Downpipes are crucial components of your home and must be maintained to ensure structural integrity and also potentially protect your yard. Our plumbers in Croydon thought it would be a good idea to cover some basic downpipe maintenance practices as well as point out some fundamentals about these essential features — let’s jump right in.

How do downpipes work?

First off, like with anything, we should understand how a downpipe works before looking into it. As the name suggests, downpipes are closed pipes that connect your roof’s gutters to the ground. The primary purpose of this feature is to drain the water from your roof down to ground level or directly into a gutter. Downpipes are integral to your roof’s (and home’s) drainage system. Without them, water will build up on top of your roof — leading to leaks and major structural damage in the long run. This is especially the case for homes with flat roofs.

Even slanted roofs with tiles, for example, will need downpipes to direct the water flowing through the gutters on a rainy day into the direction of a drain. Otherwise, the water will just flow off the side of your roof’s gutters in all directions. This can be a pain during heavy pour days and cause water to pool up in some areas — potentially damaging concrete and house foundations as well as drowning your plants (not to mention cause soil runoff that could potentially contaminate groundwater sources).

Downpipes that go directly into drains are much more efficient. Usually, if it’s raining, there will already be enough water flowing down your driveway, for example, without the added water from the downpipe. However, if you’re unable to connect your downpipe directly to a drain, then simply having it lead to an appropriate ground-level area (preferably a sloped region where the water can continue to travel downwards onto the street) is sufficient.

How do downpipes become blocked?

Ask any plumber in Croydon — the most common way a downpipe will become blocked is via leaves and other dirt/matter clogging it up. If you have a tree near or towering over your home, then there’s a fair chance that your downpipe will become blocked regularly. The combination of wind, leaves (especially wet ones) and other dirt will clog up your downpipe and seriously stifle the water flow.

How to unblock your downpipes

So, what should you do when your downpipes become blocked? Well, there are a few methods you can undertake depending on where the blockage is. If you know the top of the pipe is blocked, (you can locate the blockage by tapping/knocking on the pipe and listening for a less hollow sound) then the first thing you should do is place a ladder safely on firm ground and then use a piece of wire to hook the debris out. You can also run the wire up and down a few times to break up the debris and let it fall down the pipe (you may need to use a high-pressure hose to push the rest down the pipe).

The second method is a bit more time consuming and tedious but is quite useful if the blockage is further down the pipe. You’ll need to take the pipe apart — making it easier to clear the blockage regardless of where it is. Take out the two screws holding the lowest pipe clip in the wall first and then work your way upwards. If it is a multi-part clip, then you only need to remove the ring and leave the baseplate. Now you can use a piece of wire or a rod to break up the blockage. Test for multiple blockages by pouring water from the top.

Regular maintenance

You can mitigate the chance of blockages from occurring by checking your gutters at least once every month or two and removing any built-up leaves/gunk. Again, if you have a large tree above your home then you may want to consider checking more regularly. This is a simple task that will go a long way in ultimately maintaining your downpipe — as well as your home’s structural integrity.

Are you looking for a plumber in Croydon?

JPG Plumbing employs first-class plumbers in Croydon and the surrounding South Eastern suburbs. From downpipe maintenance to toilet repairs — you can count on our contractors to deliver five-star services across the board.

Give us a call on 0400 978 442 or fill out our online contact form if you would like to make any enquiries.