How to clean underground gutter drains

Written by kenneth crawford
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Underground gutter drains divert the rainwater from the gutters away from the home and into a main drain or drain field. This helps keep the foundation of the home protected. Just like cleaning the gutters, it is necessary to clean the underground gutter drains occasionally when they become blocked. Drain rods are necessary for cleaning the drain. The rods are semi-flexible and have several types of tips that remove or bore through blockages. Drain rods are available at most home improvement centres.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Drain rods
  • Worm screw tip
  • Plunger tip

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  1. 1

    Go to each access cover, starting at the cover closest to the house. There are access points at each area where the drain turns. Lift the cover and see if there is standing water. Leave the cover off the access point if there is standing water and move to the next access point.

  2. 2

    Continue removing and checking the access points until you find the one that does not have standing water. The blockage is between the dry access and the previous access with standing water.

  3. 3

    Thread a worm screw tip onto the end of one section of drain rod. The worm screw tip looks similar to two twisted pieces of wire on a base. Screw a second section of drain rod onto the first, if you need extra length. Continue assembling sections of drain rod together until you have a rod as long as the distance between the two access points.

  4. 4

    Insert the screw end of the drain rod into the clear access point and into the pipe toward the blocked access point. Turn the rod clockwise as you push it slowly through the drain. As you push the rod, you will feel the obstruction or clog. Continue rotating in a clockwise direction and push the worm screw through the clog.

  5. 5

    Pull the drain rod out of the drain slowly once the water begins to flow. Continue turning the rod in a clockwise direction while pulling it out of the drain.

  6. 6

    Remove the work screw tip and thread a plunger tip onto the end of the rod. The plunger tip is a rubber disc. Insert the tip of the rod back into the drain and turn the rod clockwise as you advance the rod.

  7. 7

    Pull the rod back out slowly, while turning it clockwise. The plunger will "suck" any remaining debris out of the drain as you pull it out. Remove the rod and scoop out the debris from the access point.

  8. 8

    Check all of the access points to ensure they are either dry or the water is flowing properly. Close the access covers once the drain is clear.

Tips and warnings

  • Always turn the drain rods in a clockwise direction. This prevents the rods from unscrewing and separating.

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