January 19, 2021 4 min read

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 spouting 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 you have unprotected rain gutters feeding dirty drainage water and leaves into concealed buried ground storm drainage pipes.

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 enters in-ground drain pipes, you will want to begin to study the issue to avoid a large and painful future expense.   When the buried pipe or drainage pit eventually clogs, it may need replacement. Simply hiring a pipe rooter contractor to just attempt to eliminate a blockage by running a  “snake” to clear a clogged drain pipe, can be costly.    Drainage pipes that flow underground, or are otherwise “concealed”, are a quality landscape feature, so you will want to preserve that rain water control and functionality.  You may be asking yourself

  1. Why do my downspouts and leader pipes enter the ground?
  2. Where do my in ground drainage pipes lead?
  3. Were my buried drainage pipes originally installed properly?
  4. Can I clean out or maintain my concealed ground drainage pipes somehow? 
  5. How would I ever fix a drainage pipe clog that's buried in the dirt?
  6. How do I stop my ground drainage pipes from clogging?
  7. What happens to the rain, dirt, leaves and debris that enters my buried drain pipes.

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 rain water carries damaging and potentially clogging dirt, leaves, twigs, and debris, therefore it is important that we manage our drainage systems in a way that provides for simple minor regular maintenance, in order to avoid the huge expense caused by a pipe blockage 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 pipe is far more difficult and way more expensive than that of an exposed pipe, therefore it must be prioritized differently.  Exposed gutter downspouts and leader pipes are easily repaired or cleared  while buried or enclosed storm drain pipes are not and are therefore more important.

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 atyour own drainage.  Study and observeyourentire drainage system during a heavy rainstorm, learn where the storm water ends up, search your landscape for pipe “clean-outs” useful to maintain the pipe, but by all means begin to guard the twigs, debris and leaves from entering the ground drainage system.

The first D.I.Y. solution most homeowners typically consider, is the installation of a small wire basket strainer at the top of each drain pipe.   These gutter 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 gutter guard solutions are just a stop-gap measure, because they clog much too frequently and often cause the gutter to pour over. Those relying on gutter outlet strainers are often forced to get out the ladder weekly as these small devices get covered with leaves quickly.  In order to keep your water flowing with far less maintenance work, and also keep debris out of buried ground drainage 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 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.

Continue to study and learn all aboutyourstorm 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 masteryour properties' particular above ground or in ground 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 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 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.

Alex O'Hanley
Alex O'Hanley

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