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When it rains or snow melts, the water from your roof is collected in the eaves troughs that run along the bottom of the roof of your house.  The water is then directed down the side of the house using downspouts.


Downspouts should outlet ONTO the ground and NOT INTO the ground.  If they do extend into the ground, the downspouts should be disconnected and the flows redirected to discharge, if possible, at least 1.8 metres (6 feet) away from the walls of your house.

 Downspount discharging onto the ground and away from the house foundation.    Downspout going into the ground.









ONTO the ground                                                                                                        INTO the ground

Ensure the water from your downspouts is draining on to your own property, not on to your neighbours or City owned property.  Ensure the flow from your downspouts doesn't negatively impact your neighbour.  In the winter, if the flows are directed to your driveway, sidewalk or road, they can freeze.

An example of sump pump discharge making its way to the driveway and sidewalk and freezing causing dangerous conditions for pedestrians and drivers.An example of sump pump discharge making its way to the sidewalk and freezing causing dangerous conditions for pedestrians.










An example of what can happen if the water from your downspouts is directed towards the driveway or sidewalk.

The grading around your house needs to slope away from the house and not towards the house.  When the grading slopes towards the house this encourages water to make its way to the walls and/or foundation of the home.  This is undesirable because water collecting around the foundation increases the potential for water to enter the basement through cracks.

Rain Barrel

An alternative to having the downspouts extend onto the ground is having the downspouts discharge into a rain barrel.  Rain barrels are an excellent way to conserve water and save money on your water bills. If using rain barrels, make sure the overflow extends away from the wall of the house to avoid water entering the basement.

Downspout  Maintenance

A downspout that has become disconnected from the eaves troughClear the leaves out of your eaves troughs and downspouts regularly.  This will keep water, snow or ice from building up due to a blockage from debris.

Inspect and maintain your eaves troughs and downspouts yearly to ensure they are properly connected to the house.  Ice can build up in the eaves trough during the winter months and become very heavy and cause eaves troughs to pull away from the roof.  If sections of the eaves troughs or downspouts have come apart, water could be running down the exterior wall(s) of the house and seeping into the ground at the foundation wall which then could make its way into the basement.  Ice build-up and wind can do a lot of damage to eaves troughs so it is recommended to inspect them in the spring and as needed throughout the year.

Downspout Disconnect

If your downspouts go into the ground you should disconnect them and revise them to allow the water draining from your roof to drain on to the ground, not into the ground.

Do it yourself instructions:

  1. Cut the downspout above where it enters the ground and discard the piece you cut off.
  2. Put a cap on the pipe that goes into the ground. Rubber caps can be purchased at your local hardware store, in different sizes. Secure the cap with a simple hose clamp. By capping this securely, you prevent water and animals from getting into the pipe that leads into the ground.
  3. Install a green flexible downspout extension piece at the end of the downspout. The piece of flexible pipe should be attached to the downspout with 2 screws to ensure that it doesn’t fall off. It is recommended that the outlet of the flexible pipe be at least 1.8m (6 feet) away from the foundation of your house. It is also recommended to put a splash pad at the end of the extension (not shown in the photo).


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