As you can see in the image, I have a blockage somewhere in the downspout.

blocked downspout

After climbing a ladder leaning against the wall, I was still unable to see, nor even extend enough to reach, from the top. I am abandoning the idea of reaching from the top since I do not wish to lean the ladder on the eaves (please contradict if leaning a ladder against eaves is ever a sensible thing to do).

My next attempt is to reach with a drain auger from the bottom, after disassembling the bottom segment from the downspout. Do I have a chance of clearing the debris that way or should I just call someone to do it? How would they access it anyway? By walking on the roof?

  • Top access could be done by a scaffolding tower, a cherry picker or simply a ladder with a long standoff. But I'd always try from the bottom first.
    – Chris H
    Mar 25, 2016 at 9:48

3 Answers 3


Your chances of success are high. I use the "bottom up" method but I use a garden hose on full blast rather than a drain auger. Do I get wet? YES Does it clear the blockage (packed in tiny leaves and sticks from a Jacaranda tree) every time? YES

  • I wrote a solution and checked it off as "right" simply because that's what I did. It's still much too cold to hose it down and get wet, and I couldn't wait longer. I'm +1-ing your answer as a good way to go for those in warmer weather.
    – Calaf
    Apr 19, 2016 at 16:07

Disconnect the bottom bend from the downspout and use a simple metal coat hanger straightened out and with a small hook in the end either through the top or bottom.

Or simply use your hose without a handle on full blast as a drain auger from the top, still making sure to disconnect the bottom bend in the downspout. You'll get wet this way, but it does a pretty good job at clearing anything out.


The simplest solution is to let rain clean the downspout.

clearing blocked downspout

As you see in the diagram, the blockage will happen either at the dotted circle or at the dashed circle. If the workmanship is perfect, the dashed circle (straight connection) is not a place you'd expect blockage, but, well, it was hardly perfect when I looked.

To let rain clear the downspout, undo the connection at the dashed circle and leave it unconnected for one rain shower. Connect shortly after. You're naturally taking the risk of some water reaching close to the foundation, and so it's important to schedule this for a time when the forecast is for one brief rain shower, but one that will produce a nontrivial volume of water.

If that fails, the next option is to hose the downspout from the bottom, as Jimmy suggests.

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