Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Prevent Clogged Roof Drains

Sometimes leaky roofs aren't the roof itself but rather a clogged roof drain. Roof drains clog over time with debris that causes a back-up which may eventually flow into the flashing or your home's attic. From there, it's just a short time until you notice water leaking through your ceiling or down the wall.

The truth is many homeowners aren't even aware their roof has a drain! Regular maintenance of these drains is just as important as the ones inside your home. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Cleaning vs Replacement

Sometimes roof drains just need a proper cleaning, although sometimes the problem is just age. When these drains get old, a replacement is necessary to stop the problem for good. Only a professional plumber can tell you if the drain is simply clogged and needs cleaning or if it's time to replace it.

Inspecting the Drain

To determine if there's a clog -- which may be due to debris or small nests -- an inspection is the first step. Debris and leaves must be cleaned away and the cover needs to be removed. You can often use a flashlight to see if there's any obvious problem.

Snaking or Hosing the Drain

If there is a clog, a plumber will use a snake to clear away most of it. The snake is carefully fed into the drain until the clog is freed. In some cases, pressurized water can also clear the clog and flush it away. It's possible to snake a hose into the drain until it's resting right against the clog and then turn it on at full power.

Pipe Brushes

Sometimes pipe brushes are used instead to clear away a clog. The pipe brush may be run into the drain until it reaches the clog and then pushed until the clog is finally dislodged.

Cleaning your roof drain should be done regularly to prevent problems, especially if you have leaves falling onto your roof fairly often. Fall and winter are the most important times to perform maintenance as ice and snow can also clog or block the drian.

The moral of the story is this: if you have a leak in your roof, call a Riverside plumber first, not a roofing contractor. A plumber will pinpoint the problem and determine if the drain has become clogged over time and requires cleaning or replacement or if the problem is really your roof.

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