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Avoid Basement Flooding – Keep Underground Downspout Drain Pipes Clear

Keep Underground Downspout Drain Pipes Clear
Keep Underground Downspout Drain Pipes Clear

Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Categories: Home Maintenance

Diverting rainwater away from your home’s foundation is important for multiple reasons. It significantly reduces the chances of foundation erosion, basement flooding and soil and grass deterioration. It is extremely important to not let your downspouts dump hundreds of gallons of water at their base next to your foundation. Attach drainpipes to the downspouts on your home and move water away from the foundation.

In many cases this is accomplished by burying 4” diameter drainpipes underground and running them out to ‘daylight’ in the yard. This method is the most desired as it is less unsightly and more convenient than having pipes laying on top of the grass.

A common mistake that homeowners make is ‘out of sight, out of mind’. If you have buried drainpipes, it is important to remember to keep the end clear where they empty into your yard. Over time grass will grow in front of the pipe end if not maintained. This growth will start to work as a dam and block debris that is washing down from your gutter system including leaves, twigs, tree nuts, and pebbles that wash off the roof shingles.

If not properly addressed, this debris will build up at the end of the pipe and eventually clog the pipe. That’s when things start to get ugly. With hundreds of gallons of rainwater pouring from your gutter system, the water will back up the clogged pipe to your home’s foundation. This is a very common cause of flooded basements which often is not covered by insurance and can cost thousands of dollars to repair, not to mention the growth of dangerous mold and mildew.


Keep the pipes clean! However you have to schedule this process to make it easy for you to remember, do so. Whether that is part of your spring and fall yard cleanup routines or every time you trim the grass, keep the pipes clean.

In most cases, you can simply reach up the end of the pipe with your hand or a small gardening tool and pull debris out to clear the end. In extreme cases when pipes have been neglected for years, the clogging may be out of reach. In that case, use of a plumber’s snake may be required to run up the pipe and clear clogged debris.

Poor Tree Planting 


Poor planning after the pipes have been buried can also add to clogged pipes over time. Especially when a tree is planted over or near the drain pipe. It is possible for tree roots to grow into the pipes and create a major clog. Even if they don’t, as trees grow larger and larger, the weight of the tree can crush the pipe. Know where the pipes are buried and avoid planting trees on top of them.

Tagged:gutters and downspouts, maintenance

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