4 reasons your gutter downspouts are not working

An inadequate number will result in overflowing gutters, which can cause rainwater to end up in your basement, says Lindus. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Patricia M. of Lake Worth, Fla.)

An inadequate number will result in overflowing gutters, which can cause rainwater to end up in your basement, says Lindus. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Patricia M. of Lake Worth, Fla.)

Pop quiz: Your gutters’ downspouts are there to:

A. Trip door to door salesmen.
B. Play part of a lawn mower slalom course.
C. Deflect water away from your home’s foundation.

All joking aside, your gutters’ downspouts perform a critical task in keeping your home dry. So what happens if you find that they’re not performing as they should? Here are some common reasons your gutters’ downspouts can malfunction. 

1. Clogging

If you notice water pouring over the edges of your gutters and not filtering down through your downspouts, there’s likelihood that they are clogged with organic debris such as leaves and twigs. Ignore this problem and you’ll likely soon find water in your basement because it is not being redirected away from your home. 

2. Downspouts are too small

When it comes to downspouts, bigger is better. The larger your downspouts are, the better they are able to dispel water away from the home. Having downspouts that are too small increases the risk of clogging from organic debris that becomes lodged in them.

3. Downspouts are too short

The purpose of downspouts is to deflect water away from your home. This is not able to happen if they aren’t long enough, as too short of downspouts can cause rainwater to end up in your basement. We recommend having downspouts with either a permanent attached extension or hinge kickers, which allow you to fold up downspouts when performing maintenance on your yard. 

Underground drainpipes with a pop-up system in the lawn allows homeowners to divert water even further from their home’s foundation without having to be inconvenienced by overly long downspouts that are unsafe and unsightly. Use of this type of system also can prevent soil erosion close to your home. 

4. Not enough downspouts

It’s vital that enough downspouts are installed to handle the amount of anticipated runoff. An inadequate number will result in overflowing gutters, which can cause rainwater to end up in your basement. 

About this Experts Contributor: Andy Lindus is the COO of Lindus Construction/Midwest LeafGuard, a multi-generational full service construction company in the Twin Cities area.  Established in 1979, Lindus Construction has grown from a two-person company located in western Wisconsin to a multi-state operation, receiving an Angie’s List Super Service Award in 2013. Follow this contributor on Twitter @LindusCon.

As of April 23, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.


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4 causes of overflowing rain gutters

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Clogged gutters can leave water with nowhere to go, leading to damage to your home’s foundation, fascia and siding and possible mold growth, says Lindus. (Photo courtesy of Lindus Construction)
Clogged gutters can leave water with nowhere to go, leading to damage to your home’s foundation, fascia and siding and possible mold growth, says Lindus. (Photo courtesy of Lindus Construction)

There are numerous ways that gutters can become clogged and identifying these reasons can allow you to prevent this frustrating occurrence in the future.

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