The Low Down on Spouts for Your Gutters

Down spouts are the parts of your eavestrough system that point down to below and empty your gutters, well hopefully of water. You need sufficient spouts for your gutter system to cope with heavy rain, or else the flow will back up and your eavestroughs will overflow.

Factors to Consider When Planning Spouts for Your Gutters

There are two factors to remember when specifying down spouts. The first is the diameter of the down pipes. While the second is the run of trough discharging into them.

1… The diameter of the downspouts is a fairly simple decision. The larger the diameter the safer you are (although you probably won’t want to go greater than five inches for aesthetic reasons).

2… The spacing of the down pipes is a little more complicated. That’s because the extent of any overflow is cumulative and can become a mini-Niagara flooding your foundations.

As a general rule of thumb, downspouts should not be more than thirty feet apart. But you might be able to stretch to forty feet if you can tolerate an occasional overflow.

How to Unclog Blocked Eavestrough Down Spouts

Leaves and other wind-blown debris accumulate gradually in eavestroughs ‘up there’ without us noticing. This turns into the equivalent of potting soil as it rots, and becomes sticky sludge when it becomes wet.

This mulch can block the opening to a downspout, or accumulate in the upper elbow where the pipe returns from the fascia to the building. Having clogged down spouts from your gutters is a frustrating problem, especially if we leave it until the rain is pouring down.

It’s far better to do preventative maintenance before rain season arrives:

1… Remove any fittings from the delivery end of a garden hose. Then gently work the soft pliable end into the shoe at the bottom of the gutter. And all the way up you until you feel resistance as you encounter the upper elbow.

2… Have an assistant hold the hose in position while you apply maximum water pressure. Jiggle the hose until you are rewarded by a flow of ‘potting soil’ and water. You may need to repeat this when the first rains come.

What to Do If This Does Not Clear the Spouts for Your Gutters

Assuming you know what you are doing, you may like to send a ‘plumber’s snake’ up the down pipe, or down from the top. Do this with caution, especially when using an electrical one that could damage the down pipe, if you misdirect it.

This post comes to you with compliments of Valiant Exteriors, Calgary’s one-stop shop for your shingle roof, eavestrough and siding requirements. Please call us on (403) 829-1661 if you would like to tap into independent advice.


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Eavestrough and Down Spout Components: Image Stilfehler BY CC 4.0

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