Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

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Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by A3M0N »

We've been in our house for a few months now, and we inherited some of those extendable corrugated downspout extenders. The grade around the foundation is a bit out of whack because it looks like previously the downspouts were allowed to just flood and sit around the house. That's another topic though.

I'd like to run some underground drains, but don't know all the ins and outs. I've been watching plenty of YouTube videos, and learned a lot so far, but still have some questions. I have three downspouts in pretty close proximity, all over dirt/yard. Can I connect those three together, run a corrugated pipe 10 or 12 feet from the house and dump it out into a pop up emitter in the lawn?

The other two downspouts are over concrete and I will likely have to tunnel under sidewalks and give each of those their own pipe and emitter because they're not really close together.

I can share some pictures and an overview of the house it if helps. Thanks!

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by Ware »

Hi @A3M0N

At my current house I have flexible downspout adapters attached to black corrugated pipe that runs underground out to pop-up emitters in the yard. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to manage the water and I haven't had any significant issues. I've mulched a few of the green pop-up caps when scalping, and I used to have a few leaf clogs at the caps until I switched from the NDS pop-up caps to the StormDrain Clog Free hinged caps. Otherwise this setup has worked fine. They have been in the ground almost 10 years. I don't have any more than two downspouts connected to each pop-up emitter, and most of my runs are pretty short (6-20 feet).

All that said, I think the proper way to do it is to use catch basins, so at my new house I am installing NDS catch basins under each downspout and using PVC sewer/drain pipe instead of the black corrugated pipe. I have purchased NDS pop-ups from my local supply house, but only because I am installing catch basin filters in each box. If I was piping direct and/or not using filters I would definitely order the hinged caps I linked above. Also, instead of using the flat grates that come on a standard catch basin kit, I am purchasing the components separately and using the NDS Downspout Defender grates. They seem like a more robust design that is less likely to get covered up with mulch or debris. Atrium grates are another alternative.

All of that comes at a significant cost though. The setup I have where I live now was inexpensive - like $5 for a flexible downspout adapter, about $0.88/ft for the black corrugated pipe, and $20 for a pop-up emitter. At the new house I will probably have close to $100 in each of the catch basin setups, $1.38/ft in the in the 4" sewer pipe, and the same $20 in each pop-up emitter.

Here is a video that demonstrates using a pressure washer to install a PVC drain pipe under a sidewalk. He makes it look relatively easy, but I would probably run into a rock or something. :lol:


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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by A3M0N »

Thank you @Ware! What you have going on now looks like what I've been thinking for my house.

Are you going with PVC because it's stronger? The Apple Drains channel said that having an adapter is the proper way, as opposed to using a catch basin under the down spout. But I'll have to check how old the video is, things may have changed since then.

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by Ware »

A3M0N wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 7:24 pm
Thank you @Ware! What you have going on now looks like what I've been thinking for my house.

Are you going with PVC because it's stronger? The Apple Drains channel said that having an adapter is the proper way, as opposed to using a catch basin under the down spout. But I'll have to check how old the video is, things may have changed since then.
Is this the video you are referencing? I watched that and I agree what he shows is probably not an ideal setup because some of the water could overshoot the catch basin grate during a heavy rain event; however, I think turning the downspout down toward the catch basin using the "S Method" solves that problem.



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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by Ware »

Again, I've never had any real issues with my downspouts directly connected to corrugated black pipe via flexible adapters, but I don't have gutter screens and I do see leaves, shingle granules and other debris on the ground around my pop-up emitters after heavy rainfall. I think what the filtered catch basins do is help keep most of that trash out of the underground piping. Is it worth it? I'm not going to lie - I did have some sticker shock. :lol:

As for PVC vs. corrugated black pipe, I think PVC is generally more durable and less prone to clogging, crushing, etc. If it does clog, it can be mechanically snaked out. All of the downspout drains at my new house will pass under a sidewalk or concrete curb edging, so while more expensive and more difficult to work with, my hope is the the PVC will remain trouble free for decades.

I'm anxious to hear what others have done and/or prefer.

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by A3M0N »

Ware wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 8:55 pm
Is this the video you are referencing?
That's the one. The "s" method does make sense, so does the catch basin for debris.

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by MasterMech »

Has anybody tried these into pipe? (corrugated or PVC)

https://www.homedepot.com/p/InvisaFlow- ... /202516215

I've also got noisy downspouts that drive me bananas after a rain when they are just dripping. Pink, Pink, Pink - :lol:

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by A3M0N »

MasterMech wrote:
Thu May 13, 2021 4:24 pm
Has anybody tried these into pipe? (corrugated or PVC)

https://www.homedepot.com/p/InvisaFlow- ... /202516215

I've also got noisy downspouts that drive me bananas after a rain when they are just dripping. Pink, Pink, Pink - :lol:
I don't have any experience with these, but it looks like a fantastic idea!

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by 440mag »

A3M0N wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 1:42 pm
... Can I connect those three together, ...
My advice is: DO NOT.

While connecting downspout extensions (corrugated hose or pipe) may seem intuitive when it’s not raining we learned the hard way that when you try to connect three (3) 4” hoses carrying water into ONE 4” hose you’re gonna get the same thing we see when 3 lanes of traffic are abruptly reduced to one: backup!

In our case, the builder / previous owners doing exactly what you describe resulted in our basement leaking!

It was the 3rd or 4th contractor we contacted to try and resolve our foundation issues that asked, “Where is the terminal end of each of the downspouts coming off your roof?

In an effort to reduce labor etc the builder took every opportunity they could to “junction” or connect the underground corrugated drain hose. And it created a nightmare in every spot whenever we got heavy rains.

Our yard was a mess for awhile and I can still feel the blisters and backache but, running a separate hose off each downspout solved all our issues!

I really screwed up not using hard pvc pipe too; I can already see where I’m gonna have clogging or crushing problems with that flexible corrugated hose; pvc otoh will last the lifetime of this house and adds another selling point when the time comes, IMO...
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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by A3M0N »

Thanks for sharing your experience @440mag! I've wondered about the longevity of the corrugated pipe.

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by macattack »

If you have standard 2"x3" downspouts, you may want to consider going to 3"x4". My gutters always overflow with small downspouts, been working on changing over to the larger size. Then you can get PVC adapters to hook up to the pipe. Get the water away from the house at all costs.

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by bernstem »

I have all my downspouts connected to underground PVC that leads to pop ups. My house is almost 100 years old and the downspouts used to connect to the sanitary sewer. The sewer company had a lot of problems due to water volume during heavy rains and paid to have the downspouts disconnected. I have no idea what it cost (other than a lot), but there was an engineering firm that drew up all the plans and supervised the entire project. I have three downspouts that all converge to one emitter. One is from the front of the house and two are from the side. The downspouts are 4 inch going into 4 inch PVC. They converge into an 6 inch pipe. I have never had a problem with water backing up. If you increase diameter each time you add pipe, then you should be fine.
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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by Ware »

@bernstem are the downspouts connected directly to the pipe via an adapter?

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by bernstem »

Ware wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 1:47 pm
@bernstem are the downspouts connected directly to the pipe via an adapter?
No adapter. They just sit inside the pipe flange.

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by Ware »

I’m still debating whether I should utilize the catch basins or just connect the downspouts direct. I like how low profile the setup is when the downspouts are piped straight into the ground, but I also see the benefits of catching debris before it enters the pipe.

I’ve also considered transitioning from the S&D pipe to corrugated pipe once I am outside the sidewalks. That would give me the benefits of the PVC under the areas that would be very difficult to replace, and the ease of installation/adjustability on the yard side of the sidewalks.

I’m in a situation where I need to get the pipe installed under the sidewalks before they are poured, but I don’t know exactly what final grade is going to look like in the discharge areas.

Corrugated pipe would be easier to manipulate, and it would be easier to raise or lower a pop-up emitter if grade changes in the future (e.g. sand leveling). If there was ever a clog issue, I could just dig it back up to the edge of the sidewalk.

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by bernstem »

@Ware With PVC if there is a clog, you can just snake the pipe. I'm not sure how well corrugated will do with a drain snake. FWIW, I have had the current drains for 2 years and other than leaves clogging the emitter and popping them off the pipe I have not had any issues. Two years is not very long, though.
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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by jayhawk »

@ware I think your original plan is the best. Trees near by? Roots will invade corregated joints, no? (What I've seen)

With a new roof (asphalt) you're going to have a lot of 'sand' coming. Your basins would handle most that doesn't stay in your gutters :)

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by Ware »

I’ve settled in on catch basins with filters and corrugated pipe runs out to the pop-up emitters. I will be using the NDS Downspout Defender grates.

I wanted to run PVC drain pipe, but it was going to require a number of cuts/fittings to get some of the angles to work out. Our local supply house didn’t even have some of the fittings I needed due to the PVC shortages (2021), and time is of the essence getting 9 of the 14 runs installed between forming and pouring our sidewalks, so the corrugated pipe won out. It is much easier to work with, and it will also allow me some flexibility to raise or lower basins/emitters to match final grade, etc.

All my runs are short (10-15 ft), and there are no tree roots near the house to contend with. The filters should help keep the pipes clear of debris, so I think it will work out just fine.

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by ltsibley »

@Ware PVC is a pain to work with so I think that's a great decision. I have both in my yard and despised working with the PVC vs corrugated pipe. I also have a mixture of catch basins and downspouts connected directly and I will be swapping all to catch basins soon to help alleviate some of the debris making its way to the pipe. With that said, I've had a large majority of the corrugated pipe in place to 6 years and I have had no issues with clogging (and I have a decent amount of leaves/debris). I've actually never had a clog. I have run a snake through the pipe and it seemed to work fine but I hardly pulled out anything. Most of my pipe drains out of a curb drain but I do have a pop-up emitter in one spot as well, which only has one downspout connected but it actually gets a majority of the leaves from a tree...most of the debris gets pushed out through the pop-up emitter but I do usually scoop more debris out of that one (mainly after heavy rain) than I do on the curb drains. Where a curb drain can be used I'd definitely recommend but understand that's not always an option.

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Re: Teach Me About Gutter Downspout Drains

Post by 440mag »

bernstem wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 1:17 pm
... The sewer company ... paid to have the downspouts disconnected. I have no idea what it cost (other than a lot), but there was an engineering firm that drew up all the plans and supervised the entire project. ....


:shock: :shock: :shock:

Cowabunga, dude! That’d be the equivalent of winning the lottery for me ...

(I need your public works to talk to my public works! :lol: )
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