How Poor Installation Causes Repeatedly Clogged Downspouts

How Poor Installation Causes Repeatedly Clogged Downspouts

Clogged downspouts and gutters got you down? No need to worry — the expert team at Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island will clean, repair, and restore your gutters to working order in no time. 

While many clogged gutters can be rectified by standard gutter cleaning and maintenance, an equal number of cases are the result of defects in labor or installation. Let's take a closer look at a few of the most common installation or labor defects that may be the cause of your repeated clogged gutter issue. 

Joint Fasteners are the Wrong Length

Properly installed downspouts and elbows are designed to effortlessly connect by sliding the male end into the female end where no joint fasteners are required. In some instances, gutter installations may actually require a fastener to keep the elbow joint or downspout from pulling apart and separating. If a joint fastener is required, it's vital the installation professional use the shortest possible fastener, like a 1/4" inch zip screw or an aluminum rivet. 

Although rivets are ample, they may come loose after time.  After all, your gutters and downspouts are out there 24/7/365 - and they are constantly moving and shifting in the wind, rain, snow and heat expansion in the summer.  That makes tight screws the best fastening practice.

Improper Gutter Installations Breed Problems

An inexperienced gutter installer isn't likely to understand this intricacy, while the experts at Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island are trained and skilled to use the right materials, tools  and equipment. Our team understands how a single misplaced or improperly sized screw can attract a single twig or leaf that slightly decreases the flow area of your downspout. Over time, this single twig or leaf will collect other debris at a fast rate until it turns into a dense, solid clog that has completely restricted water flow. 

Inexperienced Gutter Cleaning Will Not Solve the Problem

To make matters worse, if you call an inexperienced gutter cleaning company, they will probably just clear the clog without attempting to research the underlying cause. This will result in a repeated clogged downspout as well as the repeated service fee from the contractor. 

However at Ned Stevens, we pay special attention to problems and always work to find the underlying cause. Instead of just clearing the clog, we will investigate to find the underlying problem. And in the instance of a joint fastener that is too long, we would remove the errant fastener and, if possible, replace it one of the right length, which will promote the free flowing of water. Most importantly, it will clear your repeated clogged gutter. 

Is Your Downspout Return Pitched or Angled Properly? 

Depending on your gutter system, downspout elbows can be used with different angles. Some downspouts are angled at almost 90 degrees, which isn't suitable for all gutter applications. For example, if the installer used a 90 degree elbow on a vertical gutter pipe, the end of the elbow pipe would be exceptionally close to horizontal or level with the ground. 

Anytime a downspout is installed at a virtually horizontal level, you have a recipe for continued clogged downspouts. The clogged downspout is due to the fact water slows down at this flat or "dead level" point. In addition to water slowing, all debris, leaves, pine needles, and anything else will slow down and become much more susceptible to damming. Over time, additional leaves and pine needles will gradually deposit at this point until you have a full clog. 

Proper Gutter Installation Requires Properly Pitched/Angled Downspouts

Installing a gutter system with an improperly sloped downspout is a common mistake made by inexperienced installers. At Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island, we always install downspout leaders with the proper pitch to help facilitate faster moving water, which will move debris through the leaders more effectively. 

Anytime we perform gutter cleaning, maintenance, or receive a service call with this type of clog, we always check the slope of the elbow. If we determine this to be a culprit or a potential problem, we can replace it with properly angled elbows to create a free flowing gutter system. 

Are Your Clogged Downspouts Over or Under Crimped? 

On some gutters, the assembly of the downspout offset involves attaching two opposing, identical elbows together and extending them down to connect to the full length of the downspout. Under normal circumstances, these elbows would easily connect together through the use of flanged and pre crimped female and male ends. 

However, if the gutter installation involves custom offsets of particular sizes, the gutter installer may be forced to cut the elbow, which could involve cutting the factory pre-crimped end. When this happens, the elbows may no longer fit together unless the installer creates their own crimps. Simply put, crimping isn't easy and must be done precisely. 

Far too often, we see improperly created crimps, which substantially decrease the downspout's capacity for water flow.  Even though over crimping may allow the two pieces to fit together, it decreases the overall size of the downspout’s opening. At the same time, it creates a situation where debris and leaves accumulate, which will restrict the flow of water. 

Save Time and Money with Proper Gutter Installation 

The experienced team at Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island are always aware of this issue and are trained to properly crimp the elbows and downspouts. Our crimps are designed to avoid the trapping of debris and facilitate the free flow of water away from your property. 

Contact Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning for Clogged Downspout Solutions

Simply put, gutter installation is a meticulous science. While you may think you're saving a few bucks by going with a landscaper or handyman, it will cost you more money in the long run. If you're lucky, you have a clogged downspout and the problem is rectified. If you're not, you could have serious foundation damage or a myriad of other expensive water (or worse, mold) related problems.

The best solution is to contact Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island for proper gutter installation. If you already have a problem, don't hesitate to schedule a service call, so the pros can get you and your gutters flowing on the right track.

Erika Cruz

Erika began her career at Ned Stevens in September 2009 after 4 years of managing investment portfolios for banks and credit unions. She graduated with her business degree in Management in May of 2016 while working Full-time at Ned Stevens. With 11 years of gutter expertise, as office manager she is in charge of the day to day operation and is fully dedicated to her staff and customers.