Blocked Gutter Downpipe Complete Guide

In this article will talk about blocked gutter downpipe cleaning but first what is your gutter downpipe. The downpipe is the pipe that runs from the guttering down to the ground. It takes away the water from the guttering down to the drain below If this downpipe becomes blocked, then the water is not able to be taken away from the guttering and can cause problems.

Why is it important to keep your downpipe clean?

Water could back up and prevent flow from your guttering.  If water can’t be taken away from your gutter, then it could go to one of three places. 

  1. It could sit in the gutter and cause corrosion to rubber seals in the gutter which will eventually need replacing. 
  1. It could overflow to the outside of the gutter causing damp on the outside wall at the point where where water splashes back onto the wall from the ground. 
  1. It could overflow to the inside of the property, bridging the cavity and causing damp in the upstairs rooms of the house.

 Blocked gutters could cause serious damage and Insurance companies may not pay out.

Insurance companies often won’t pay out for any damage caused by water from guttering. This is because they say the problem was due to lack of maintenance of the guttering.

How to prevent a blockage in your downpipe?

The best way to prevent a blockage in your downpipe is with regular maintenance, keeping leaves and debris from accumulating in your guttering will prevent that same debris from falling down the downpipe causing a blockage.

Some people suggest the use of a gutter guard. This is a small cage that goes in the guttering or above the downpipe to prevent blockages. However, my experience is that the gutter guards don’t stay in place. Birds still are able to drop moss etc, through the gutter guards and all the gutter guard does is prevent easy maintenance, the small cage on top of the downpipe 

often becomes dislodged, and can cause other blockages to mount up in the gutter itself.  At Dirty Marks cleaning services we have even had customers ask us to remove gutter guards that they have previously had fitted.

Another great way to prevent blocked downpipes is to ensure that your gutter system is set up correctly. We have seen before blockages where round downpipes are fitted into square downpipes. This can leave space for debris to get in and for weeds to grow.

Common causes of blocked gutter downpipes

Many things can cause blockages in your gutter downpipe. This can be tennis balls that have sat in the top of the downpipe, broken tiles or mortar from the roof or debris that tends to collect in the angled parts of the downpipe, causing a blockage. We have even seen blockages caused by fireworks that have fallen onto the roof down onto the gutter and into the downpipe causing a blockage. Another common reason for downpipes to become blocked is an accumulation of debris, such as leaves at the bottom of the downpipe, at the point that it meets the drain. This is easy to keep clear and easy to visually identify.

How will I know if I have a blocked downpipe?

You will know if you have a problem with your gutters by the fact that water will come over the top of the guttering or could cause damp in upstairs rooms. You may know that you have a problem with your downpipe if you can see physical signs such as weeds growing out of the top of the downpipe. If however you see no signs of a blockage. This is no guarantee that the downpipe isn’t blocked. The best thing to do is to have regular inspections performed by a gutter cleaning company such as Dirty Marks Cleaning Services or to have your gutters regularly, cleaned out, which can be more cost-effective than a survey.

How professionals solve a blocked gutter downpipe

Most professional companies now use a Guttervac system such as sky Vac. This is a vacuum cleaner with a long pole that reaches into the top of the downpipe and can suck up to several inches into the top of the downpipe. The vacuum can also be put onto below so that you can hear air flowing down the gutter, so you know that it is clear.  Ultimately, most gutter cleaning company is also clean windows so have the facility to pump water up to the roof to test the gutter and the downpipe for blockages.

Conclusion on blocked got a downpipes

As you have now learnt, downpipes are very important to keep clear so that water can flow away from the guttering in the way that it was intended.  Blockages from debris leaves tennis balls fireworks are many other things can cause a blockage in the guttering and it is important to regular inspect the gutter or clean the gutter to ensure that you don’t end up with a large bill from damage caused by water ingress.

Frequently asked questions

Can I unblock the downpipe myself?

Depending on your ability, it is possible to unblock the gutter yourself depending on the tools you that you have at your disposal. You should consider your own health and safety, particularly if you are climbing ladders and are inexperienced in unblocking gutter downpipes as your concentration may be focused on unblocking the gutter downpipe not on your own safety.

Is there any chemical that I can use to unblock my blocked gutter downpipe?

I am not aware of any chemical that will easily unblock a gutter downpipe.Unlike with a blocked sink, where chemicals can break down small blockages by sitting in the you bend, your downpipe is likely to have much larger blockages such as tennis balls, tiles or other large debris that will not be broken down by chemicals.

I have water coming over the top of my guttering, is it’s likely that my downpipe is blocked?

We often see gutters that are blocked, however, it is rare to see a downpipe blocked other than at the top where it meets the guttering therefore most issues can be sorted with a professional Guttervac system

Could I buy my own Guttervac to unblock my downpipe?

Guttervac’s are a professional tool and therefore very expensive. It is likely that paying a professional to unblock your downpipe will only cost a fraction of the machine, meaning that the machine may take several years to pay for itself.

Can all blockages be removed from a downpipe

Like with anything if the problem has been left too long and the blockage is too bad then it is possible that you will need to replace the downpipe instead of clean it. This can be the case if you have a lot of weeds with very long roots in your gutter.

The best way to prevent it getting this bad is with regular cleaning and maintenance

How often should I clean my gutters?

This will depend on many things, including the direction that your home faces, the level of trees, and wildlife and other factors.It is true to say that a downpipe could become blocked very soon after being fitted, if something falls into the top of the downpipe however, we recommend that for most homes once per year should be ample.

If you need help with a blocked gutter downpipe and you live in the West Midlands then please contact Dirty Marks Cleaning Services on (01384) 660069.