Believe it or not, there is a lot you can do with your downspout. Although it serves a very practical function—channeling rainwater from your gutter away from your home’s foundation—where that water ends up depends on the accessories you have in place. Some municipalities make it worth a homeowner’s while to divert water from the storm drain in order to reduce overall strain on the system. Not only that, but some accessories make it possible to capture and store rain water for use in the lawn or garden, saving you money in the process. If you are thinking about replacing or renovating your downspouts or improving them somehow, consider the following useful accessories.
1. Flex Elbow
Whether you are joining the gutter with the downspout or redirecting the course of a downspout to accommodate an obstacle or a rain barrel, a flex elbow is ideally suited for the task. This accessories holds its shape once it’s formed and can be used for single or double bends.
2. Gutter Wedge
Gutters frequently fill up with leaves, twigs, acorns and other debris. Much of this accumulation ends up blocking the entrance to the downspout, preventing proper drainage. A gutter wedge is great solution to this problem. It is essentially a drain filter. It is installed at the mouth of the downspout and has openings on the top, bottom and sides, so water flows through it from all directions. It is shaped like a wedge to prevent leaves and other debris from creating a dam over the downspout.
3. Downspout Rain Drain
As an alternative to both draining water into a storm drain and into a rain barrel, a rain drain attaches to the bottom opening of a downspout and rolls out onto a lawn or garden. The drain is really an inflatable soaker hose. With numerous small holes in it, as it fills with water it provides a miniature sprinkling of the surround area. In heavy rainfall it may get overwhelmed, but it offers a free way to water areas close to the downspouts.
4. Rain Barrel
One of the best ways to save money and reduce energy use is to install a rain barrel below a downspout. As it rains, water fills up the rain barrel which can then be used to water. With an attached spigot you can soak garden or lawn areas with no extra water pressure required. It is equipped with an overflow valve so the water has somewhere to go if it fills up.
5. Splash Block
Rainwater diverted away from the storm drain must nonetheless be kept away from a home’s foundation. Working with an open-ended downspout, a splash block is basically a ramp for falling water that channels it away from a the foundation and out onto the lawn. An alternative accessory to use for this is a flexible drain tube.
Downspout accessories let you modify your downspouts to either water your lawn and garden, store water for later use or prevent them from clogging up. They are simple installations that can have a big effect on your home’s drainage system.