What is a downspout?
A downspout is a pipe that carries rainwater off the roof. It is connected to a gutter and then extends well beyond the foundation of your house. Since this pipe runs over bare ground, it will eventually get clogged with leaves and dirt. You can’t see it from above, but when you look at it from the ground, you’ll see leaves and other debris that has accumulated there.
This is why you need to clean it regularly. A gutter system can handle leaves and dirt, but only as long as those things don’t accumulate in the downspout. Otherwise, you’ll have problems with overflow. The water will flow out of the pipe too fast for your gutter to catch it all. The gutter will fill up and then overflow onto the roof, causing damage to your shingles.
Why is a downspout important?
If you have gutters, your home should have a downspout. Without this pipe, water can’t flow away from the structure where it fell. Instead of going straight into the ground, it will start to run back towards the foundation. It may pool up next to your home and cause some damage.
Turning your downspout into a rain garden is a great way to encourage nature to absorb water that would otherwise have nowhere to go. Plant some flowers or shrubs around this area so that water has a place to pool up without causing any harm.
This is not an option in all areas of the country, so check to see if you are one of those fortunate enough to be able to do this before you place your rain garden.
How does a downspout work?
The water flows through your gutter and then out the pipe that is connected to your roof. The connection between the two should be at an angle so that water can enter easily but not back up. It should also have enough holes in it for most of the dirt and debris to go straight into your gutter, instead of sticking in the downspout and causing problems.
In addition to keeping your gutters clean, the holes in your downspout will prevent ice from forming at the bottom. This is because it allows water to come out and melt any frost that has formed there, instead of everything freezing up inside.
This can save you a lot of damage during the winter, especially if you live in an area where snow builds up against your home. If your downspout doesn’t have holes in it, the weight of the snow may cause water to back up into your gutter system. This can also freeze and damage your roof in addition to causing a lot of mess inside your home.
When should you replace your downspout?
The answer is simple – as soon as you see that it’s not working properly. If water backs up inside it or if your gutter is overflowing, you need to replace the downspout right away. Otherwise, things are only going to get worse over time.
The simplest way to know if there is a problem with your downspout is to look at it from the ground. If you notice a lot of dirt and debris inside it, or if it’s become very curved, then you should consider replacing it right away. Hire a professional to do this for you so that they can replace both the pipe and the connection to your gutter at the same time. This way, water will continue to flow out of the pipe – and into your gutter – without backing up.
What are the different types of downspouts?
There are two main types of downspouts, and they will usually depend on where you live. If your property has a lot of space behind it or if there is bare ground extending back to the gutter system, then you may want a curbside downspout. They allow you to get rid of the water where it fell from. The advantage is that you don’t have to deal with a lot of dirt and debris since nothing builds up in the downspout.
This is a great option if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow buildup because it will allow ice and snow to melt before it reaches the gutter. You have to be careful, though, because debris and dirt may still build up in front of the downspout. This can leave your home vulnerable to flooding if you get a really bad storm or if your downspout gets detached from the force of water.
To solve this problem, an in-ground downspout is a great option. They will take the water from your gutter and lead it directly into the ground. In some areas, they aren’t allowed due to erosion or other environmental concerns.
No matter what type of downspout you have, it’s important that you keep it free and clear from debris so that water can flow out easily. Otherwise, you are just going to end up with a big mess all over your property.
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How to install a downspout on the existing gutter
You may have noticed that downspouts are not installed on your house during the construction process. It is up to you as the homeowner to install one or more of these after the home is built. The good news is that it’s not hard at all and usually doesn’t take long either. Let me show you how!
Find a downspout that is the same size as your existing gutter
Here, you can see the downspout being installed. You will notice that we have the end of the pipe sticking up higher than the house. This is for a couple of reasons. It helps to keep leaves and other debris from getting into your gutter by extending above it. Also, this gives us a place where we can attach a rain barrel or something similar when the time comes.
Cut the downspout to match the length of your existing gutter
At this point, we have the downspout installed along one side of the house. The next step is to cut it to match in length with your gutter. This will ensure that there is a connection at the end and along as much of the length as possible. You can also save yourself a step later by doing this now and maybe even add some elbow joints where you need them to add extra strength.
Downspout elbows can help keep the water flowing from the downspout to the gutter properly
If you notice in this image, we are using elbow joints on the downspouts. This helps us assure that the water flows correctly into our gutter. It is not hard at all to connect these together when required, but it does add a couple of minutes to the installation process.
Screw-in brackets or clamps to hold it in place
At this point, the downspout is installed and attached to the gutter. The next step is to add some other hardware or clamps to hold it in place. In a standard installation process, you can use screw-in brackets at each location where the gutter meets the wall of your house. To keep from scaring up your wall with brackets, you can use clamps to hold the downspout in place.
At this point, your gutter installation is complete and your rainwater collection system will work just fine!
When you are installing a downspout on an existing gutter, it is easy to use a saw or welder to make the connection. You only need to watch out for that last clip so that you do not accidentally cut it and then have water pooling in your yard! If you follow these simple instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems with completing this project.
Finally, seal up any gaps with silicone caulk
These downspouts are installed on the very first part of your rainwater collection system. However, just because we don’t want any water to leak out doesn’t mean that it won’t! Silicone caulk is strong and flexible enough to fill most gaps and joints in a gutter installation. Also, it dries up completely clear which is an added bonus over the white caulking that most people use. A small tube of caulk can last you a lifetime, but it might take a few years and many elbows to get through all your downspouts!
Sheathing can be added to the bottom of your downspouts for extra strength
Our last bit of advice is to add some sort of sheathing to the bottom of your downspouts. This will provide additional strength and help prevent rusting. It only takes a few minutes and an extra effort, but it could mean years without replacement or repair on your rainwater collection system.