How Can I Fix My Clogged French Drain Downspout?

So you cleaned your gutters this spring, just like you were supposed to, and everything seemed fine except for one problem: the downspout has become clogged at a point underground. Not to worry. Sometimes this is a problem that homeowners can fix themselves. Follow these tips to try to unclog your french drain system.

Do a Visual Inspection

Pull out the downspout pipe that leads into the underground pipe. If you can see any leaves or debris clogging the pipe at the entryway, remove the debris right away, then stick a hose down the drain and try to clean the drain out with a strong jet of water. 

If that doesn't work, look for the place where the pipe lets out. Unless the pipe lets out into a sewer or a dry well, you should be able to find the pipe outlet at a point lower than the basement of your home, and pointing in a direction away from the house. The opening for the pipe should be well away from the house, so look along the perimeter of your property.

Look for a clog of leaves or roots at that opening of the pipe. If you can, use a hand held plumber's auger to plumb the drain. Chances are, if there's a clog in the drain, the clog will be too tough for a simple manual plumber's auger to cut through. 

Locating the Clog

Send the auger through the pipe until it will go no farther. When it reaches the clog, mark the spot on the auger. Pull out the cable and measure the distance from the tip of the auger to the spot that you marked. Then measure the equivalent length of the french drain pipe starting from the opening where the downspout connects. 

Replace the Pipe

Dig until you find the clogged section of pipe. Cut out the clogged section of pipe using a saw suited for the material the pipe is made out (probably PVC). Insert a new pipe into the section you just cut out so that the edges of the new pipe just barely stick into the ends of the old pipe. Next, cover back up the pipe with the old dirt. 

If this doesn't solve the problem, you could need help from a professional plumber or contractor with specialty in drainage systems. For more information, contact a skilled professional like one from Perma-Dry Waterproofing & Drainage, Inc. in your area today.