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Question DetailsAsked on 6/28/2015

gutters overflowing

Our gutters are clean but during heavy rains the water runs right over them in sheets of water like a waterfall. I am wondering if the builder should have put in larger gutters because of the 1 1/2 story that goes to a single gutter.
I am concerned mostly because all that water ends up close to the foundation.

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Assuming they are installed relatively level (should actually tilt outwards slightly so if they get blocked or fill up they overflow over the front where it is visible instead of against the fascia board where it is more hidden, which can rot the fascia board and rafter tails).

Could be undersized, especially if serviced by a large valley or very large run of roof (eaves to ridge distance) - or could be the downspouts are what is undersized or they are partly blocked. Might also be too long a gutter run, so you need a downspout at the other end also (always desirable if can reasonably be installed without making the house appearance unsightly).

When it is raining, see if the downspouts are running essentially totally flow - usually associated with "slug flow" - cyclic gurgling like if you turn a water or soda bottle upside down and it chugs or gurgles as it empties. OR if downspout flow seems low compared to amount of water coming off the roof, indicating a partial blockage, which would call for DIY clearing with a hose or a Gutter Cleaning contractor.

One other thing that can significantly limit downspout flow capacity is "flow leaping" or "flow jumping" - where the downspout is oriented so the water coming out of the gutter hits the "opposite" side of the downspout, causing air bubble entrapment, whcih also results in gurgling and surging as the air bubbles try to rise in the downward flow. Few installers realize this, but the downspouts should be installed so the water flow wants to stay on one side of the downspout, at least at low flow rates. Generally, this means the bottom of the downspout needs to be installed so it tilts slightly "away" from the main run of the gutter, so the water flows from the gutter into the downspout and along that same side of the downspout, then at the bottom transfers to any runout or discharge section. In some types of gutters, the water from the gutter initially has to jump from one side (the front typically) to the other side as it enters the downspout, but at least from there on it should try to hug one side of the downspout, meaning it will have to be installed slightly out-of-plumb.

A downspout that goes "drip-drip-drip" in misty or light shower conditions means the water is jumping to the opposite side of the downspout, so will have up to a little as half the design capacity at full flow. A very minor detain in lining up the downspouts, but can make a lot of capacity difference and also can eliminate irritating dripping sounds.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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