The Ultimate Guide to Downspouts

White DownspoutDownspouts are an important part of the gutter system, but they often don’t receive as much attention as the gutters themselves. That’s why we thought we’d devote this blog post to giving you a sort of “downspout Bible” that you can use to make sure these vital water shedding systems are properly cared for.

Where should downspouts be placed, and how many should there be?

Many homes have just one downspout, but in reality there should often be more of them. You should have a downspout for every 20 feet of gutter. This allows the gutters to drain enough. Beyond the 20 foot rule it doesn’t really matter where they come down from the primary gutter system, just so long as they are installed professionally and held firmly in place.

Usually your gutter installation professional will handle downspout placements, but it might be good to step outside to take a count. If you don’t have enough downspouts right now then this may be a sign it’s time to get a new gutter installation–your original gutters were not installed properly.

Are decorative downspouts okay?

Most decorative downspouts are not up to the challenge of handling central Florida’s torrential rains. If you’ve come here from some other part of the country that gets a whole lot less rain they may be okay.

But for those of us in Ocala, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and the rest of the Tampa Bay Metro area, the cute downspouts and pretty drain chains must remain little more than a pretty picture on Pinterest. The rain chains are especially problematic as they will leave rain pooling around your foundation, which is exactly what you do not want.

We also covered cute, decorative downspouts in this post.

When do I need to extend my downspouts?

If you notice water pooling around your home and everything else is right with your gutters then it may be time to think about extending your downspouts. There are a couple of different ways you can do this.

One way is to use a splash block. That’s the little concrete tray that people place under downspouts. It gives the water an additional guide, sending it farther from the house.

Finally, you can just add a full length of downspout pipe to the existing downspout.

You can also extend the downspouts by attaching a new length of downspout pipe–though this won’t work for all gutters. You won’t want to do it to a seamless aluminum gutter, for example, since they’re custom made for your home. On the other hand, custom-made gutters typically won’t have this problem.

A full, recessed downspout drainage system is another option.

How do you clean and maintain your downspouts?

Cleaning your downspouts should be a regular part of cleaning your gutter system. Often, you can just run water through them to unclog them, but sometimes more drastic measures are called for…usually a plumber’s snake, inserted into the downspout to dig out the clog. If you can’t get it on your own then it’s time to call the professionals–you can’t afford not to attend to this problem as a dirty downspout is just as bad as dirty gutters. It will result in a serious backlog which ultimately sends water cascading over the sides of the gutters and back to the side of the house.

We included more details on this in the blog post: How to Clean Your Gutters.

So how are your downspouts doing? For that matter, how do you feel your entire gutter system is performing? If you live in central Florida and you don’t feel as though your gutter and downspout system is performing properly, just call us, the professionals at Rain Control Aluminum of Central Florida. We’ll be happy to swing by and give you a free estimate.

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