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Underground Lines and Drains: How They Help and Hurt Your Gutter System

Downspout to Underground DrainWe’ve talked plenty about our K-Guard Leaf-Free Gutter System and how its design prevents everything except water from filling its channels. These maintenance-free gutter systems allow for runoff to smoothly flow through the gutter downspout minus any clogs.

What we haven’t talked much about is where the water goes once it reaches the ground. If it doesn’t fill a rain barrel, naturally irrigate the yard, or create a man-made pond, then where does the water go? In some cases, it goes underground.

Underground Lines and Drains

Rather than downspouts and splash blocks, some home gutter systems utilize vertical pipes. These connect either via a drain or run directly into an underground line. From there, the water flows away from the home. In some cases, the line goes all the way out to the street, so the water can flow directly into a storm drain.

Utilizing underground drains and pipes is an efficient way to remove excess water from your property. Particularly if it isn’t graded enough to handle dispersion. Most of the time you’re assured the water will flow away from the home and cause no damage.

Like we said. It works most of the time. It’s when it doesn’t work the rest of the time that major problems can occur.

Difficulties that Lead to Disaster

When you have a problem with an external downspout there are several ways to fix it. You can clean and tighten the downspout and extend or redirect where the water goes. If the problem is critical, then you can grade the nearby areas to create a downslope for the water.

Same can be said for the gutters themselves. If they’re clogged, you can clean them out or replace them with a K-Guard Leaf-Free Gutter System. This avoids damage to the gutters, downspouts, and your home.

However, the fix for drains and underground lines is more complex. If clogs or other flow problems aren’t detected and resolved, then the water does different things. If using a drain, the water stays on the property’s surface and eventually pools. Soon enough, you may have foundation damage and basement flooding.

The same thing happens with the underground lines, except on a larger scale. Here, if enough pressure builds behind the clog, two things happen.

First, the water backs up and starts to put pressure on the external pipe. In turn, this might start to fracture or loosen the pipe from the house to cause a major water issue. Plus, the water in the gutters will accumulate.

Since it doesn’t have anywhere else to go, it will splash on the siding to damage the gutter’s soffit and fascia. Further, the gutters can collapse from the water’s weight.

Second, it builds up at the clog point and causes a break in the underground line. Even a small fracture can result in water accumulating in places around the property you never had problems with before. In the end, damage to your landscaping, foundation, and underground rooms could be extensive.

If that isn’t bad enough, you need to pay for the repairs. These won’t be for the pipes alone, which may need to be dug up. It will be for repairs to your home, your yard, and, if they are damaged or destroyed by buildup, your gutter system.

Diagnose Now, Save Later

By diagnosing problems with underground lines and drains ahead of time, you are saving yourself money and time. Even the merest puddle of water in a new location must be a sign of concern. Here are a few things to be pro-active about.

  1. Check the external pipe. Just like your gutters, the vertical pipes can be clogged by debris. To test, run water from a hose down the pipe from the point where it meets the gutter. If the water backs up, then the clog can probably be removed with a high-pressure hose that delivers water or air. Or, if the clog is near the gutter connection, use a snake to clear it.
  2. Check the outflow termination. In other words, the point where the water drains into the sewer or drywell. Clearing this of debris should help the water flow better if the issue isn’t with the external pipe.
  3. Check the underground lines. Follow the same procedure as with the external pipe. However, in this case, you are going to run water from the point where the vertical pipe meets the underground line.
  4. Replace the pipe. This can be more involved and may require a contractor to come out. First, determine where the problem is. It may not be a nasty clog. Instead, it might be related to a damaged piece of pipe. Once that’s discovered, carefully remove the affected pipe, replace it, make sure it’s watertight, then cover it back up.

And, if you are installing a K-Guard Leaf-Free Gutter system, let our specialists know ahead of time about your drain and underground line setup. They can check the existing area to ensure the gutters and distribution points will work together to keep your property away from drain damage.

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