How to clean clogged downspout - at third story!


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Old 04-28-11, 09:52 AM
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How to clean clogged downspout - at third story!

With all of the rain we have been having lately, I have noticed that the gutter on the front of my townhouse is clogged. It is a 4 story townhouse, with the 4th floorin the roof trusses and a large dormer on the front and rear. The gutter is just below the 4th story window, atthe top of the 3rd story, so it is about 30-35 off the ground. I shop vacc'ed what I could from the window, but it appears as though the downspout is clogged (with straw, bird's nest or something) and I can't physically reach it from the winodw, and there is not much (about 2') of roof to climb out on (so I am not attempting it....).

Any ideas on how to get the clog out from the top of the downspout? My only thought at this point is getting a 50 foot drain snake and going up from the ground, but I am not sure if it will get though the S-bend where the downspout is against the house and then swings out to the edge of the roof line.

I constantly see water filling up the gutter and then spillng over down to the ground 3 stories below. I am concerned that water might start to rot the board behind the gutter and infiltrate into the house, causing more issues.

Thanks,
Neil
 
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Old 04-28-11, 10:19 AM
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Can you get to it from the bottom? Stuffing a running hose up from the bottom might allow you to break through the clog
 
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Old 04-28-11, 10:29 AM
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Mitch,
I can get to the downspout outfall at the bottom. i can try the garden hose, but I am not sure how much pressure I will still have while having fed 30' of hose straight up and if it will be sufficient to blow out the clog.

It is worth a shot though since I already have the garden hose. I don't want to spend $30 for a new 50' drain snake unless I have to (cheaper than fixing future water damage though ). I was also concerned with a metal dran snake scratching up the inside of the gutter and any rust proof coatings it might have (metal/aluminum gutter and downspout).

Thanks,
Neil
 
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Old 04-28-11, 10:35 AM
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The end of the hose is what breaks up the clog, the water stream just washes it down - you have to work the end of the hose into the clog
 
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Old 04-28-11, 10:46 AM
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I'll give it a shot, if it ever stops raining

Should I have the hose running while I am feeding it up the downspout, or feed it up until I hit resistance (presumably the clog) and then turn it on and work it around to break up the clog? Either way, I foresee me getting very wet...

Thanks,
Neil
 
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Old 04-28-11, 02:14 PM
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I think you will be able to get it farther up the pipe with the hose on, since pressure inside the hose will stop it from bending as much.

Why not do it in the rain? At least you will know when if you have been successful.
 
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Old 04-28-11, 02:50 PM
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Try one of those short brass nozzles on the hose made for cleaning concrete slabs and patios. That will give you plenty of velocity and force to eat through the clog from the bottom.

Plan on getting wet.

Dick
 
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Old 05-02-11, 11:14 AM
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Well, I tried to feed the hose up the downspout this weekend. Coldn't get it more than about 10 feet up the downspout. It seemed the hose end kept getting caught where the next section slipped into the bottom section. Tried wiggling it around to get past the joint, no luck.

I then tried my 25' fish tape. Got it higher (maybe 15-20 feet) then couldn't get it any further.

So I am back to square 1. I can see where the downspout is clogged. There is a short (1' or so) straight piece just below the gutter, then it goes into the S-bend to bring the downspout against the house.

I think I can create my own gutter vacuum extension with some 1 inch PVC tubing and a 90 degree bend that will attach to my shop vac. Should give me enough reach to get to the opening for the downspout in the gutter. I will still need to be careful, but I think it can work if my shop vac has enough suction power.

-Neil
 
 

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