Why Underground Gutter Cleaning Is Essential For Your Home


Underground gutter drains are a great way to channel water away from your home. They are often preferred over having unsightly drainage pipes lying all over the lawn. However, as good as this solution is for dealing with water drainage, there are a number of things that can impact how well they function.

Common underground drain problems include recurring blockages and damaged piping. Why these problems occur, what you can do about them, and how to prevent them in the future will be discussed in this article.

With over 20 years of experience in the Kansas City gutter industry, we’ve had plenty of time to see what works and what doesn’t. So let’s get to it!

Pro Tip:

Don’t wait for small problems to become huge ones. Schedule your free consultation with Gutter Cover KC and protect your home with our underground gutter drain solutions. 

Understanding Underground Gutter Drains

How underground gutter drains work

Underground gutter drains (sometimes called french drains) support your entire gutter system by channeling water away from your home.

An underground drainage pipe is attached to the downspout (these are normally a pvc sewer pipe or flexible corrugated plastic tubing).

example of underground drain

This drain pipe then carries water away from your home’s foundation. The pipe is slightly sloped so that gravity can aid in water flow. The end of the underground gutter drain will open up in a more permeable area further away from the home, like the garden or in a specially constructed dry well.

Why underground drains are important

Underground drains can carry large volumes of water far away from a home’s foundation.

This is important because if large volumes of water collect near the foundation it will not only damage the foundation but it can also cause basement flooding. Both foundation damage and flooded basements are costly to repair. When it comes to water damage, prevention is definitely better than cure!

To function correctly however, these underground drainage pipes must remain free of obstruction, which brings us to the next section.

Common Issues with Underground Gutter Drains

Have you noticed water overflowing from the gutters? Perhaps water pooling near downspouts? Or even slow drainage that has started to back up and affect the basement? These are common signs of a clogged underground drain. There are a number of reasons these problems arise and they can cause significant damage. So let’s get to the bottom of it.


Clogged underground drains occur when leaves, sediment and other debris wash into the gutters, especially during heavy rainstorms (we have our fair share here in the Midwest, don’t we)?

The only way to prevent this is to install gutter covers. Otherwise, you may be dealing with clogs upstream in your gutter system.

These clogs will cause water to overflow the gutters, and they may wash into and clog the underground drain system. You don’t want just any gutter cover. A superior-design solid-surface gutter guard is the answer. 

Gutter Cover KC® offers ADVANTAGE GUTTER GUARD® promising you a lifetime warranty of no gutter clogs. Prevent the gutters from catching leaves and debris and you won’t have clogs further down the guttering system (in the underground drainage pipes).

Tree roots

If there are trees nearby, the roots can grow towards the moisture around and inside the pipes. Roots can infiltrate through cracks or breaks in the joints, leading to obstructions.

Incorrect installation or inferior-quality underground pipes

Older or poorly installed pipes may collapse or become misaligned. This structural damage then leads to an ineffective drainage system.

Up to this point, we’ve discussed the reasons why you may have needed underground drain cleaning or repairing. Now, it’s time to discuss what you can do about it. We’ll discuss two routes you can take: DIY and professional gutter services.

Professional Underground Gutter Drain Services vs. DIY


When should you call a professional?

Knowing when you can’t DIY is one of the most important factors in choosing professional assistance. Here are our suggestions for when you need a professional:

  • There are extensive or recurring clogs.
  • DIY efforts have failed to resolve the problem.
  • You are not certain of the cause of the problem.
  • You have a complex guttering system and work will involve going through landscaping, cutting tree roots, or going underneath pavement.
  • If doing so will involve safety risks that you are not sufficiently equipped to handle.

Benefits of hiring professionals

There are several benefits to hiring professionals to sort out ground drains and they are worth serious consideration:

  1. An experienced and professional gutter company can have a more holistic approach to identifying the underlying problems you’re having with your gutter system. The issue may not be what you think it is.
  2. They have the proper equipment to do the work.
  3. They know how to actually do the work properly, from beginning to end. No amount of YouTube videos beats experience.
  4. They should be able to offer long-term solutions.

For instance, Gutter Cover KC® has a strict quality process for evaluating the work you need done. When you book a consultation with them, you can expect:

  • A thorough 21+ point inspection of your guttering system
  • A Plan Design and Quote with solutions to solve your guttering problems

Our consultants need under an hour, but during this time they will evaluate the following issues:

  • Is the guttering the correct size to carry the water volume from the roof?
  • Are the gutter downspouts large enough?
  • Are there enough downspouts?
  • Is rainwater correctly directed away from the home?
  • Does the ground slope toward the home?
  • Is underground drain installation needed?
  • What is the state of the current underground gutter drains?

Btw, and just for fun. Have a look at what one of our technicians pulled out of an underground drain.


DIY for a clogged underground drain

When can you DIY?

You can do your own underground cleaning in the following instances:

  • It’s a simple clog i.e. it’s near the entry or exit of the pipe. You may be able to pull the debris out by hand (Just make sure to wear protective gloves!), or use a garden hose to clear the blockage.
  • You have the tools needed to clean the pipe without causing damage to it.

This is what underground drain cleaning would typically entail:

Step 1: Locate the clog. If the clog is in the underground drain, it’s often near the entrance or the exit of the drain. Manually clean these areas out to the best of your ability. (Be sure to wear proper protective equipment for your hands).

Just a word of caution, some people feel this task is going to be easily achieved by using a pressure washer. Before doing that, remember that this intense stream of water can damage the pipe. Especially if they are older.

Step 2: If the clog is not within the first few feet of either end, then it gets more difficult. If your underground drain is made of PVC pipe, then a drain snake can be used to break up the clog. However, if the drain is made of corrugated tubing (a much thinner plastic), this will likely tear up the underground drain, destroying it completely. Your only option here may be to dig a new underground drain.

Step 3: When you’re done then flush the drain with water by putting the hose on full blast. If the water goes through to the other end, then you’re good to go. However, if any of the water comes back your direction and overflows then either it’s still clogged or the drain is not sloped properly.

Cost of underground gutter drain cleaning services


The cost of cleaning or replacing underground drains is calculated by linear foot.

In the case of replacing or digging a new underground drain, there will be a base amount that covers the cost of materials such as the pop-up valve. Additional cost factors:

  • Material choice (PVC pipe vs corrugated tubing)
  • Will the drain be going under the sidewalk or the driveway?
  • Will it be necessary to cut through tree and bush roots?
  • Will the underground drain go under any landscaping or around it?
  • Are there underground sprinklers or other water lines that will affect the installation?

Each property is unique so it’s difficult to provide a fixed cost. The best way is to simply get a bid from a non-pushy company who knows what they’re doing.

Don’t be satisfied with a ‘guesstimate’ that ultimately leads to frustration and budget issues. Get your free estimate from Gutter Cover KC today!


Underground gutter drains are definitely worth it. But you have to make sure they stay free of debris. Look at underground drainage pipes as part of the whole gutter system. Ultimately, if you want a situation where you have to do hardly any maintenance on your gutters (above or underground), then you need to invest in a complete and effective solution.

In our 23+ years of experience (as of 2024), this complete solution looks like this:

  • Sturdy, properly sized seamless gutters made from aluminum, galvalume, or copper that can handle the large volumes of rainwater, snow, and ice – so typical of Kansas City. [Seamless Gutters] It is also critical they be properly installed.
  • A solid gutter guard made from aluminum, galvalume or copper that employs the scientific principle of surface tension, guiding water into your gutter and completely keeping debris out. [Advantage Gutter Guard®]
  • Underground gutter drains that are professionally installed, high quality, and are protected from clogs with a solid gutter guard. [Gutter Underground Drain]

Only Gutter Cover KC® can offer you the patented and technologically advanced design of Advantage Gutter Guard®. You can join the ranks of thousands of satisfied Kansas City customers today. We’re pretty confident you won’t regret working with us.

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