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Downpipes - Are You Meant To Clear Them?


Master Jedi Alejandro

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Evening lads,

Stupidly had a Jack & Coke and now I can't sleep 😅

We started doing gutters about 6 months ago. So far only for window customers (and a small bit of commercial) just to get the hang of it. Wanting to push it bigger now to see how it goes, however there is something thats been playing on my mind.

The downpipes, are you meant to include them? What we've done up until now is cleared out the top of the downpipes (as far as the nozzle will go) then one of us has went up close and listened to make sure there was airflow. Also, when quoting a job we explain to customers we clear the tops but if anything is stuck in them the price doesn't included taking them apart to clear it.

I wanted your guys perspective though. Am I doing this right or should we be clearing downpipes? And if so, how? I feel its the one area of knowledge holding me back taking this bigger. 

Thanks lads! 😃

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7 minutes ago, Master Jedi Alejandro said:

Evening lads,

Stupidly had a Jack & Coke and now I can't sleep 😅

We started doing gutters about 6 months ago. So far only for window customers (and a small bit of commercial) just to get the hang of it. Wanting to push it bigger now to see how it goes, however there is something thats been playing on my mind.

The downpipes, are you meant to include them? What we've done up until now is cleared out the top of the downpipes (as far as the nozzle will go) then one of us has went up close and listened to make sure there was airflow. Also, when quoting a job we explain to customers we clear the tops but if anything is stuck in them the price doesn't included taking them apart to clear it.

I wanted your guys perspective though. Am I doing this right or should we be clearing downpipes? And if so, how? I feel its the one area of knowledge holding me back taking this bigger. 

Thanks lads! 😃

We do the same as you but will explaine to the customer if the downpipes go into a soak away and that’s blocked we cannot rectify that that’s a job for a builder , we have however fitted inspection ports into the lower end of the pipe if customers want . We always try our best to unblock down pipes if they have shoes on the bottom and have only failed to unblock one in well over 15 years gutter vaccing that was a cast iron down pipe that was very small diameter it had like tree roots going down it and was badly corroded internally , we couldn’t even clear it with a jetter , I personally feel clearing and unblocking downpipes is the same job you cannot do one without the other 

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1 hour ago, Pjj said:

We do the same as you but will explaine to the customer if the downpipes go into a soak away and that’s blocked we cannot rectify that that’s a job for a builder , we have however fitted inspection ports into the lower end of the pipe if customers want . We always try our best to unblock down pipes if they have shoes on the bottom and have only failed to unblock one in well over 15 years gutter vaccing that was a cast iron down pipe that was very small diameter it had like tree roots going down it and was badly corroded internally , we couldn’t even clear it with a jetter , I personally feel clearing and unblocking downpipes is the same job you cannot do one without the other 

So how do you go about clearing them? We only have a small single motor vac you see. Anything else we should look into picking up (asides from a bigger vac, lol!)

 

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We endeavour to clean out all down pipes. Those stuck into the ground, soak away, can be a nightmare. To clear these we take the gutter apart at the joint of the gutter and slowly, very slowly, pull the gutter out of the ground. We usually inform the householder of the mess this can make.

Be careful to be clear when it goes because it really gushes and the water usually stinks. We will then inform the householder what we have done and recommend they get the soak away dug out and fixed.

The whole process usually takes circa 20 minutes. Be careful that the brackets aren't really tight as you don't want to break them.

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21 minutes ago, Part Timer said:

We endeavour to clean out all down pipes. Those stuck into the ground, soak away, can be a nightmare. To clear these we take the gutter apart at the joint of the gutter and slowly, very slowly, pull the gutter out of the ground. We usually inform the householder of the mess this can make.

Be careful to be clear when it goes because it really gushes and the water usually stinks. We will then inform the householder what we have done and recommend they get the soak away dug out and fixed.

The whole process usually takes circa 20 minutes. Be careful that the brackets aren't really tight as you don't want to break them.

Thanks man. Doesn’t seem too complicated. What about cast iron downpipes, though?

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27 minutes ago, Master Jedi Alejandro said:

Thanks man. Doesn’t seem too complicated. What about cast iron downpipes, though?

We only have one site where the cast iron pipes go into the ground and up to now we've never had this problem. However I wouldn't know how you would work out that it is blocked at the bottom. On plastic ones a simple tap tells you if they're clear, this wouldn't work on cast iron ones.

If we did somehow work out that it was blocked you'd have 2 choices, dig it out, assuming it is a soak away or tell the house holder to get a builder in. Personally I would think anything old enough to have cast iron downpipes would be straight into underground drains as, I think, soak away are a fairly modern idea.

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1 hour ago, Part Timer said:

We only have one site where the cast iron pipes go into the ground and up to now we've never had this problem. However I wouldn't know how you would work out that it is blocked at the bottom. On plastic ones a simple tap tells you if they're clear, this wouldn't work on cast iron ones.

If we did somehow work out that it was blocked you'd have 2 choices, dig it out, assuming it is a soak away or tell the house holder to get a builder in. Personally I would think anything old enough to have cast iron downpipes would be straight into underground drains as, I think, soak away are a fairly modern idea.

Thanks man. 
Not gonna lie, I’m slightly lost with it all. I think I need to clarify a few things before moving on. I enjoy gutter cleaning but want to make sure I’m doing it correctly.  

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3 minutes ago, Master Jedi Alejandro said:

Thanks man. 
Not gonna lie, I’m slightly lost with it all. I think I need to clarify a few things before moving on. I enjoy gutter cleaning but want to make sure I’m doing it correctly.  

Just go for it, if you can't do the job for whatever reason all you have to do is say so and walk away. It's only cost you half a day and the next 2 jobs will make the money up.

On Monday we did 3 blocks of flats at £230 a block. It was 90 minutes drive, there and 90 minutes back and 2 hours to do the job, including getting the ladders out to get a tennis ball jammed down the downpipe and well and truly stuck. 

So the odd bad job is more than covered with the majority of straight forward ones.

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Yeah I used to worry about this as well Op. I have the sky vac commercial (so not the most powerful ones) but I always managed to clear out the top of the down pipe in the end with it (if it’s blocked there) then after that, if it’s got a shoe on the bottom of the downpipe you will be able to hear the noise & feel air being sucked up the down pipe. If I have any reason if concern I’ll go up a ladder to check, but only if I feel safe on that specific area.
 

In almost 6 years of gutter clearing, maybe had 2 jobs where I felt like I hadn’t quite done what was needed looking back. Now I always say I use and vac and maybe a ladder to check, but I don’t take downpipes apart. Unclip the swan neck or take off the shoe and then put them back on but that’s it. 
 

 

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9 hours ago, Part Timer said:

Just go for it, if you can't do the job for whatever reason all you have to do is say so and walk away. It's only cost you half a day and the next 2 jobs will make the money up.

On Monday we did 3 blocks of flats at £230 a block. It was 90 minutes drive, there and 90 minutes back and 2 hours to do the job, including getting the ladders out to get a tennis ball jammed down the downpipe and well and truly stuck. 

So the odd bad job is more than covered with the majority of straight forward ones.

Thanks man. You're right indeed. Maybe I'll start with the downpipes on each job to make sure 😄

3 hours ago, RWCleaning said:

Yeah I used to worry about this as well Op. I have the sky vac commercial (so not the most powerful ones) but I always managed to clear out the top of the down pipe in the end with it (if it’s blocked there) then after that, if it’s got a shoe on the bottom of the downpipe you will be able to hear the noise & feel air being sucked up the down pipe. If I have any reason if concern I’ll go up a ladder to check, but only if I feel safe on that specific area.
 

In almost 6 years of gutter clearing, maybe had 2 jobs where I felt like I hadn’t quite done what was needed looking back. Now I always say I use and vac and maybe a ladder to check, but I don’t take downpipes apart. Unclip the swan neck or take off the shoe and then put them back on but that’s it. 
 

 

Thanks! Maybe I'm over worrying about it to be honest. 

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My school teachers told me I’ll end up the gutters, now I know what they meant 

*end up in the gutters 

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