My Drain Surfaces Are Clogged With Leaves

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Leaves will clog an uncovered drain.
Leaves will clog an uncovered drain. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Outdoor drains are susceptible to clogging just because the wind can blow leaves and debris to completely cover them. When left to sit on the drain, leaves will decompose and eventually block the drain from functioning as it should to channel water away from the area. When an outdoor drain becomes clogged with leaves, take several measures to prevent the leaves from causing problems later on.

Remove the Surface Leaves

Go outside and rake away the leaves sitting on top of the drain. This may be enough to unclog the drain, if the raking is done within a day or two of the leaves falling. This may only be a concern during autumn when the leaves seasonally fall.

Vacuum Out the Clogged Leaves

The lower level of a pile of leaves left covering the drain for several days or during wet weather are likely to break down and enter the drain. The best way to remove this mushy mess is to scoop it away with a shovel and then vacuum the drain with a wet-dry vacuum. The suction of the vacuum will pull the leaf debris through the grates of the drain cover, and whatever cannot come up this way may be washed down the drain with water. As long as the bulk of the leaf debris is removed, the drain should be easy to clean this way.

Drain Overflow Problems

Leaves covering an active drain can cause rainwater to enter the basement of an adjacent home or flood the nearby ground or roadway. This is a problem that develops as leaves are left to decompose over the drain for a period of time. However, regular surface cleanups and periodic vacuum cleanings of the drain are cost-effective measures to protect against basement water damage that is expensive and time consuming to clean up and repair.

Drain Guards

Prevent leaves from clogging the drain with a drain guard. Drain guards are available for small, round drains. Fitting similar to an upside-down strainer cup, the drain guard’s slots allow water to flow through while blocking the leaves away from the drain’s surface. So if a mesh of leaves forms over the drain cover, it will not block water from flowing under or even through some part of the drain cover. Drain guards still require regular cleaning, but they work as viable solutions to keep drains from becoming clogged with leaves.

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