Roof Drain Maintenance

What You'll Need
Push broom
Small garden trowel
Garden hose
Plumbing snake
Pipe brush

Roof drain maintenance is an important and often overlooked aspect of overall home maintenance. Many homeowners do not even know they have a roof drain and therefore neglect its maintenance. This neglect can result in a debris-plugged roof drain. In turn this plug can cause a roof to leak water into the house or even collapse because of pooling water. Follow these steps to care for your roof drain and thereby avoid serious and expensive repair costs.

Step 1 - Remove Debris

Clear the roof of any leaves or debris. Remember your safety whenever you get on a roof. If you have a steeply pitched roof or live in a several-story house, you may want to consider letting a professional clean the roof. At any rate, do not get on the roof in wet or windy weather and always wear no-slip shoes. Having a second person available to help hold the ladder and pass you tools is a good idea. For added safety, you can also wear a harness attached to the roof.

To clean the roof, use a push broom to brush debris off the roof. To clean the gutters, scoop out the extra leaves and debris with a garden trowel. Put the debris into a trash bag. Use a garden hose to rinse the roof and gutters. You may utilize a high-pressure nozzle with the garden hose to provide extra scrubbing power. Use a scrub brush to attack any stubborn dirt.

Step 2 - Remove Clogs

If you notice water fails to flow through the drain or downspout, you most likely have encountered a clog. Before attempting to remove the clog, look down the pipe and attempt to identify the cause of the clog. On occasion an animal may cause the problem; in this case you should contact your local animal control.

If the clog results from a non-animal factor, you can remove it with a plumber's snake, which you can purchase at any home improvement store. Remove the clog by feeding the snake into the drain. You may need to attempt this method several times until you remove all debris from the drain.

After you remove the clog, inspect the roof drain for any damage that could cause leaks. If you note damage, either repair the area or replace the damaged part of the roof drain.

Step 3 - Keep the Roof Drain Clean

To prevent further clogs, regularly clean the roof drain with a brush. In general you should clean a roof drain at least twice a year. However, if you are living in an area with a lot of trees or frequent storms, you should clean the drain more often. Pay extra attention to the roof drain in the fall, when more leaves collect on the roof, and also in the winter, when snow and ice can clog the drain.