Even conscientious homeowners who pay attention to their gutter system sometimes miss downspout problems. They may not know how to assess downspouts or realize how important these features are. The gutter system doesn't work well without high-functioning downspouts, so look for these four signs that your downspouts may need help.
1. Your Downspouts Don't Have Extensions
Downspouts shouldn't be dumping the water from your roof directly at the base of your house. If your downspouts are doing this, then they're completely failing at one of their main functions, which is to keep the roof runoff from causing foundation problems. The wetter the soil near your foundation, the more pressure the foundation wall is under.
Even if you aren't seeing foundation problems yet, you need to look into getting downspout extensions that remove water so it's at least five feet away from the house. Paying for downspout extensions is a very small investment compared to the amount of money you'll need to spend on repairs if you end up with a cracked and collapsing foundation.
If you don't like how extensions make your yard look, then you can have them installed underground instead. This is more expensive initially but pays for itself in convenience.
2. Your Downspouts Are Few and Far Between
Take a quick look at your house from the outside. If the downspouts are more than 20 feet apart, you may not have enough of them. This is just a generalized estimate - to make sure you have enough downspouts you'll need to calculate the size of your downspouts and the size of the roof section that the downspout connects to.
For example, if your downspouts are the larger three-by-four-inch type, then they'll have a higher draining capacity than the smaller two-by-three-inch type. The larger type is typically considered able to drain at least 2,500 square feet adequately. However, if rainfall in your area tends to come in torrents, you may need higher drainage capacity.
3. Your Downspouts Keep Getting Clogged
Downspouts, just like gutters, can get full of leaves or with nests from small animals. This doesn't necessarily mean you need more downspouts, it just means you need to clear the clog and then place some type of guard over the entrance to the downspout.
If you examine your gutter system during a rainstorm and the downspouts don't seem to be performing well, then rule out blockages before you decide you need higher drainage capacity. Clearing the blockage and placing a downspout wedge may solve your problem.
4. Your Gutter Outlets Are Too Small
Even if your downspout is larger in size, it can only carry away the amount of water that can get into the downspout. If your gutters and downspouts weren't installed properly, then it's possible the gutter outlet (the hole in the gutter that lets water into the downspout) is simply undersized. This can prevent the downspouts from working at capacity.
If your downspouts have this issue, then you should know you have a few options. For example, you can install more downspouts, although that's not necessary. You can also have your gutter installation expert enlarge your gutter outlets, or even install specialized gutter outlets that help prevent clogging. Any of these options can help water make its way out of the gutters more quickly and prevent overflow.
These four signs will help you assess your gutter system for downspout problems. If you notice any of these problems, then get in touch with a gutter installation expert such as Roland's Roofing Co. We'll be glad to help install downspout wedges , downspout extensions , or more downspouts. We also offer above ground and underground installation services. Call us to learn more.