What to Do When Your Drainpipe Is Clogged

Managing rainwater on your property is vital to protecting your home and ensuring the longevity of everything from your roof to your siding to your foundation. A clog anywhere in your gutter system can lead to stagnant water, which can cause rot in various housing materials. And a backup in the system can also lead to heavy water flowing through your yard in the wrong direction which can cause soil erosion and threaten your grass and plants. That’s why it’s so important to know how to handle a clog in your drainpipes, downspouts, or gutters. Take a look at some tips for handling these problems.

Start At the Top

Clog in your drainpipe
If there are leaves in your yard, they may also be clogging your gutters.

Most homeowners are familiar with the problem of clogged gutters. Open gutters tend to collect more than just rainwater – they also collect leaves and other debris that land on the roof or are blown in by a storm. You can tell that your gutter is clogged when you see water flowing over the edges of the gutter during a storm, or when you notice eroded soil below the gutter. Peeling paint, moisture, and dirt on your siding can also be a sign that your gutters are clogged.

You can clean your gutters yourself if you’re comfortable on a ladder, but you shouldn’t hesitate to hire a professional if you have any doubts that you can clean them safely. Gutter cleaning can be dangerous because it requires going up the ladder with a gutter cleaning tool, like a trowel. But the best thing that you can do is take proactive measures to prevent clogs in your gutter, which can also prevent clogs further down in the gutter system. Gutter mesh or helmets that fit over the open gutters and prevent debris from entering the gutter system in the first place can all but eliminate clogs.

Find Downspout Clogs

Clog in your drainpipe
Downspout clogs are often located in the bends or angles.

Sometimes it’s not as easy as surveying the open part of your gutters to find the clogs. Once you have debris in your gutter system, it can move until it reaches the downspout, clogging that up. If you see that water isn’t coming out of your downspout during the storm, chances are that there is a clog in it somewhere. There should be a downspout cage, usually made of wire mesh, in the area where your gutters and downspout connect. This is supposed to strain the material in gutters, allowing the water to flow through while trapping debris. However, if the wire mesh becomes damaged, it can allow debris into the downspout where it can form clogs.

Finding a clog in a downspout can be tricky, since you can’t see inside the piping. The best way to find the clog is to tap the downspout with a screwdriver, starting at the top and working your way down. Most of the time you’ll hear a hollow sound, but at the location of the clog you should hear a dull thud. You can try to clear the drain with a hose or auger, but if that doesn’t work, you may need to dismantle the downspout to remove the clog.

Clear Drainpipe Clogs

Some downspouts connect to a drainpipe that goes into the ground, funneling water away to another location like a storm sewer or a dry well. If you have one of these, you could end up with a clog in your drainpipe as well. These are the most difficult kind of clogs because they are located underground, making them very difficult to get to. Also, they’re not always caused by debris in your gutter system – you could end up with a clog due to a tree root growing into the pipe.

You can try removing the downspout from the drain pipe first. Then you can try to clear the clog with a plumbing snake, or by using a hose to send water into the pipe and dislodge the clog. However, if the clog is too far down, or if it’s caused by something immobile, like a tree root, you’ll need to hire a professional to excavate the drain pipe and clear the clog.

If you need help dealing with gutter system clogs, we have the materials and expertise to solve your problem. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Written by Del Thebaud

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