Top Causes for Your Gutters Not Draining

Top Causes for Your Gutters Not Draining

Gutters play a crucial role in home maintenance by directing rainwater away from your home's foundation, walls, and landscape. It sounds like a simple job, but it plays a key part in protecting your home from the elements. When your gutters fail to drain properly, it can lead to significant issues for your home’s roof, siding, foundation, and landscaping. That’s a lot of costly repairs stemming from one small gutter issue.

That’s why it’s crucial to learn all you can about gutter problems, including why they occur and how you can fix them. If your gutters aren’t draining well, you need to take action. Learn more with this guide to the top causes for your gutters not draining and what you can do to fix the problem and keep your home safe in the future.

Signs Your Gutters Aren’t Draining Correctly

When your home experiences gutter issues, you need to address the problem as quickly as possible. To do that, you must be able to recognize the signs of gutter damage and improper draining. Of course, the most obvious indicator is that you don’t see water flowing out of your downspout after a rainstorm. However, there are other warning signs you should pay attention to.

For example, clogs lead to standing water in your gutters. This leads to water overflow, which you can often identify through stains or streaks on your home’s brick, siding, and windows. Standing water also attracts more insects and other pests. If you see an uptick in bugs around your gutters, it’s time to look for a clog or other issues.

It also helps to visually inspect your entire gutter system. Look for signs of damage, such as cracks or corrosion, that might prevent water from draining properly.

There’s Too Much Debris in Your Gutters

Clogs are among the most common causes of any gutter issue. Just like your sink or bathtub needs a clear drain to let water flow down, your gutters need a clear path that’s free of debris.

That’s harder to achieve in the outdoors than it is in your kitchen or bathroom. Whether it’s dead leaves in the fall or a buildup of pollen in the spring, there are a lot of things that can gather in your gutters and prevent water from draining properly. Be on the lookout for debris buildup like:

  • Leaves and needles
  • Twigs
  • Moss
  • Sap and seeds from overhanging branches
  • Airborne dirt and dust
  • Insect and bird nests
  • Broken roofing material

Where you live or the time of year can affect the debris that gathers in your gutters. It's vital to be on the lookout for gutter clogs year-round. However, pay special attention during autumn when the leaves fall and in spring and summer when critters are more active in your yard. You should also check your gutters during stormy seasons when wind and rain blow debris around.

Gutter Damage

Gutter damage can also disrupt water flow, making it one of the top causes for your gutters not draining properly. If there are cracks, holes, or other structural damage in your gutters, water can spill out of those places. This means it’ll flow down the side of your house instead of moving safely through your downspout and away from your foundation.

It’s important to perform a quick visual inspection every now and then to look for damage in and around your gutters. Keep an eye out for these issues:

  • Cracks or splits in the gutters and downspout
  • Rust or corrosion
  • Sagging gutters
  • Bent or tilted gutters
  • Joint separation
  • Leaking gutter joints

This type of damage prevents water from flowing properly through your gutter system and away from your home. Even if the damage seems small, make note of it and be proactive about fixing it to prevent larger problems down the line.

Your Gutters Are Too Narrow

Modern building codes require gutters to be at least five inches wide to let more water flow through them freely. However, older homes from the 90s or earlier might still have thinner gutters that are only three or four inches wide. While this might not seem like a big difference, it greatly restricts water flow—especially in areas that receive high amounts of rainfall every year.

If your gutters aren’t draining correctly but you can’t find obvious issues like clogs or gutter damage, you might have an older, narrower gutter system. Upgrading to a modern system can help. Consider investing in a modern gutter system that goes above and beyond standard building codes with six-inch-wide gutter pipes. These allow for up to 20 percent more water flow, making them ideal for areas with lots of tree coverage or heavier rain and snowfall.

Incorrect Gutter Installation

Gutters require a slight slope toward the downspout for water to flow correctly. If they don’t have the proper angles, water will stagnate instead of draining out. Improper gutter installation often creates an improper pitch, which leads to problems like poor draining, standing water, and water overflow. A professional inspection can help you identify issues like poor gutter pitch and figure out the proper ways to fix them.

Ways To Prevent Gutter Problems

When you have a problem with improper draining, it can cause serious and costly issues for your entire property. Overflowing water can stain your siding and lead to mildew, mold growth, and wood rot. Water that doesn’t drain properly can back up onto your roof and cause shingle damage and roof leaks. Alternatively, it can pool near the base of your home, leading to foundation cracks and flooding or erosion in your yard.

These issues are both unsightly and unsafe. That’s why it’s important to be proactive about gutter maintenance and prevent or fix improper draining with the following solutions.

Clean the Gutter Regularly

Regular gutter cleanings and other maintenance help keep your gutter system clear of leaves, twigs, dirt, animal nests, and other debris that builds up and causes clogs. This is also a great opportunity to inspect your gutter system for damage like cracks, rust, or joint issues. Schedule gutter cleanings twice a year. You want them once during the spring to get rid of debris from spring rain and once in the fall to get rid of fallen leaves.

Maintain the Landscaping and Trees

Overhanging branches can cause lots of problems for your gutters. Falling leaves and twigs can back up your gutters, while broken branches can cause serious damage—especially during a heavy storm. Regular yard maintenance through tasks like trimming trees helps keep branches from hanging too far over your home, protecting your gutters and roof from potential damage.

Get a New Gutter System

Installing a new gutter system like Gutter Shutter grants you peace of mind about your gutters. Gutter Shutter eliminates gutter clogs by keeping leaves and other debris out while still allowing water to flow freely. Plus, lasting materials and a sturdy, no-pull-away design ensure strength, stability, and durability with your system.

If you’re looking for gutter guard installation in Seattle, WA, turn to the experts at Pacific Gutter Company. See how a new gutter guard or Gutter Shutter system can improve your home’s comfort, safety, and appearance when you visit us today.

Top Causes for Your Gutters Not Draining

Recent Articles

Get a free estimate

Our team of specially trained technicians will come to your home and provide a thorough gutter assessment & solution plan custom built for you and your home's needs.