Poor drainage puts your home at risk for severe water damage, including basement or crawl space dampness and structural deterioration. Essentially, it is worth investing in the proper installation and maintenance of downspouts and extensions to combat water-related damage to your roof, basement or crawl space, and landscape.
What Is a Downspout?
A downspout is a long, lightweight pipe that extends from the gutters to the ground. Its main function is to collect rainwater water from the gutter and channel it out and away from the base of your foundation in a controlled manner. Where two gutters meet, a small hole is created so that water can drain through. A connecting piece is inserted and tightly sealed to bridge together the gutter and the top of the downspout. Downspouts are often found at the corners of your home where gutters meet. But they can be at any point in your home that is low.
How They Work
As you already know, rainwater accumulates on your home’s roof and runs down into the gutters. The gutters collect all this water and drain it away from your home’s foundation with the help of downspouts. The vertical positioning of downspouts allows gravity to move water away from your foundation. Downspouts usually have a curve at the bottom to help push water out more efficiently.
How Many Downspouts Do I Need?
A good rule of thumb is that one downspout should not drain more than 35 feet of gutter. But more may be necessary depending on the local weather, the design of the gutter system, and the size of the drainage area.
Problems with Downspouts
Your downspout can be problematic when it is missing a part. Therefore, it is crucial to inspect your downspout every so often to confirm that all parts are present.
Another common problem is that debris tends to collect in the downspout, causing a blockage. If you notice water collecting or overflowing, you may have a blockage. Take apart the top and bottom pieces of the downspout and clear out any debris trapped in there.
If water is still pooling and there is no blockage from debris, the problem could be the gutters. Check your gutters for blockage and clear them to ensure proper flow of water.
Potential Issues with Defective Downspouts
A downspout system that is not efficiently draining water away from your house can lead to many issues including:
Leaky Basement or Crawl Space
If the downspout does not drain water away, it pools around the perimeter of your foundation. This water can seep through cracks in the foundation walls into your basement or crawl space. To address this, make sure to extend the downspouts at least 10 feet away from your home. These extension lines also can be placed in the ground. Failing to address this can lead to musty smells, mold growth, and structural damage in your basement.
Another common issue with faulty downspouts is that they cause soil erosion. When downspouts do not drain rainwater away from the foundation, water starts pooling in one place especially if there is not a slope to your yard. Because it is sitting in the same place, this water may start eroding your yard.
Soil erosion can also cause your foundation to settle, leading to cracks in the walls and uneven floors. You may also notice frequent basement or crawl space flooding, musty smells, and rotting siding on your property. Soil erosion also causes the puddling of water, which may drown your plants and landscaping.
Downspout Maintenance and Protection
Homeowners in Colorado need to invest in regular downspout inspection and maintenance twice a year. These inspections help spot leaks and drainage problems before they have a chance to worsen and cause damage to your home.
To prevent downspout drainage issues, consider installing splash blocks and downspout extensions. Gutter covers also effectively protect your downspouts from clogging. They make your gutters and downspouts less vulnerable to clogs by keeping leaves, and debris out without blocking the flow of water.
Maintaining your downspouts can help prevent future problems. But that’s not enough. You need to invest in modern drainage systems to protect your basement or crawl space from water damage. At Complete Basement Systems, we offer interior drainage systems, sump pumps, and other waterproofing solutions all designed to keep your basement or crawl space dry. Contact us to request a free, no-obligation basement waterproofing inspection and quote today!