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How to Unclog A Downspout

By September 12, 2023September 24th, 2023No Comments
Clogged downspouts can be cleared with a hose or auger.

Downspouts are an essential component of a building’s drainage system. They carry rainwater from the gutters down to the ground, preventing water damage to the structure and its foundation. However, downspouts can become clogged over time, leading to poor drainage and potential water-related issues.  Wondering how to unclog a downspout?  Remove any debris or leaves you see and also use a plumbing snake or auger to dislodge any stubborn clog.  

Let’s take a look.

Metal downspout that is clogged. To unclog it, you can use an auger.

What is a Downspout?

A downspout is a vertical pipe or conduit attached to the side of a building that carries rainwater from the gutter system down to the ground or a drainage system. It ensures that rainwater is directed away from the roof and foundation, preventing water accumulation and damage.

What Tools Do I Need to Unclog a Downspout?

To properly unclog a downspout, you will need the following tools:   (link to Amazon)

  1. Ladder – To safely access the downspout
  2. Garden hose – for flushing out debris
  3. Plumbing snake or auger – to dislodge stubborn clogs
  4. Screwdriver or wrench – to remove downspout sections if needed
  5. Bucket or tarp – to catch any excess water or debris

Downspout clogged with ice can be cleared so water will flow through.

Steps to Unclog a Downspout

Follow these steps to unclog a downspout effectively:

  1. Safely position a ladder near the downspout to access it.
  2. Remove any visible debris or leaves from the top of the downspout by hand or with a small scoop.
  3. If you can’t clear the clog manually, use a plumbing snake or auger to break up the blockage. Insert it into the downspout and rotate or push it through to clear the obstruction.
  4. Attach a garden hose to a nearby outdoor faucet and feed it up into the downspout.
  5. Turn on the water at medium pressure and let it flow through the downspout for several minutes to flush out any remaining debris.
  6. If the clog persists, repeat steps 3-5 or consider using a pressure washer with a suitable attachment to remove stubborn blockages.
  7. Once the water flows freely through the downspout, remove the garden hose and clean up any excess water or debris.

Downspout Maintenance

Regular maintenance can help prevent downspouts from getting clogged in the first place. Consider the following tips:

  1. Inspect your gutters and downspouts regularly, especially after heavy rain or storms.
  2. Remove any debris or leaves that may have accumulated on the roof or in the gutters.
  3. Install gutter guards or screens to prevent larger debris from entering the downspouts.
  4. Trim overhanging tree branches that could drop leaves or small branches onto your roof and gutters.
  5. Ensure that downspouts extend at least 3 feet away from the foundation to prevent water pooling or seepage.



Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know about unclogging a downspout, let’s take a look at a few other areas of recommended maintenance. One of those is the life of aluminum gutters.  Aluminum gutters are a great investment as they can last for twenty years and they allow the water to flow off the roof.

Another is seamless gutters.  These are gutters that are designed for your home, have no seams, and have onsite installation.  This type of gutter is great as it doesn’t rust, and lasts longer than other gutters.

Lastly, if you have well water, you will be glad to know that it has fluoride in it.  The levels may vary so you should have your water tested every 3 years.

When Do I Contact a Professional?

While many downspout issues can be resolved by homeowners, there are instances when it is best to call a professional:

  1. Persistent clogs that cannot be cleared with basic tools and techniques.
  2. Significant damage to the downspout or gutter system.
  3. Any signs of water damage or leakage inside the building.
  4. If you are uncomfortable working at heights or do not have the necessary tools or experience.


Maintaining properly functioning downspouts is crucial for the overall health of a building’s drainage system. By following the steps outlined in this guide and performing regular maintenance, you can keep your downspout clear and minimize the risk of water-related problems. Remember, if you encounter any persistent issues or concerns, do not hesitate to seek professional assistance.  This is a great time to call on Bentley Home Inspection team for a home inspection in East Tennessee, and surrounding areas.