Get Your Mind in the Gutter: How to Unclog Your Underground Gutter Drain

Because it's out of sight, the underground drainage system is often kept out of mind as well. However, sometimes it's good to get your mind in the gutter to keep your underground gutter drain working properly. Otherwise, it can become clogged and backed up, which puts your property's foundation at risk of suffering water damage, a real nightmare. So if your underground gutter drain is backing up, unclog it by following the steps below.

Step 1: Clean Out the Drain Opening

The first and easiest thing to check is see if the gutter drain opening is clogged with leaves, sticks, mud, and similar organic refugees from your yard. If your gutter drain opening has a screen cover (as is often the case), use a screwdriver to remove the screen. Then put on a thick pair of gloves, and use a flashlight to check the drain for debris. If you're having a hard time seeing in the drain, use a stick to feel around in the hole before putting your hand in there—you never know what's lurking in drains!

Once you know nothing is living in the drain, use your gloves to pull out all of the debris you can reach. If this fixes the clog, great! Otherwise, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Snake the Gutter Drain

With the opening free of debris, it's now time to do some deep cleaning with a plumber's snake.  If you don't own a plumber's snake, you can rent or buy one from most major hardware stores.

Once you have the snake in hand, run it through the drain opening, thoroughly cleaning out the drain pipe. The snake will help you pull out hard-to-reach clogs or loosen up whatever is down there. 

Step 3: Spray Out Remaining Debris

After you've snaked the gutter drain pipe, place your garden hose (preferably a power washer) in the other end of the drain pipe. Turn it on full blast, and squirt out the remaining mud, twigs, and other debris that are clogging the drain. If the water is now flowing through the drain as it should, then secure the cover to the opening and secure it using your screwdriver.

It's important to clean out underground gutter drains regularly to prevent clogs, which lead to water pooling. So after unclogging the gutter drain, follow the above steps regularly to keep the drain clean. And if pooling persists after a thorough cleaning, there may be more extensive damage that needs to be repaired. If that happens, call a plumbing and heating company that can find, dig up, and repair broken pipes and other major problems.

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