How Do I Keep My Buried Downspouts From Freezing? (Explained)

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Buried downspouts are an excellent way to direct roof drainage away from your home. However, they also often end up freezing during the winter and spring months.

You can keep your buried downspouts from freezing in three ways. Ensure the pipe’s pitch is properly done, self-regulate the heating cables and detach the outlet and connect a hose pipe if need be. With that, you will avoid breakages due to frozen downspouts during winter.

Is It a Good Idea to Bury Downspouts?

It’s a good idea to bury downspouts. Mostly if your yard often holds water in rough areas or you’re staying in an area prone to regular rains.

In case water cannot drain well from your house, its foundation can be destroyed.

Moreover, extended water destruction to a foundation can endanger your residence’s structural integrity. It can also leave waterholes in the yard. This can lead to a car tracking soil through your house or it can damage your shoes.

Therefore, the quantity of rainfall you receive every year, the climate of your place, and your lawn’s layout can help you make decisions. That is if you can have the downspouts buried or you can choose another solution. For instance, introducing the French drains.

How Deep Should Downspout Drains Be Buried?

You can bury downspouts twelve inches or more. However, the frost line should be more than thirty-five inches. Hence, you will have to do a lot of digging.

Keep in mind that additional effort can deter you from thawing the downspouts during the cold season. Besides, you need to ensure the tubes are not buried in a non-compacted pile of soil deposited against your home’s foundation. As time goes by, the soil does settle and can result in the pipe breaking or even creating a backward slope.

The piping can pass over the uncompacted soil at an angle of ninety degrees. This needs to be the case so that it’s set in undisturbed dirt. Besides, as the soil next to your house settles, you need to check the small piping length and lift it to confirm it drains.

You can also make the belowground bends with either a small fitting or an angle of forty-five degrees. An angle of ninety degrees can be an obstacle in case a professional cleaning firm has to clean the piping. Therefore, you can use the angle at the downspout’s base.

This is where underground channeling starts. And the drain cleaner can easily insert the metal snake.

How Do I Keep My Buried Downspouts From Freezing?

You can keep your buried downspouts from freezing in three different ways as follows;

Ensure the Pipe’s Pitch is Well-done

This depends on the installation of the belowground gutter extension. Having a well-done tilt in the tubing is very important. And a drainage tubing should have a quarter-inch of drop for every foot of the pipe.

Proficient drainage installers do take measurements as they proceed with the work. This enables them to get the correct pitch for the whole length. If you set up the tubing downward, water can continue flowing down the tube.

And hence, it does not accumulate in high or low areas. Besides, as water keeps on flowing, it does not freeze up easily. You can also have tons of perforated tubes the moment you get far away from your house.

This is to allow water to drain as it goes down the pipe. When you allow some water to move down the tube, this reduces the quantity of water on the other end. And it implies freezing is less likely to occur.

Moreover, when you install the crushed rocks around and beneath the tubing, this adds to the cumulative capacity of the system. It then lets extra water drain as it flows down the pipe.

Self-regulate the Heat Cable

This modifies the heat output depending on the temperature of the surface. It is a great and secure way of keeping the PVC pipes warm all through the cold season. Normally, the cable shifts its temperature depending on the surrounding weather.

This protects it from overheating and ensures the water in the pipe does not freeze out. You can install the wiring through the gutter system above the ground. And then beneath into the underground system tubing.

Even though this can seem like a good solution, it can be costly to install. Remember, you will also need electricity to enable it to function throughout the winter season. Though if you have to ensure the tubing is always warm for smooth flow then it is worth it.

You Can Detach the Outlet

You need to properly design the gutter extension underground. If you do this you can disconnect the system anytime you want to. However, the funnel allows the collection of the water in the pipes below.

You can detach the outlet and connect a hose during winter. And if the tubing is still likely to freeze, you can allow the system to run.

How Do You Insulate Downspouts?

You can insulate downspouts by using a spray form to tone down the vibration on the downspouts. Still, you can wrap the foam insulators around them to help reduce vibration. This is what may be resulting in noise. Hence prompting its insulation.

Should You Remove Downspouts in Winter?

You shouldn’t remove downspouts in the winter since they help a lot. With plenty of melting water or rain, they will ensure the runoff goes far away from your home’s foundation. Nonetheless, the accumulation of ice in the downspouts is common in winter.

While rain and snow do not fall in these devices directly, they can pile up. That is if there’s debris in the tube that blocks the flow of water. Or if massive snow blocks the downspout bottom opening.

Furthermore, the equipment’s elbows are susceptible to accumulated ice since they create a collection spot for the still water. The ice walls along the roofline always hasten the freezing of the downspouts. This can occur if you do not act as soon as possible.

With frequently frozen downspouts, there may be a need for timely attention. Mostly if the weather isn’t favorable enough for the anticipated future. As time goes by, ice can back up in the gutters, thus producing additional weight on the whole guttering system.

This can then heighten the chances of your downspouts and gutters dripping from the roof. And with that said, it can lead to more issues like improper drainage and water leaks.

How Do You Thaw Out a Downspout?

You can pour some warm water at the top opening of your downspout. Still, you can connect a pipe to a tap with hot water. This can be enough to thaw small ice piles in the downspouts.

And even disassemble any blockages inflicted by debris. Moreover, you can run hot water from its exterior. This may be close to the point where the ice has collected.

If they are made of metal, the heat transmitted can be sufficient to clear a small tunnel in ice. It then allows water to move freely once more. In case the water doesn’t help much, you shouldn’t opt for using a hammer to strike the frozen downspouts.

You may think you are doing the right thing by breaking the ice, though this can only result in damages. You need to use a heat gun or hair dryer to heat the outer parts closer to the ice blockage. And if you want an excellent outcome, you can begin close to the underside and then proceed upwards.

Though, take note that you shouldn’t direct heat to the downspouts from the lowermost opening. This is because, if the ice breaks unexpectedly, ice and water can be ejected and this can cause electrocution.


Even though having frozen downspouts can be so irritating, there are ways you can protect them from freezing. And as noted, the techniques are all unique and helpful. This will not only protect the downspouts, but you’ll also avoid leakages and inappropriate drainage in your residence.