Owning a home is still part of the American Dream, but maintaining that home can sometimes feel like a whack-a-mole game from hell. It’s easy for the little things to fall by the wayside in favor of the problems that cry out the loudest. But what about the little problems that still make a lot of noise?
Your gutter system is one of the unsung heroes of your home — tirelessly protecting your roof, foundation, and everything in between. But whenever it rains, the twin demons of physics and acoustics can team up to create a racket that will, given time, drive you insane. This rings especially true if you have a bedroom that is near one of the downspouts. Elbows leading to downspouts can frequently amplify the sound of water running through the system, prompting homeowners to try everything from changing out the elbow or inserting a plate to divert the flow to even removing parts of the system entirely out of frustration. The trouble is that many times this will change the pitch of the sound but not necessarily save you from the water torture. But fear not — we’ve put together a list of solutions that have worked in our experience for the hand-on homeowner with an axe to grind.
Use some caulk: You bought that caulk, you might as well just put it to good use. Squirting a bead of gutter seaming caulk around the drain opening, leaving about a quarter-inch gap, and caulking a length of nylon rope next to the gap to run down the gutter and out the bottom can provide a drip-free path for water to run through. As the water runs down the rope, it should generally avoid the metal pangs you might be hearing.
Put some PVC pipe into place: Just a heads up, this may require a bit more work. But then again, you’re the family handyman and your family is counting on you to step up to the challenge. Installing a length of 5- or 6-inch diameter PVC piping around the noisy section of your downspout and filling the extra space with expanding foam may deaden the noise by giving it something other than metal to bounce off of.
Filter out the rainwater: At the bottom, put in a screen that is either made of metal or mesh. This will require removing the bottom elbow of the downspout, but in many cases, this can be enough to eliminate the sound.
If push comes to shove, replace the downspout elbows: After all, sometimes ending is better than mending. Admittedly, it is far from the cheapest option purely in terms of cost. But if the elbows are the source of the issue, it may be the best options in terms of sheer practicality. If you’ve got a particularly troubling issue, or you just can’t lock down the offending piece, you can always have your local gutter experts check your system and offer their advice. Your hands won’t get as dirty, but you can still take the credit for improving quality of life in the home.