Gutter Overflow caused by Gutter Strainer

Gutter Overflow caused by Gutter Strainer

A customer called me and explained how much he hates gutter strainers.  He explained how he purchased his house a few years ago and one of the most aggravating factors is not the work and the home maintenance required, but the most aggravating factor of being a young homeowner is the fact that at the same spot the gutter frequently keeps overflowing and pouring over.  It is very aggravating because as soon as he solves the problem, once again it happens again so  each time he has to go to the back yard,  grab his ladder, set up the ladder,  shim the foot of the ladder to make sure it is stable, climb the ladder, and each time he reaches the top of the ladder the results are the same. 

Aggravation with Gutter Strainer Overflow

Each time the gutter overflows and pours over,  once he reaches the top of the ladder he peers over the edge of the gutter and sees that there is hardly any debris in the gutter but that small amount of debris and even pollen is huddled around the outlet strainer crowing it and not allowing water to pass through into the downspout.   It is incredibly aggravating because it is a very small amount of gutter leaves and gutter debris that is causing the clog.  Each time he simply grabs the gutter downspout protector also known as the gutter strainer or downspout strainer,  pulls it out of the outlet tube, bangs the debris out of it and reinserts the outlet tube to keep the future debris from clogging the downspout.  At first he did not realize this problem would continue to happen over and over, but now he realizes the problem is persistent and actually quite aggravating.

Gutter Strainer is a Necessary Evil causing Gutter Overflow

He explained that he hates the gutter strainer and also feared that if he removed the gutter strainer, he will have caused more problems.  The gutter strainer seems to be acting as both the villain and the savior.   The gutter outlet strainer or downspout guard is the savior because it is stopping the debris from clogging the downspout elbows and the in ground gutter drain pipes, but it is the villain because while it is solving pipe clogging, it is the cause of the repetitive gutter overflow.

How to Stop Gutter Debris from Entering the In-Ground Drainage

He realized he was between a “rock and a hard place”; darned if you do and darned if you don't.  His downspouts enter the ground and go into an in ground drainage system or an underground gravel pit of some type like a french drain, a gravel pit or drain tile.  He considered not allowing the downspouts to enter the ground drainage pipe as a solution.  The downspouts could fairly simply be altered and an elbow could be added to send the water onto the ground instead of into the in ground drainage pipe, gravel pit, trench drain or system.  However sending the water onto the ground could come back to be a problem later causing water in the basement or landscape wash-out and even ice across the driveway in the winter.  A friend allowed the downspout water to run down his driveway, and he swears that the rain water entered the cracks and softened the dirt under the asphalt driveway causing the pavement to settle and crack even more.  There are always repercussions from changing drainage and at times the change of where water flows can be an important and quite relevant catalyst of additional issues.

The in Ground Drainage System is a Nice Feature

He didn't want to eliminate the in ground drainage system whether it be a french drain or drain tile or perforated pipe set in gravel in a trench, because the underground drainage or in-ground drainage is a very nice feature for a home.   Such a drainage system adds value to the home and eliminates the nuisance of storm water running over your property.  If he were to simply allow the downspouts to “elbow” out and allow the rain water to exit on top of the soil,  such a solution would solve the issue that the downspouts enter the ground and a drainage system, but the value of the home would certainly be decreased by eliminating such a valuable and functional feature.  There's no sense getting rid of it,  you might as well use it and keep it clear.  But if he eliminates the strainer and simply allow the debris to enter the drainage system, how long will it be able to flow and function before too many leaves enter the system and decrease the flow?  If he simply allows the gutter leaves to flow into the gutter outlet and down the downspout and into the drainage system, how many years will it flow properly before he would have to get some sort of roto rooter device to unclog it.  And if it gets packed with debris, can it ever be unclogged properly  or could he be causing the need for a backhoe or excavator to have to dig up the pipe or gravel system?  If removing the strainer could cause a short term expense, say within 2 or 3 years, of $ 3,000 to have to get the pipe dug up, he wanted no part of that solution so the strainer must stay in the gutter until he finds a better way.

Gutter Overflow Keeps Happening, Need A Better Gutter Strainer

He explained that he keeps on being pacified by the fact that he just put up the ladder again and cleared off the strainer, so he should be good for a while, but the clogs and gutter pour over keeps happening more frequently.  It could be that the trees are growing faster and faster, or that it's just the season of droppings.  Its aggravating because he keeps clearing it and forgetting about it but then the pour over and garden wash out occur sooner than before.  There has got to be a better Gutter Strainer,  or at least a larger gutter strainer that can accept more debris and buy him time before having to get that ladder out again.

How to Keep Gutter Downspout Elbows From Clogging

He explained even if his leader pipes didn't enter the ground, he’d still need to keep elbows from clogging.  While the in ground drainage maintenance is an issue,  this always used to happen even before he realized that the leader pipes enter the ground.  Even before he came to that awakening that he could be causing a larger problem, he remembered that when he let the debris just enter the gutter outlet, prior to inserting the gutter strainer, the gutter downspout elbow would constantly get backed up and clogged because it seemed like the gutter leaves and debris always got gung up and clogged at the elbow; this was another source of repetitive downspout clogging resulting in a gutter overflow.  He told the story of coming home from a Sunday brunch in his good clothes and stupidly grabbing the ladder not realizing that when he started to bang on the gutter downspout where it was clogged, he caused it to shoot mud drippings and black gutter spatter onto his Sunday best shirt.  For some reason, he explained, often when he allowed the debris to enter the gutter outlet and flow down the downspout, it would always seem to get hung up, stopped up, plugged, or clogged at the upper two opposed downspout elbows at the top of the leader pipe near the gutter.  The clog never occurred at the straight portion of the downspout or at the portion of the downspout that enters the in ground drainage system.  One other time he could remember, downspout elbow clogging occurred while he was sick and he remembered sneezing and sniffling while out on the ladder clearing the downspout elbow clog with a hose and a stick.   Sometimes, in order to clear downspout elbow clogging, you have to actually remove the downspout and dismantle it in order to free up the clog and get the pipe flowing again. Of course the worst situations will occur when it is pouring out, or when you are away on holiday.  These are just some more reasons why he had to find a better gutter strainer that could accept more debris before it would affect the gutter flow, because if he removed the gutter strainer wire basket,  the downspout would clog at the elbows; or the in ground drainage system can experience a serious set-back.  He didn't want to install a gutter screen or a gutter cover because those systems are very expensive and require skill to install; he didn't want to spend a fortune installing a fine mesh only to find that when it gets dirty the  fast storm rain water can't make it through the mesh into the gutter.  The debris lays on the top of those covers and screens making a flat debris ramp that sends the rain water past the outer edge of the gutter thereby defeating the point of even having a gutter, so he explained he did not want that option.  Screens and covers restrict the gutter opening, especially after they get dirty or the leaves drop on them and stick.

The Gutter Strainer is Too Small to Stop Gutter Overflow Over Time

His conclusion was simple.  The gutter strainer was simply too small.  He needed a larger gutter strainer.  The small gutter strainer worked fine for a small amount of time.  But sure enough, once the wind blows there will be more leaves and debris flowing down the roof into the gutters so he needed a gutter strainer that could absorb more debris and still continue to flow.  So it was time for him to search for a large gutter strainer or a larger downspout guard

Large Downspout Guard is a Larger Gutter Strainer

So he pulled himself up to the Google bar and searched for a full length gutter strainer.  There are lots of products on the market so it wasn't until about the 2nd or 3rd page that he found GutterBrush.  GutterBrush sells downspout guards in both the 18” length as well as the 3 foot length so even the smaller GutterBrush downspout guards are larger and can accept far more debris while continuing to flow,  than those wire basket strainers.  So even just one 3 foot length of GutterBrush would keep the gutter and downspout flowing for far longer than a wire basket strainer, because it is so many times larger with way more surface area which will trap the debris yet still allow the water additional space to flow around the debris.  However,  there is still the issue that the remaining portion of the gutter is open and unprotected.

Stop Gutter Overflow with a Full Length Gutter Strainer

It only stands to reason that GutterBrush’s larger gutter strainer will solve clogging and avoid gutters from overflowing for a far longer period of time because it is larger and more capable based on  the physical size and properties.  But if it makes sense to use a 3 foot length of Gutterbrush over the downspouts, then it makes equally as much sense to double down and use 6 feet.  Better yet, if you are going to install 6 feet of GutterBrush, it is so easy with no fastening required so you might as well install 12 feet.  The more GutterBrush you install, the longer the duration will be before you have to get out the ladder and perform maintenance.

Gutter Overflow Protection when you Fill the Whole Gutter with GutterBrush

Of course, if 3 feet makes sense, then 6 feet is even better and 12 feet of GutterBrush slid into the gutter one after the other is even better than that!.  However the magic truly occurs when you fill the entire gutter with Gutterbrush because when you do, you now have the largest gutter strainer possible and you have also protected any areas that were previously vulnerable.   When you fill the whole gutter,  debris can n o longer clump together and flow down the gutter creating a larger dam.  Also,  the debris can no longer flow to create a larger plug that tries to exit the outlet tube and can not fit through.   These are the 2 ways gutters clog, by having a debris dam-up and also by  creating a larger plug that flows down the gutter and can not fit down the downspout so it lodges itself there and gets tighter and tighter as water attempts to filter through.  When the gutter is filled with the self fitting, fast and easy to install Gutter Brush system,  the debris that does get stuck in the bristles or in the gutter,  can no longer clump together and flow to clog,  so the gutter continues to flow.

Here’s an article recap of the important points

  • People get frustrated with wire basket gutter strainers
  • Gutter strainers or downspout guards clog too soon
  • Gutter strainers require too many visits up the ladder
  • Downspout elbows clog frequently causing the need for downspout strainer guards
  • Downspouts entering the ground, mean you can't get rid of the gutter strainers
  • Downspout guards become a necessary evil
  • Frequent gutter overflow causes a need for a better downspout strainer
  • Downspout guards are too small, not enough surface area for longevity
  • GutterBrush is a larger Gutter Strainer in 18” and 36” lengths
  •  If 3 ft. of Gutterbrush makes sense, then so does 6 ft. or 12 ft.
  • GutterBrush is a larger Gutter strainer and a better gutter strainer
  •  GutterBrush downspout guards stop overflow for longer.
  •  Fill the entire Gutter with GutterBrush to solve your clogging and maintenance problems
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