Blocked downpipe? Here’s what you need to do

Downpipes play a crucial role in transporting water collected in the guttering to a designated drain or gulley. However, blockages in downpipes are a common problem that can lead to various issues. At Bedford Window Cleaning, we have identified some of the most frequent causes of downpipe blockages and are eager to share our knowledge with you. In this article, we will explain what is causing your blocked downpipe and how to successfully clear it.

The typical culprits of downpipe blockages

A blocked downpipe can cause water damage to your home or business, resulting in costly repairs. Identifying the common causes of downpipe blockages can help prevent such issues and keep your gutters functioning optimally. Let’s have a look at some of the most common causes:


Leaves are one of the most common causes of downpipe blockages, especially during autumn. As leaves fall from trees, they can accumulate in gutters and downpipes, forming a dense mat that restricts water flow. If not cleaned regularly, this buildup can cause water to overflow onto your property or even seep into your home’s foundation.


Moss is another common culprit. It can grow on the roof and spread to gutters and downpipes, forming a thick layer that prevents water from flowing freely. Over time, this buildup can cause significant damage to your property, including roof leaks and water damage to walls and ceilings. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent moss from becoming a problem in your gutters and downpipes.


Plants growing in the organic matter of gutters can also cause blockages. When leaves, twigs, and other debris accumulate in gutters, they form a fertile ground for plant growth. Over time, these plants can take root and grow into the downpipes.

Tennis balls

Believe it or not, tennis balls can also cause downpipe blockages. It’s not uncommon for tennis balls to get stuck in gutters, especially if you have children or neighbours who play with them outside.

Broken tiles and roofing cement 

Broken tiles and roofing cement can also cause problems with your downpipes. Over time, tiles on your roof can crack or break, and the resulting debris can find its way into your gutters. Similarly, roofing cement used to seal joints and gaps on roofs can deteriorate and create small particles that end up in gutters.


Sticks and twigs are common causes of downpipe blockages. They can easily get caught in gutters, especially during the fall season when trees shed their leaves.

Pine needles

Although individual pine needles are small, large volumes can easily accumulate and cause blockages. The thin and sharp nature of the needles can make them more likely to get stuck.

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How to clear your blocked downpipe

To clean your downpipe, we suggest taking out any downpipe bends at the top and bottom specifically—and clearing them. Doing so will ensure that your drain is fully unclogged.

If you’re dealing with a blocked downpipe, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent water damage to your home’s foundation or other potential issues. One effective solution is to call in a professional like Bedford Window Cleaning who can safely and efficiently clear out the blockage.

SkyVac gutter cleaning vacuums (along with other models from a selection of manufacturers) are a popular choice for professionals when it comes to clearing out blocked gutters. These vacuums work by using powerful suction to remove debris and buildup from gutters and downpipes, without the need for manual scraping or brushing.

This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of damage to the gutters themselves. Additionally, these type of vacuums offers a range of attachments and accessories that make it easy to clean out hard-to-reach areas and corners. Overall, the use of this equipment is preferred by professionals like us because they provide a safe, efficient, and effective way to maintain your home’s gutters and prevent potential water damage.

call a professional

Downpipe blockage prevention

Preventing downpipe blockages is essential to ensure the proper functioning of your home’s drainage system. One of the most effective ways to prevent blockages is by regularly cleaning and maintaining your gutters. This includes removing any debris or buildup that may have accumulated in the gutters and ensuring that they are properly sloped towards the downpipes.

Another way to prevent downpipe blockages is by installing gutter guards or screens. These devices help to filter out leaves, twigs, and other debris from entering your gutters and downpipes, reducing the need for frequent cleaning. Gutter guards come in a variety of materials such as mesh, foam, and brush-like designs that can be easily installed on top of your existing gutters.

Can a blocked downpipe cause damp?

Yes, a blocked downpipe can cause damp in your home. When water is unable to properly drain away from your roof and gutters due to a blockage in the downpipe, it can overflow and seep into the walls of your home, leading to dampness and potential mould growth. This is particularly true if the downpipe is located close to the exterior walls of your home.

How do you stop a leaking downpipe?

To stop a leaking downpipe, you should follow these steps:

  • Identify the source of the leak: Check your downpipe for any visible signs of damage, such as cracks or holes. If the leak is not immediately apparent, run water through the pipe and see where it is escaping.
  • Clean the area around the leak: Use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove any rust or debris from around the damaged area.
  • Apply sealant: Depending on the size and location of the leak, you may be able to apply a waterproof sealant or silicone caulk to stop the leak. Make sure to follow all manufacturer instructions when applying sealant.
  • Replace damaged sections: If the damage is too severe for the sealant to work, you may need to replace a section of your downpipe. This can involve cutting out the damaged section and installing a new piece using fittings and connectors.
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