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preventing frozen downspouts

JMartindal1's picture

Moving up North...MI. Here in VA, I like to bury my downspouts & let run to atmosph. at least 10' from house. Up there, this winter sewer lines were freezing 4' down. What do you do there to get water away from house besides landscaping?

(post #92134, reply #1 of 2)

There are several ways that it's done up here.  I can't say that one is better than another, but here are a couple of ways.


First, many homes don't have gutters at all.  They can fill up with ice and snow and make ice damming a little worse.  They fill with leaves and are a chore to maintain.  So, lot's of homes just don't have them.  They let the water drip on the ground, and make sure there is a good slope away from the foundation.  If the home is new construction then footing drains, a high quality waterproofing membrane, and backfilling with sand are sufficient for a dry basement.  The footing drains, of course, have to drain to daylight or to a pumped sump.


That's how my (new) home is and it's dry as a bone.  The drain comes out in a tiny creek bed into running water, so it never freezes.


Other homes have gutters and just let them freeze.  Often on the sunny side of the house the downspouts will thaw on a warm day and just freeze later.  The ground doesn't freeze as deeply right next to the foundation.  You should not tie downspouts into the footing drains because you could flood the footings.  They should run to a separate line, which can be laid parallel with the footing drain out to the same discharge location.


Almost no one installs heaters.  They are expensive to run and don't last too long.


On most homes older than WWII, the basements are stone and leak like a sieve, so basements are unusable.  Water runs continuously through them and folks place stepping stones so they can walk around.  So nothing you do outside makes any difference.


By the way, when you get far enough North people start calling gutters "eavetroughs".

(post #92134, reply #2 of 2)

This is a 40 yr. house, block basement that has seepage thru 2 walls. Part is due to landscaping some of which can be fixed, other may present prob. One side is leaking next to drive...have 3' of grass between house & drive; window in that side also. Might try putting in a well, and raising the ground level tho.