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5 Reasons Your Gutters Are Overflowing (And How to Fix Them)

5 Reasons Your Gutters Are Overflowing (And How to Fix Them)

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The core purpose of a gutter system is to collect and direct rainwater away from your home. As a result, your house foundation and landscape are better protected from water damage.

That said, gutters turn into more of a problem than a solution when water begins to overflow from them. When these systems fail to manage runoff properly, a slew of problems emerge.

You may notice structural damage, such as cracks in the house foundation. Not only that, but water may begin to seep into the basement, which quickly allows mold to grow there.

It’s critical to address this issue as soon as possible. So, continue reading to learn why your gutters are overflowing and how to repair them!

Why Are My Gutters Overflowing?

Overflowing gutters are one of the issues that have several culprits to look into. Thus, let’s start by walking you through the top five causes of gutter overflow:

1 – Gutter Blockage

Starting off with the root of the majority of gutter system problems, clogging. In general, debris is regularly carried into your gutter, and its amount rises on windy days or during storms.

Not to mention that if trees surround your home, many stray leaves will fall into your gutter system.

Then there’s the possibility of birds, wasps, or other similar nest-building creatures leaving their nests in there.

The thing is, when the amount and size of debris are insignificant, it rarely causes a problem. That is, of course, assuming that the gutter system is properly constructed.

However, when debris begins to accumulate, it can cause a serious blockage in your rain gutter or downspout.

Consequently, the blockage obstructs the flow of water, causing it to fill up and flow abruptly out of the gutters.

2 – Unsecured Gutter

To begin, the gutter hanger may not be properly secured or simply worn out, causing the gutter to become loose.

Simply put, these hangers are the components that are used to secure the gutters to the fascia for maximum support.

When the gutter hangers aren’t properly fastened, they don’t provide the necessary support, which causes the gutter to shift out of place.

Depending on the direction of the tilting, this can result in water gushing from either the back, front, or both sides of the gutter.

In other cases, your gutter may lean outward or develop bents due to wear and tear, particularly if it’s made of low-quality materials.

In this scenario, water will spill out of crooked spots of the gutter rather than going through its normal route.

3 – Improperly Pitched Gutter

In lay terms, the pitch or slope of a gutter is the angle at which it slants downward. It’s not a steep slope; in fact, it’s so subtle that it’s often missed at first glance.

The pitch of the gutter is what directs water flow smoothly to the downspout from all points along the roofline.

If this pitch isn’t properly angled or is almost non-existent, water will start pooling rather than flowing.

On the one hand, during heavy rain, you’ll find water building up faster in the gutter and gushing out of it.

On the other hand, you’ll notice that only a relatively small amount of water is coming out of the downspout.

4 – Clogged Underground Drains

If your downspout isn’t connected to underground drains, you can skip this point.

A blockage in underground drainage is a more complex problem than the ones mentioned above. It affects many different aspects of both the gutter system and the house.

When gutters aren’t cleaned frequently, underground drains tend to clog. You see, debris that piles up in the gutter flows down the downspout, and settles in the drains.

One of its signs is extreme water overflow in the entire gutter system. You might even find water leaking into the basement.

Additionally, you’ll notice that water is accumulating at the downspout connection, which is where the downspout connects to underground drainage.

5 – Unsuitable Gutter Size

A gutter that’s too small for the amount of rain it receives can easily lead to overflowing.

If you have a narrow gutter and live in an area where it rains heavily most of the time, this could be the source of your problem.

This is especially true if you couldn’t find any of the other culprits we mentioned above in your gutter system.

If this is the case, the solution is to simply invest in a size that’ll better accommodate the weather conditions in your location.

How to Fix Gutters That Overflow

Now, we’ll show you four effective methods for dealing with overflowing gutters:

1 – Clean the Gutter

The first thing to do is to climb a ladder and inspect the gutters. That is to detect any kind of blockage that may exist up there.

If you happen to find a pile of debris, come down the ladder and grab a gutter shovel. This affordable tool will help you quickly and efficiently clear the gutters of accumulated waste.

You might want to lay down a plastic floor covering beneath the area you’ll be working on, so you can throw on it the gunk you’ll be removing. Alternatively, you could take a garbage bag or a bucket with you.

If you didn’t find any obstructions in the gutters, you’ll need to turn your attention to the downspout.

Run a small test by directing a hose into the gutter and monitoring the downspout. If no water emerges, your downspout is most likely clogged.

Using a snake brush is one of the simplest ways to unclog it.

All you need to do is insert this tool’s brush end into the downspout, and use it to move your way up. That should loosen any debris that has become lodged inside.

Finally, do one last test by running water through your gutter system to ensure that it’s emptying into the downspout.

2 – Replace/Fasten Gutter Hangers

If your gutters appear to have shifted out of place, you’ll need to take a closer look at the hangers. Before climbing the ladder, run water from a hose through the gutters and look for any sagging parts.

These are the loose parts of the gutter that are responsible for diverting water away from its normal path.

Once you’ve located them, go up to examine the gutter hangers at these specific locations.

Check their condition to see if they need to be properly secured or if they’re worn out and need to be replaced.

3 – Re-Pitch the Gutter

As a general rule, all gutters should have a slight downward slope toward the nearest downspout.

For example, if the downspout is on the right side of the house, the slope should be in the right direction. Otherwise, the runoff won’t be able to flow to the downspout and will remain stagnant.

In fact, one of the clear signs of a poorly pitched gutter is the presence of standing water in the gutter after a rainy day.

Identifying the pitch with your naked eye can be a little bit tricky. Therefore, it’s better to go up there with a level to see if there’s a slope and if it’s angled in the correct direction.

If you notice that the gutter pitch is incorrect, you must re-pitch it to avoid further complications.

Gutters re-pitching may take some time and effort, so make sure you clear your schedule on that day!

Generally speaking, gutters should have a 1/2-inch slope per 10 feet. That, however, is presuming that the roofline of your home is already level.

After you’ve completed your calculations, you’ll need to remove the gutter brackets and hangers.

Then, you’ll reinstall them with the proper slope, making sure to check their pitch with a level before wrapping up.

4 – Unclog Underground Drains

There’s a simple way to ensure that your underground gutter drains are clogged.

Simply insert a metal wire into the visible end of the drain pipe, and the wire should stop at the point of the blockage.

Then, with a metal detector, begin moving along the pipe. If you discover that the wire has stopped before reaching the downspout, then you have a clog.

There are several methods for cleaning underground drains. One method is to use a professional drainage cleaning machine to effectively break up any clogging in the pipe.

Final Thoughts

By now, you’re well aware of all the common causes that can explain why your gutters are overflowing! You also have the best strategies for approaching each one of them.

Before we leave, a quick tip: buy gutter screens or gutter strainers. These tools, along with regular cleaning and maintenance, will help prevent gutter clogging.

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