Gutter Downspouts: What They Are and Why You Need Them
“When it rains, it pours,” can be an especially ominous warning if your home is not properly protected from water damage through a good gutter system. Gutters are designed to move water away from your home during rainy days, as well as when snow and ice on your roof begin to melt. These systems—which are generally of aluminum but can also be vinyl, steel, or copper —are installed around the edges of your roof and allow water to flow toward the ground. That way, it doesn’t damage your home’s roof and siding or even allow water to seep into your house, which can lead to a flood of destruction, repair bills, and headaches. Gutter downspouts are an instrumental part of helping your gutters work efficiently.
Continue reading to learn about downspouts and how they work, as well as how you can maintain them to increase their longevity and ensure lasting protection of your home.
What is a Downspout and Why is it Important?
A gutter downspout is the tube that connects to the gutter at the roof’s edge and runs down the side of your home. This allows water to efficiently flow away from your house—which goes a long way toward preventing structural damage. In fact, without downspouts, gallons of water from heavy rainfalls and melted snow and ice would accumulate near the foundation of your home, leading to flooding (and serious harm to your basement, if you have one).
How to Extend Your Gutter Downspout
Gutter drains at the bottom of the downspout leverage gravity to pull the water away from the foundation of a home and then allow it to flow over a wide area of dirt. Your downspout can even be extended to your driveway or an underground drainage system to further ensure protection by buying gutter extensions. Gutter extensions are flexible attachments that fit to the bottom of your downspout that can then be pulled out and even turned to the right or left. They are sold ready-made at many home improvement stores, and you can install it yourself.
Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned regularly—in most cases, a minimum of once a year – to keep them working properly. To maintain gutter downspouts, you should make sure leaves and other debris are not lodged inside and causing clogs in the system. Try running water through the spout, and if it does not flow as quickly as it usually would, then chances are something is stuck inside. To unclog the downspout, put the hose inside from the bottom and turn the water up to full pressure to dislodge whatever is in there. If this doesn’t work, you can also use a plumber’s snake to remove the clog and flush water inside the downspout to get the debris out.
In addition, you should regularly inspect your gutter downspouts for structural damage like dents, cracks, and gaps. Also, look for rust, broken fasteners, and peeled paint. If you find any problems, you may need to hire a professional to replace the downspouts, or in some cases, the whole gutter system.
Find an Experienced Gutter Contractor
Hiring a professional installer for your gutters and downspouts can save you time and money. Contractors have the equipment needed to work in a timely and safe manner, and the expertise to complete the installation without wasting materials.
Modernize helps you find experienced gutter installers by providing information on trusted, local contractors who have been vetted for their experience and work quality. Check out our guide on how to vet potential gutter contractors to help you make an informed decision on who to hire by evaluating and comparing professionals until you find the one that’s right for you.