buried gutter storm drain pipe damage

Downspout Drains Underground, Pipe Clogs

Performing “do it yourself” home repairs, problem solving, and project prioritization are key traits needed for financial survival these days.    Most of us can not afford to hire a contractor every time the gutter overflows.  Along with the pandemic and the Corona virus, has come an increased focus on residential repairs and home improvement.   The list of  DIY home repairs is always too long, with only the most important visible and useful projects gaining real traction.  Unfortunately, in order to avoid future predictable painful home repair expenses, sometimes we must interrupt the flow of fun projects with a dull boring preventive repair.   Sure, sometimes storms happen and things break requiring immediate surprise replacement, so we do need to be able to “roll with it”, but what about the upcoming home maintenance problems that  you can actually predict will eventually come due?  Ignorance is bliss, but not if your unprotected rain gutter and downspout drains undergrounds feeding dirty drainage water and leaves into a concealed buried underground storm drain.

My Downspout Drains Underground

Perhaps you recently purchased a new home and just noticed that all of the gutter’s downspouts actually enter the ground; or rather, you have lived there for years and other major home improvement projects have taken priority, but if your dirty rain water downspout drains underground, you will want to begin to study various gutter solutions to avoid a large and painful future expense.   When the buried pipe, storm drain,  drainage pit or underground downspout eventually clogs, it may need replacement. Simply hiring a pipe rooter contractor to just attempt to eliminate an underground drain clog, by running a  “snake” to clear the underground drain pipe, can be costly.    Underground drainage pipes, or drainage pipes that are otherwise “concealed”, are a quality landscape feature, so you will want to preserve that rain storm water control and functionality.  You may be asking yourself

  1. My downspout drains underground; Why?
  2. Where does my underground drainage  lead?
  3. Were my underground drain drainage pipes installed properly?
  4. Can I clean out or maintain my underground drainage pipes somehow? 
  5. How would I ever fix an underground downspout?
  6. How do I stop my underground storm drains from clogging?
  7. What happens to the leaves that enter my underground drain pipe.

In some circumstances  the drainage water originates from the roof and gutters, while in others it may flow into a driveway drain, garage drain or trench drain.  In all cases, the storm water carries damaging and potentially clogging dirt, leaves, twigs, and debris, therefore it is important that we manage our underground drainage systems in a way that provides for simple minor regular cleaning, in order to avoid the huge expense caused by an underground pipe clog and overflow; or basement flood.  Whether buried underground, built into a wall, or even feeding a sump pump; the point is that clearing or repairing pipe clogs in a concealed or underground pipe is far more difficult and way more expensive than that of an exposed pipe or downspout, therefore it must be prioritized differently.  Exposed gutter downspouts and leader pipes are easily repaired or cleared;  while buried or enclosed underground storm drain pipes are not easily repaired and are therefore more important.

Expert at My Own Underground Drainage:

Homeowners do not need to become experts on all things drainage, however by paying attention and beginning the education process, it doesn't take too much effort to become an expert at your own underground drainage.  Study and observe your entire gutter and storm drainage system during a heavy rainstorm, learn where the storm water ends up, search your landscape for storm pipe clean-outs useful to maintain the pipe, but by all means begin to guard the twigs, debris and leaves from entering the underground drainage system.  When a downspout drains underground, it is bot a blessing and a curse.

An Underground Drainage Solution

The first D.I.Y. solution most homeowners typically consider, is the installation of a small wire basket downspout strainer at the top of each gutter outlet.   These downspout strainers will filter the leaves, however each strainer is very small in surface area.  Since the gutter is pitched and flowing towards it, the gutter strainer is forced to handle far too much roof water volume and the large amount of leaves and tree detritus which it carries.  Therefore these small wire basket downspout solutions are just a stop-gap measure, because they clog much too frequently and often cause the gutter to overflow. Those relying on gutter downspout wire basket strainers, are often forced to get out the ladder weekly as these small strainer devices get covered with leaves quickly.  In order to keep your rain water flowing with far less gutter maintenance work, and also keep debris out of underground drain pipes,  just fill the entire gutter with GutterBrush simple brush gutter guard. Run the three foot lengths of gutter brushes directly over the outlet tubes, and leave it in place.  The rain water flows between the bristles while the brush keeps debris out and guards the gutter and underground drainage from clogging.  This simple leaf guard solution requires no tools, no fasteners, keeps pipes clear and can be used in driveway and garage trench drains too.  GutterBrush acts as a gutter leaf filter, a drainage debris filter, and is a maintainable full length gutter strainer all in one; with plenty of surface area to avoid clogs and eliminate visits with the ladder.

If your downspout drains underground, continue to study and learn all about your storm drainage systems and the maintenance necessary to keep you out of trouble. You don't need to be a “Jack of All Trades” in order to master your properties' particular above ground or underground drainage needs and understand the logical maintenance that must be performed regularly to keep life rolling without periodic bad weather crises. Observe carefully and stay on your toes, because tree leaf growth is exponential so the amount of leaves dropped in your rain gutters will increase annually.  With GutterBrush leaf guard, there are no tools or fasteners required, therefore at some time in the future you will easily be able to remove, clean, and reinstall the brushes freshly renewed in order to stay ahead of the game and avoid future gutter maintenance problems.  Ignoring drainage maintenance can cause incredibly expensive surprises while planning for simple easy drainage maintenance with a logical solution anyone can install or maintain, will keep your underground drain pipes and your life flowing smoothly without calamity.

The Author, Alex O’Hanley, has 25 years of construction experience in the North East USA climate.

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