Homeowners across the nation have opted to install underground gutter drainage systems to keep water from accumulating around the foundation of their home – keeping it safe, sound, and dry!
Maybe you’ve had underground gutter drains installed and they’ve been working beautifully until you begin to notice water spewing from your gutters, backing up at the downspout, your yard has begun to bubble up, or you’re seeing water collect on the ground above the buried pipes.
It’s official… You may have a gutter clog.
What Causes Gutter Pipe Clogs?
Leaves, twigs, and debris that flow into gutters and downspouts can get stuck in underground gutter drainage pipes – and that could be the cause of your clog. Other times, when splicing together pieces of buried pipe, the adhesive may deteriorate over time and come apart. The surrounding mud collects and can prevent water from draining properly. On other occasions, pipes may be damaged by nearby tree roots that have no other place to grow but through your gutter piping, causing breakage and clogging from built-up mud.
How do Plumbers Unclog Gutter Drains?
Commonly, plumbers are the ones to call when you have a clogged gutter. Guter installation companies install, remove, and repair gutters, but often do not take care of blockages (except a very few like Ned Stevens). Plumbers may use one of a few methods to unclog your backed-up gutter drainage system.
Plumbers will unclog drains using a drain auger, snake, or sewer cleaning machine – which often looks like a long spring with larger, separated coils at the end. This breaks up clogs and often brings debris with it when removed from the gutter pipe. Water is sprayed through the pipe after auger use to flush out any remaining bits of debris. Oftentimes, underground gutters are too long for a common household snake to tackle and a plumber must be called to take care of the issue.
Another method for ridding your underground gutter pipes from clogs is through the use of a high-pressure hose. Spraying water into the pipe at a high velocity pushes the dirt, leaves, and other debris through the opening at the opposite end – allowing water to easily flow far from your home.
Hydrochloric acid (also known as muriatic acid) is also used to break up clogged drains and disintegrate any remnants that are blocking natural water flow. However, great caution is used when using acid in outdoor gutters.
Is it Safe to DIY Gutter Clogs with Acid?
Concentrated hydrochloric (muriatic) drain-cleansing acid is sold in stores, but typically only to those with a plumber’s license because they’ve been trained in proper precautionary and preparation measures. Unsafe use of hydrochloric (muriatic) acid could cause serious eye or skin injuries if not protected and may damage your pipes – especially if you’re not aware of their current condition or age. If other chemicals are already inside your pipes, the addition of this acid could result in a dangerous chemical reaction.
Need Some Help with Your Gutter Clogs?
Underground gutter maintenance and repair is a massive job, and if you’re not 100% comfortable using hydrochloric acid to clear out the junk, it is highly recommended to call in a pro to tackle the job. There are times when DIY will save you money, but not when you’re unsure of the risks that come with that task. Keep your family, your pets, and yourself safe, and hire a professional plumber to take care of the dirty work.