Unclogging your rain gutters in a timely manner is vital to preventing damage to your home’s exterior, landscaping, and even foundation. At least twice per year, you should inspect and clear your gutters of any debris, such as leaves and twigs.
How to spot a clogged gutter:
When it’s raining, look for these signs:
- Water is spilling over the edges of the gutter.
- Water is spraying from the seams and joints in the gutter.
- Water is not flowing out of the bottom of downspouts.
When it’s not raining, look for these signs:
- The ground directly below the gutter is eroded.
- The paint on siding or house fascia is peeling.
- The siding beneath the gutter is damp or dirty.
- The gutters are dropping down from the fascia (most likely from excess weight).
Where is the gutter clogged?
Three likely spots where the gutter could be clogged are:
- The downspout cage – this is a wire strainer that filters out debris and is located where the downspout intersects the gutter. If this item is bent or damaged, this could be causing a clog.
- Gutter hangers and/or spikes – sometimes these can dislodge from the fascia and fall into the gutter. These hangers and spokes can catch leaves and twigs, causing clogs.
- Downspout elbows and seams – there could be debris trapped here. Tap on the outside and listen for a dull thud to figure out where the clog is. If you have downspouts that are below ground level, remember to inspect these as well.
How to Unclog a Gutter
Once you’ve identified where the clog has occurred, here’s how to handle it:
If the clog is at the downspout cage:
- Remove the cage and clean it.
- Clear all the debris in the gutter.
- Replace the cage into the downspout.
If the cage is damaged or missing, buy a replacement screen for the cage. (These are very inexpensive.)
If the clog is caused by loose hangers or spikes:
- Remove the clog from the gutter
- Reposition or replace the hangers or spikes
If the clog is at an elbow or seam, and you can reach it:
1. Use a stick, plumbing snake, or pressure washer to free up the clogged area.
If the clog is below-grade, it may require some excavating. According to Inspectapedia, tell tale signs of a below-grade clog are:
- Soil visible around the top of the buried drain line
- Water flowing out over the top of the buried drain line during heavy rain
- Water stains, moisture, leaks, or actual water entry inside the building originating near the buried drain line
- Gutters overflowing from above.
If you see any of these signs and think this may be where your clog is located, try the following easy fixes before you start digging:
- Using a plumbing snake, remove the downspout where it meets the ground and clear the clog.
- Place a water hose into the underground section of the spout, and the water pressure may eject the clog.
If you have further gutter questions or would like a full inspection, the Gutterman of TN can provide a free evaluation! Call us at 615-678-7454 or contact us for a free gutter evaluation.