Fix A Leaking Downspout Gutter

Fix An Overflowing Downspout Gutter

The gutters on your home have one purpose only: to provide a path for excess water to drain. When the gutter system fails and water overflows the downspout gutter, the results can cause hundreds or thousands of dollars in water damage to the roof, walls and foundation of your home. In many cases an overflowing downspout gutter is something that a homeowner can easily fix without seeking professional help. Knowing how to fix your gutters without a handyman will save you money on repairs while also giving you the feeling of a job well done.

Diagnose the Problem

An overflowing downspout gutter is a symptom of a larger problem. Identifying the cause is the first step to repairing your gutters. Common potential problems include:

  • Clogs: A clog in the downspout gutter or along the gutter itself can cause the water to backup and overflow.
  • Sagging Gutters: A sagging downspout gutter will cause the water to pool along the length of the gutter without ever reaching the downspout.
  • Inadequate Gutter Coverage: If your gutters don’t run the entire length of your home, or if they’re not large enough to hold all the rain sliding down the roof, then an overflow of water at the downspout gutter, or elsewhere in the gutter system, is inevitable.

Identifying which problem is causing the overflow can be tricky. A look inside your gutters may reveal an obvious clog. If no clog is apparent, try filling the downspout with water from a hose to see if it backs up. To check for a sag in the gutters, use a level. If there’s no apparent cause for the overflow, consult with a contractor to find out if your gutter coverage is inadequate for your needs.

Repairing a Sag

To repair a sag in the gutters, you’ll need to replace the old gutter hangers or add extra gutter hangers if your current number of hangers is inadequate. To hang a gutter hanger, do the following:

  1. Attach the hanger over the edges of the gutter.
  2. Use a drill to drive the screws through the back of the hanger and into the wood behind the gutter. For extra strength, drill the screws into the rafters. You can find the rafters by locating the nail heads in the wood.

Hangers should be spaced about 3 feet apart.

Clearing a Clog

If you’ve determined that a clog inside the gutters is the source of the problem, use a hand shovel to dig it out. Remember to wear gloves during this process. If the clog is inside the downspout, follow this procedure:

  1. Insert a plumber’s auger into the downspout from the top.
  2. Crank the auger until it reaches and penetrates the clog.
  3. Retract the auger.
  4. Spray a strong jet of water into the downspout to finishing clearing it out.

If your downspout leads into a pipe in the ground, there could be a clog in the underground portion of the pipe. If this is the case, contact a plumber for professional drain clearing services. Residents of the Pittsburgh area can contact Terry’s Plumbing. Clearing drains and fixing problems around the house is a passion of ours, so we’d love to help.

Resources and Other Options

There are several websites online that have useful step-by-step tutorials that can help you fix your gutters.

Here’s a helpful video that shows you how to repair sagging gutters:

And here’s a helpful video that shows you how to clear a downspout clog:

If your gutters aren’t sagging, and if there seems to be no clog in the system, then it could be that your gutters just aren’t large enough to handle the amount of rain falling on your house. If this is the case, contact a certified contractor who has experience with gutter installation.

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