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A Guide to Unblocking Your Gutter Downpipe

A Guide to Unblocking Your Gutter Downpipe

The Importance of Unblocking Downpipes

As mentioned above, it is imperative to keep your downpipes clear of blockages. A drainage system is your homes first line of defence against the elements – and the downpipe plays an integral role within this system, taking water from the guttering away from your home. This keeps the walls of your house dry and prevents damp from developing.

What Are the Causes of a Blocked Downpipe

There are many reasons why a downpipe may become blocked, including:

    • Ice and snow
    • Birds’ nests
    • Leaves and other debris
    • Build-up of dirt, mud, or sludge
    • Moss and other algae

How to Unblock a Downpipe

The good news is that is usually fairly simple to unblock a down pipe using everyday household items.

  • Check for single, large items – if you have children or pets it may be that a ball, such as a tennis ball, has become lodged in your downpipe. While you’re checking, it is also a good idea to give your downpipe a wash, removing as much debris and muck as you can.
  • Fast stream of water – use your garden hose to flush out your downpipe. Hopefully the fast flow of water will dislodge the blockage, whilst also cleaning the rest of the pipe.
  • Movement – if water alone does not seem to be working, move your garden hose up and down the pipe for additional pressure. You can also try banging the pipe with your fist or a rubber mallet to loosen the blockage from the outside.
  • Try a drainage rod or snake – if your hose is not tough enough to remove the blockage, you could try a drain rod, or drain snake. These are sturdier and more rigid so more pressure can be applied to the blockage.
  • Remove and/or replace – the last resort is to remove your downpipe completely and clear the blockage by hand. It may be that the damage is irreparable, in which case you may need to replace your downpipe.

Preventing Future Blockages in Downpipes

Prevention is always better than cure, so here are a few ways you can help prevent blockages from happening in the first place.

  • Regular cleaning – cleaning your downpipes and guttering on a regular basis will help to prevent the build of leaves and debris, which can cause blockages.
  • Trim trees and bushes – the trimming of overhanging trees and bushes will help to prevent leaves and debris from falling into your guttering system.
  • Gutter guards – consider installing a gutter guard over your guttering. These mesh barriers prevent debris getting into your guttering.
  • Consider a larger downpipe – if your downpipe is becoming blocked on a regular basis, it may be that you need a larger capacity pipe.

Best Practices and Advice for Downpipe Blockage

  • Prevention is better than cure – a few minutes of maintenance each month can help to save you a lot of time – and maybe money – in the long run.
  • Safety first – whenever you are working at height always remember to use a sturdy, safe ladder and ask a friend, family member, or neighbour to hold the bottom of the ladder. It is also advisable to use gloves and eye protection, especially if you are using water to clean your downpipes.
  • Pay attention! – whenever you are outside having a quick look around your guttering and downpipes will help you identify early signs of a blockage. For example, do you see any discolouration on the walls? Is there any moss or other vegetation growing in your guttering? Is the ground around your house wetter than usual? By dealing with the issue immediately you could save yourself a lot of time and money in the future.

View Our Downpipe Range

To find out more about how to keep your drainage system working at its best, or for further information about the National Plastics range of downpipes, call our friendly, knowledgeable team today on 0800 22 77 77.



National Plastics is a trading name of Specialist Building Products Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Epwin Group Plc. Specialist Building Products Limited is registered in England & Wales. Company Registration number: 1268689. Registered Office: 1B Stratford Court, Cranmore Boulevard, Solihull, B90 4QT VAT Registration No. 864 4507 10