Downspout Drainage to Sewer Clogged or Leaking Pt4

What? You think I forgot about the home repair stuff. NAHHH. So this piece is about bottom clogs in a downspout, but my to see how I resolved an upper (roof level) downspout clog check out this piece. Anyway, I just got all caught up with the TV programs and comic book stories. But tonight, for your enjoyment, I bring you a fourth installment of the downspout-sewer line job. So let’s begin! As you may recall, if you read parts 1 through 3, I had 2 clogged up downspouts. Or rather junk was both stuck up in the gutter AND the water wasn’t draining out to the sewer once it got to ground level. On one side of the house, there was dirt area I could dig up. But on the other side of the house it was a cement walkway. I was very worried about trying to get to a sewer line under there. The problem was pretty in-your-face though. Since it was winter the downspout had actually become full of ice about 4 feet high. The clogged water had just stuck in there and frozen.


In fact one funny thing that happened was once I took out the connecting screws the rainwater from the gutter was actually gushing out of the screw holes.


Actually that photo above and the one below were taken after it warmed up a little and the ice melted. But if you look down in the gutter, there’s all that water just sitting there.


The first thing, even before any drainage work, was to just clear the damn downspouts. Like I said the gunk in the gutter had been up there I don’t know how long, so it had filled the downspouts too.


Obviously you can prevent a LOT of this if you clean it out early with one of these…

gutter cleaner

OKAAAY! Things are gonna get even uglier from here on out, so brace yourself. This is all the mud, leaves, and assorted debris that were down in the whole. Like I said, this drain hole was surrounded by cement and I REALLY was hoping I wouldn’t have to go down into the ground and pull out a broken pipe.


But again let me show you some of the chunks I was pulling out of that spout!


And here are my main tools; the old wetvac, and the router.


Again, the mud, leaves, vines were down there pretty good. So here you can see it’s clogged up the wetvac hose. And even when I pull it all out you can see that NOTHING is getting through there, certainly not any rainwater.

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But this story DOES have a happy ending. When I was all said and done, and after pulling tons of gunk out of that hole I was finally able to take a garden hose and shoot water down there for a full five minutes and nothing ever backed up. So I had clean water removal finally happening. Next to my hose I left one of the giant rocks I pulled out of that hole. So mud by itself, or leaves by themselves, or even vines might not clog you up. But all that stuff, plus stones, rocks or cement MIXED is a death trap for good water flow! And keep in mind if you need a local handy person– Check Service Magic Call them at 877-576-3375


Downspout Drainage to Sewer Clogged or Leaking Pt3

Ok I admit it. I‘m a slow bastard. This series of photos has been sitting on the camera really for MONTHS and I’m only finally putting them here, in Part 3, today. You know what happened don’t you? The finish to this project came at a busy time, and it was so easy to do I just got to thinking “hey they can probably figure it out on their own…” and blah, blah, blah, I was too lazy to get back over here and upload the pictures and write a few words to go with it. And the WORST part is I still need to do a Part 4 to show what happened to the downspout on the other side of the house because it was a totally different situation. But I PROMISE I’ll do that with the week! All-righty, so where’d we leave off? Right, there was this hole in the ground and a downspout hanging, and I needed some kind of pipe or something to connect to the sewer line.


So the original plan was to go get regular tile/ceramic pipe section as seen in Part 2 of this series to replace the broken one. But here’s the problem; the connecting lip on the pipe wasn’t going to fit. I mean the reason it was broken in the first place was because the underground pipe section was too close to the house, so they had chipped 20 percent of the lip off so that other 80 percent could fit. You may not have this problem so you can probably go to the store and buy a regular replacement pipe. I decided to go another way. I went to Home Depot and I saw 2 things in the gutter department that I could jimmy together to server MY MASTER PLAN! The first thing was a flexible gutter-to-downspout section. And the next thing was a metal connector unit. It occurred to me that I could use this setup to connect the downspout to the sewer pipe underground and the flexibility could allow me to get the 2 parts joined perfectly.


And the pipe underground was almost exactly the right size, but the flexible joiner had this squared off section that did NOT fit inside the hole. I decided to cut it off. And the photo below is NOT how I did it, but I wanted to indicate “cutting” with a photo, so I took this picture. I did think about doing this but, that was wrong kind of blade anyway.


But here’s how easy it was to install. Just stick it in the hole onto the next pipe. As you can see in just one day we had some winter winds blow a bunch of leaves in my cold hole.


I took some waterproof adhesive and applied it to the sewer line pipe in the ground, and you can see that stone that would have gotten in the way of a pipe with a lip too next to the wall (on the left side of the pipe).


Here’s all the pieces connected. I and I know it looks crooked, but I haven’t even put the dirt in there yet. Remember the goal is to get flow from the downspout to the sewer. At the beginning of this project that was NOT happening. The pipes were full of mud and debris and the pipes were so ill-fitting that whatever water did manage to go down the pipes would just seeping into the ground. Once I connect the downspout to the house with one of those metal straps it’ll be straight again.


It had gotten so cold here in Chicago that my wet dirt had FROZEN. And to get it loose I actually had to get a pick to break it up into clumps. And then stick, basically, a bunch of rock shaped dirt back into the hole. I knew that once it warmed up it and got wet it would settle and fill up all the air pockets. And that’s exactly what happened; it got hot for few days, rained, the dirt sunk, and then I had to find some more dirt to fill up the depression.


Ok so here are all the pipes and dirt put back together just like Humpty-Dumpty. And there’s some of my frozen dirt that had to melt before I could put it back in the hole. Oh and one last thing-the flexible replacement “pipe” was only about 7 dollars so it was not only a practical solution to the problem but cheap! And by the way…Need a local handy person? Check Service Magic Call them at 877-576-3375


Downspout Drainage to Sewer Clogged or Leaking Pt2

All right so it did make it up to 49 degrees today, nice and warm. So despite being tired from all night computer building I DID get out of bed and spend 7 hours in the mud doing the work on the downspout drainage problem. To recap; BOTH downspouts were not conveying the gutter water away, and “away” in my case would be to an underground pipe next to the house right out to the street sewer. I had no flow at all, so water was just pooling on one side of the house, and just spilling on the walkway on the other side of the house.


So let’s pick this up from part one of this series. I had dug up the dirt around the pipe, and now I’ve removed the last segment of the downspout. This is so I can really dig that dirt and get to that broken pipe segment. Next I take the pipe segment out and as you can see it was leaking because it was clearly broken.


With the pipe out you can see, the drainage area is 100 percent clogged. There is no flow going to happen there.


But I have a solution. Want to see it?


OK, so I broke out the powerful Shop Vac and started in on this problem. It’s great because it handles solid matter and liquid and THIS is a perfect situation. Long ass hose too.


So after all the sucking, AND using the auger/snake/router I was able to finally get some drainage. I mean I lot of waste had to go up the hose to get close to clearing out the area. Speaking of area, if you Need A Contractor? Ask Angie! Let Help You Find The Best Contractor In Your Town!


The auger finally broke through and I was able to get a good look down the lower pipe. I was VERY unhappy to find MORE mud and a bunch of cement or stone items that could not be sucked up or broken of. I even stuck a 4 foot fence pipe down there and was able to clear the area a little more but not those stones.


So I have flow but I’m not happy to not have perfect flow. Now all I need to do is replace that pipe that connects the sub pipe to the downspout and put in the dirt. In the next part of the series I’ll show you the other downspout. It was a very different type of job.

Need a local handy person? Check Service Magic Call them at 877-576-3375