains are drains installed at the end of an underground pipe that is itself connected to a downspout. The pop-up drain has a gravity-powered lid that activates when water is flowing, but simply falls down again when it’s dry and there is no water to conduct. The idea is that the pipe brings the water to the surface and expels it onto the ground.

Do I Need a Pop-up Gutter Drain?

There are a couple of reasons why your home might need a pop-up gutter drain. You should think about it if your land has grading issues that prevent the flow of water away from the house. Another reason for installing a pop-up gutter drain is if your soil simply doesn’t drain well. And you may also need one if your current gutter design drains an excess amount of water into one specific area. If you’re not sure whether or not you need one, your gutter installation company can help you figure it out.

How to Install a Pop-Up Gutter Drain

These drains are attached to the end of a pipe that runs underneath the surface of your yard. Here are the steps to installing a pop-up gutter drain system:

  • Step 1: Dig a hole underneath your gutter downspout and place a catch basin in the hole.
  • Step 2: Dig a trench from the catch basin to a curb, creek, alley, or another area where the runoff water can easily drain.
  • Step 3: Fasten a pipe near the bottom of the catch basin and run it along the bottom of the trench.
  • Step 4: Put in the pop-up drain at the discharge point of the pipe and position it at the same level as the ground’s surface.

When the next rain event takes place, the water will run through your gutters, down your downspout, into your catch basin, and through the underground pipe. The pressure of the water will force the mechanism to “pop up” and allow the water to drain out of the pipe. When the water stops flowing, the absence of water pressure causes the mechanism to lower back into the ground automatically (much like a sprinkler head). This helps keep debris and animals from making their way into the pipe.

Potential Problems

Like the gutters on your home, pop-up gutter drains must be installed appropriately in order for the system to work correctly. That means making sure that the underground pipe continuously slopes downward from the catch basin to the pop-up mechanism. Otherwise, the water will not flow adequately, and may even collect inside the pipe and eventually flood back into your yard once the catch basin fills up.

Also, the underground pipe should be at least six feet in length (10 feet is better) in order for the water to drain properly.

Can Pop-up Gutter Drains Get Clogged?

Like any drain line, it is possible for a pop-up drain line to become clogged if something other than water is introduced into the system. The good news is that these drain lines are typically easy to clean by simply removing the lid and clearing the line. You can also prevent clogging from occurring in the first place by using downspout screens or a gutter guard system.

Do Pop-up Gutter Drains Freeze?

It is possible for pop-up drains to freeze, unfortunately. Keeping your downspouts clean and free of debris can help prevent freezing, however. Freezing is less likely to occur when there aren’t chunks of solid matter for ice to freeze around. Installing a heating system that uses a heating cable or heat tape can also help prevent freezing and keep water flowing.

Pop-up gutter drains aren’t for every home. But for homeowners who want to make sure that runoff water is being kept away from their home’s foundation, pop-up gutter drains can be an effective solution. Schedule a free estimate.

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