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How to Divert Downspout Water (Step By Step)

How to Divert Downspout Water (Step By Step)

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Your gutter system protects your house’s foundation from all rainwater damage by collecting and redirecting it away from your house.

However, the water may end up causing a lot of problems if it pools right by the house or splashes onto the foundation.

In that case, you’ll need to divert your downspout water away, and that’s where this article comes in handy!

Today, we’ll show you how to divert downspout water in simple easy-to-follow steps!

How to Divert Water Without Gutters

Despite being highly effective, traditional gutter systems can easily get clogged because of debris and dirt build-up.

That’s why homeowners use alternative methods to handle roof rainwater run-off. For example, you can use drip edges, drip chains, and louvers.

1. Drip Edges

Drip edges flat sheets sit below roof shingles so that rainwater slides right off and away from the house, but they’re ideal when the house is on top of a hill so that it doesn’t pool near the foundation.

2. Louvers

Louvers are similar to drip edges but they’re made of a series of smaller sheets arranged below each other, which slows down the water and reduces splashing.

3. Drip Chains

Drip chains collect rainwater at a certain point on the roof then it runs down through a chain at the end of a pole extending away from the house. This prevents splashing and keeps water away, but it’s only suitable where rain isn’t heavy.

What Are Downspout Diverters?

A downspout diverter is any device used to change the direction where rainwater naturally flows, preventing it from causing water damage to the house foundation.

Downspout diverters can take a variety of shapes, but they’re usually connected to the collecting gutter to transfer the water into a rainwater tank, street drains, or the garden’s sewer system.

Depending on their design/type, they can also have other functions, such as preventing rainwater splashing and filtration of rainwater before storage.

How Does a Downspout Diverter Work?

Although there are different types of downspout diverters, they all have the same concept.

They’re attached to the end of the main gutter pipe so that water keeps on flowing away from the house’s foundation.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Divert Downspout Water Effectively

Now that you know more about downspout water diverters and how they work, here’s how to install them to your house’s gutter system.

Tools and Materials Necessary for This Project

Diverting downspout water is a very easy task that doesn’t require a lot of tools or advanced DIY skills.

However, to avoid the hassle of going back and forth during the project, you should always bring all the necessary tools and materials needed before you start.

Here’s a quick look at everything you may need to divert downspout water:

  • Tape measure and a marker
  • A fine-tooth hacksaw or a disc cutter for cutting metal gutters
  • A downspout diverter of your choice
  • Electric drill with screwdriver bit
  • Sewer cap
  • Shovel (if you need to dig a trench for the diverter)

Step 1: Choose a Type of Downspout Diverter

There are different designs and types of diverters. The most popular ones are the classic elbow joint pipes that connect the gutter downspout to the extension that diverts the water away from the house.

These elbow joints are made of either plastic or aluminum. The plastic accordion-style ones have the advantage of being flexible, so you can bend them in any direction easily.

However, their thick ridges make them more prone to debris build-up than aluminum ones, so the choice here is down to your preference.

There are also plastic dispersers. These ones are placed beneath the gutter downspout to collect water and disperse it over a large surface area to prevent splashing.

Make sure that disperses are tilted away from the house so that the water doesn’t flood back towards it.

Step 2: Clean the Gutter and Remove Any Clogging Residue

Technically, this step is optional, but it has a huge impact on the performance of the downspout diverter attached.

Cleaning the gutters also ensures that water won’t build up outside the downspout and damage the foundation of the house.

Step 3: Measure the Height Where You Want to Connect the Diverter

If your gutter downspout is connected to a sewer standpipe, you’ll need to cut it at a suitable height to connect the downspout diverter.

The diverter needs to be installed at a height that allows the water to flow naturally by gravity into the extension pipe or rainwater collection tank.

Ideally, a height of around 8 to 9 inches from the bottom of the downspout is enough for most connections.

However, you can test out the height by holding the diverter unit with your hands near the downspout and try different heights until you find the sweet spot for its angle.

Once you find the point, mark it down for easier cutting.

Step 4: Cut the Downspout at the Connection Point

Hold the disc cutter or the hacksaw steadily and start cutting where you marked the downspout. You can also wear protective gloves and goggles for extra safety.

Step 5: Attach a Cap to the Standpipe

If the downspout was previously connected to a storm drain standpipe, removing the pipe could be a lot of work.

However, leaving it as is could end up clogging it. It could also allow rodents and pests to build their nests inside.

To avoid that, simply cover it with a cap of a suitable size. This also allows you to reconnect it whenever you need to.

Step 6: Insert a Downspout Diverter in the Right Direction

Now that your downspout is ready for connection, attach the diverter unit to its open end so that there are no gaps in between.

Adjust the angle of the diverter so that it attaches to the downspout extension, and make sure that the extension is at least 5 to 7 feet away from your house foundation.

Final Thoughts

This marks the end of today’s guide that shows you how to divert downspout water in simple and easy steps.

While choosing a direction for the water, make sure that you don’t direct it towards a driveway to avoid slippery ice on winters.

Also, you should attach an anti-splash diverter at the end of the extension to avoid soil erosion.


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