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Wet Basement? Check out your downspout extensions!

Ever go down into your basement only to be horrified to find water seeping through the walls? Its a terrible feeling to see water in your home, knowing it is causing damage and possible health issues the longer it is there. So how do you fix it? Well that's a loaded question but I can tell you the first place I start with any type of basement or foundation leak: making sure gutters and downspouts are installed correctly. If gutters are not directing the water far enough from the home, the ground around the basement will become saturated with water and it will eventually find its way into your home.


Gutter Installation Issues


Gutters can become filled with debris or break at the seams and cause water to overflow. They could also have a positive slope, not allowing water to reach the downspouts. Sometimes gutters are not attached to the home correctly and water will shoot over the top of the gutters completely missing them!


Improperly Installed Gutter

Downspout Issues


More often than not I find the downspouts are not discharging the water far enough away from the home to prevent water from penetrating the home. The whole point of the gutter system is to direct the water away from the home and having a short downspout extension completely negates the purpose of the system.


Guter Extensions Too Short

In fact this is even worse than not having a gutter system at all as it dumps all the water into a few concentrated spots. If you home has short downspout extensions we recommend fixing them as soon as possible. In order to fix them you have a couple of options


Above Ground Extensions

This is the easiest way to fix your downspout, however in most cases it just isn't practical. Extending your downspout above ground is easy and inexpensive, most home centers sell elbows and extensions for your downspout and with a few simple tools you can extend your downspout. However, you must extend them at least 6 foot (ideally 10-12 feet) beyond the home in order to prevent water from penetrating your basement. Having a aluminum or pvc tube running six feet across your lawn can be unsightly, a nuisance, and a tripping hazard. In such cases it is better to use one of the options below.


Six Foot Gutter Extensions

Downspout Bubbler Pot

Gutter Bubbler Pot

This is my preferred system, however it does have some limitations and must be used in the proper locations. In this system you install a pipe that runs from the bottom of the downspout underground to 10-12 feet from the house. At that point a device, called a bubbler pot, is installed that raises out of the ground and discharges the water to the surface. The fact that it stays below the grass line until it needs to discharge the water is ideal as it is aesthetically pleasing and keeps the water away from the home. Unfortunately, even with a filter to keep leaves out, this system can plug up and needs maintenance in order to work properly. Also, it is discharging the water onto the surface so you are going to have some puddles if your ground doesn't drain well.


Gutter Bubbler Pot

Dry Well System



In a dry well system a crock is set underground about 12 feet from the home and surrounded with a base of pea stone to allow easy drainage. A pipe is run from the bottom of the downspout to the crock. The advantage of this system is it is completely hidden, is very unlikely to clog up, and still gets the water away from the home. If you have heavy ground a larger crock or drainage area may be necessaThere are more systems out there but from my research these three are the most effective and proven systems available. Be sure to check your downspouts today, do they run at least 6 feet away from the home? If not I recommend installing one of these systems as soon as possible. Oh, and while your checking your downspouts look for any cracked steams, loose hangers/ straps, or disconnected sections of your gutters or downspouts.


There are more systems out there but from my research these three are the most effective and proven systems available. Be sure to check your downspouts today, do they run at least 6 feet away from the home? If not I recommend installing one of these systems as soon as possible. Oh, and while your checking your downspouts look for any cracked seams, loose hangers/ straps, or disconnected sections of your gutters or downspouts.


Also, just because your downspouts are directed into an underground pipe doesn't mean they are directed away from the house. I have found, using a snake camera, many are just vertical pipe, 2-4 feet long without any horizontal runs. Again these systems do not help keep water away from your basement. If you would like your gutter system inspected so you know what type of system you have and that it is operating properly please call Card Inspection Services.


Tel: 616-262-1270

Covering Mid and West Michigan

13316 Cherry St Lake Odessa, MI 48849

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