Don't Forget to Remove Snow from Your Downspout

Don't Forget to Remove Snow from Your Downspout

Colleen Quinn
Feb 17, 2010

In my post last week about keeping your house safe during and after the blizzard, I forgot to remind you to clear snow away from the base of your downspouts. Unfortunately for me and many other residents of my apartment building, our management company had the same memory lapse with disastrous results. Buried under feet of uncleared snow, the downspouts froze, creating big problems once the snow on the roof began melting.

As you can see, the runoff from the melting snow poured into the downspouts but couldn't pour out at the base and so froze inside the pipe. As the ice in the pipe built, the water began overflowing from the top and streaming down the outside walls of the building where it too froze.

We now have a wall of ice cascading down five floors to a base over two feet wide and several inches thick right outside my bedroom window. Everyday as a little ice melts at the top and runs down the wall, the buildup on my outside wall grows, and the seepage problem inside my bedroom gets worse. My room is also growing steadily colder.

The building manager has been in to survey the damage, but until the ice melts and the plaster dries, there isn't much they can do. Attempts the other day to whack ice off the wall on the top floor ended when someone thankfully realized that having huge crunks of ice crashing down five floors and boucing off the garage roof was perhaps not the best plan.

This is definitely a case where an ounce of prevention would have been well worth a pound of cure, so if you haven't already done so, make sure your downspouts are clear before temperatures rise this week and lead to even more melting!

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