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Clean Gutters, Clogged Downspouts: A Classic Dilemma

Even when you’re diligent about cleaning your gutters regularly, you may still end up with clogs and overflowing gutters. Although your gutters are accessible, downspouts are much more difficult to get debris out of. It’s an issue homeowners have battled with since gutter systems were invented – until the advent of rain gutter shields

The problem lies in the fact that the downspout opening is quite small. It’s smaller than the downspout itself and, no matter how clean you keep your gutters, there’s nothing stopping the debris from flowing down with the rain and clogging the downspout. Once the downspout is clogged, rainwater backs up and eventually your gutters overflow. Of course, if you installed a quality gutter guard, cleaning shouldn’t be necessary.

How a Properly Functioning Gutter System Works

Your gutters are a system in themselves and part of your larger roofing system. When they’re properly installed and working, they drain at a rate equivalent to the rainfall out your downspouts so the water doesn’t sit at the home’s foundation. 

Gutters should have a slight slope. You can climb on a ladder with a hose or watering can and test that yours do indeed drain properly. Water should flow toward the downspout and you should see water coming from the closest downspout within moments. You shouldn’t notice any gaps between your gutters and home. If you do, they aren’t properly attached. 

Signs of a Clogged Gutter System

Perhaps the biggest benefit of rain gutter shields is that you won’t have to worry about a clogged gutter system. If you suspect that you do have a clogged downspout, here are the steps to take to clear the clog.

  1. Remove the bottom of the downspout if yours is connected to an underground drain.
  2. Carefully climb a ladder, put your garden hose in the downspout opening and use the highest water pressure possible to force the clog out. If the clog doesn’t budge, go to step three.
  3. Insert a plumbing snake into the top of the downspout to break up the clog. This may take time and effort. Be careful not to use too much force or you may damage the downspout. 

Sometimes firmly tapping on the sides of the downspouts while there is water in it can help move the clog along. However, keep in mind that most downspouts are aluminum and easily dented. If all else fails, you may need to disassemble your downspout to find and remove the clog. Most often clogs end up at the bends.

Gutter Guard Cleaning Shouldn’t Be Necessary Either

Gutter guard cleaning shouldn’t be necessary if you have the right gutter guards. Mesh screens and in-gutter solutions can become easily clogged. Only the patented nose-forward design of Gutter Helmet® prevents debris from settling on the rain gutter shields, so you’ll never need to clean your gutters or gutter covers and you’ll certainly never have clogged downspouts. If you’re looking for a permanent solution for your gutters, call (800) 824-3772 or chat with a representative who can connect you with your local Gutter Helmet installer.