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How to Unclog a Downspout

When you see water streaming off the edge of your roof during a heavy rainstorm, your gutters are not functioning properly. The debris in your gutters will eventually wash into the downspout and effectively plug it shut. Gutter cleaning should always include checking the status of the downspout. As the drain of the whole system, it needs to be clear. Follow the steps for how to unclog a downspout to restore normal function to your gutters.

How to Unclog a Downspout Steps

  1. Remove the bottom downspout extension.
    1. You may need a screwdriver to loosen any screws securing the piece.
  2. Knock debris out of the extension piece by tapping or digging it out with a garden trowel.
  3. Position your ladder securely next to the top of the downspout.
  4. Inspect the top of the downspout and remove any visible debris with your hand or trowel.
  5. Have a helper hand you a garden hose and turn it on.
  6. Run the hose straight down the spout to force the blockage out with a flow of water.
  7. If water flows poorly or backs up to the top of the spout, try the drain auger.
  8. Turn the crank to feed the drain auger down from the top.
  9. Repeat this a few times to make sure that all blockages have been forced free.
  10. Alternatively, you can send a stronger stream of water down the spout with a power washer.
  11. You can also use a wet/dry vac to suck out a stubborn blockage if necessary.
  12. Rinse the downspout from the top thoroughly to confirm that water is flowing freely.
  13. Put the downspout extension back on.
  14. Be sure that the area is clear at the end of the downspout.

Tools & Materials

A garden hose will wash away most clogs. However, tough blockages may require escalating to the use of a drain auger, power washer, or wet/dry vac.
  • Extension ladder
  • Screwdriver
  • Garden trowel
  • Garden hose
  • Drain auger
  • Power washer
  • Wet/dry vac

Gutter Cleaning by P.J. Fitzpatrick

Learning how to unclog a downspout is easy for any homeowner who is comfortable on a ladder. However, constantly having to repeat the chore can become inconvenient. When you don’t have time to do it, you can call P.J. Fitzpatrick to schedule professional gutter cleaning services. We also have gutter guard systems that could make your life easier. Contact us for a gutter cleaning estimate today.

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We have trained professionals that can help. Contact us today. 1-877-246-4354

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