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Cleaning out the Roof Drain
Published on Friday, 05 October 2012

Cleaning up the roof and drains. Just the words are enough to give you shivers, aren't they? Well, yes, it is precarious work and it is tedious and it isn't exactly pleasant in any weather. However, cleaning the roof and drains is necessary for the good upkeep of a home and there is just no way to get around that fact. If the drains aren't clean, the water can't filter down and it eventually finds ways into the house. The drains and gutters are therefore crucial for the structural integrity of the house. Not to mention that rotting leaves in your drains are by far not the most pleasant things.

1.    Place a ladder steadily on the ground. Make sure that it is placed on completely solid terrain and that there's no chance of shifting or wobbling. Safety should always come first after all. After this you will need to put on a pair of rubber gloves (make sure that they are thick, so that you do not hurt yourself on any sharp edges, nails or other debris, jutting out of the drain).

2.    Next, you will need to climb the ladder and take out any leaves and other blockage from the top of the drain. There is no other way to do this than by hand, but be extremely careful. Make sure that there's somebody down to hold the ladder and that you yourself are stable enough. You may want to put the leaves in a  bin bag, or directly into a small bin. The leaves would also make good composting material.

3.    After the top of the drain is completely clean, it is time to take care of the pipe itself. To do this, you will need a plumber's auger (snake). You will need to insert the auger into the drain. Leaves and other types of blockage might be falling out, so you will need to pull out the auger out several times.

4.    After the auger reaches the top (or has passed any blockages), it is time to flush out any remaining impurities. To do this, you will need to climb up again and run water from your garden hose along the length of the roof drain. This will also flush out any remaining impurities from the drain pipe, so be prepared for more leaves and other things coming out of the bottom of the drain pipe. These can and should also be put into bin bags and, ideally, composted. To do so, you will simply need to wait for a few hours until everything is sufficiently dry and then sweep any leaves and rubbish into a bin bag.

5.    After doing this, your drains should be sufficiently clean to lead rain water down towards the ground. This is, as previously mentioned a crucial function, so that the leftover water does not rot the roof coverage or, even worse, the foundations of the house.

6.    Be aware that you might find some unexpected items in your roof drains. Particularly if you have very active kids, it would not be uncommon to find toys and other belongings in the drain itself. These will however, probably have to be thrown away.
Luckily, you do not have to go through this routine too often. A drain only needs to be clean about once a month, maybe once a fortnight during the autumn season, when the falling leaves can cause more serious blockages.

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