Preparing Downspouts for Winter
Those colorful autumn leaves may be great to look at, but you won’t remember them so fondly during the winter months, when they’ve clogged up your gutters and downspouts. Winters in Ohio are harsh enough, without the headache of frozen downspouts to add to the misery. If your downspouts are clogged with leaves and other debris, water from rain and melting snow can refreeze in the downspouts which will cause them to expand. This can cause the downspouts and gutters to pull away from the house. Clogged gutters can also contribute to the formation of ice dams, which is that thick layer of ice that forms around the edge of the roof and eaves of the house. The icicles might be pretty, but the constant freeze-refreeze cycle can cause roof damage and moisture can even seep further into the house, weakening and staining ceilings. During warmer weather, stagnant water along with damp and decaying leaves and debris in the gutters will trap moisture, which can lead to dry rot.
Even if your gutters are in good shape, they are useless if the downspouts are clogged. Leaves and other refuse can get lodged in the downspouts or in the underground downspout drain that carries water to the curb. You also need to pay close attention to the elbow joints (the area where the gutter joins the downspout), which are particularly susceptible to clogs or ice. Another thing to check is to make sure that water from the downspouts flows away from your house. Otherwise, standing water can cause serious foundations problems.
If you are concerned about a clog in your downspout drain, call the pros at Atlas Butler Plumbing. We can come out and inspect your drainage to see if there is a clog that would keep your gutters from draining properly this winter. In fact, for a limited time, we are offering a $99 downspout drain inspection special.
DIY Your Gutters and Downspouts
You can also clean your downspouts yourself. You need a ladder, hose, spray nozzle and plumber’s snake.
- Remove any visible debris from the top of the downspout.
- Insert the hose into the top of the downspout and spray a forceful jet of water downwards. This will help loosen the clog.
- If the clog persist, insert the plumber’s snake and start cranking.
- Keep repeating the process until the clog is completely broken up.