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How to Stop Autumn Leaves Blocking Gutters

27th September 2023

According to the meteorological seasons, autumn starts on September 1st and ends on November 30th – that’s when it really starts to get cold. Throughout these three months, trees undergo physiological and biochemical changes to prepare them for the coming winter, starting with a breakdown of chlorophyll and ending with the prevention of the flow of nutrients and water to the leaves, causing them to turn brown and eventually fall.

This is where the science ends, and nature becomes a nuisance, as the leaves congregate and mesh together on the cold, wet ground and always find their way into our gutters and drains. Not to worry though, as Cotswold Drainage have over 25 years of experience in unblocking, lining and repairing drains for both the domestic and commercial market, and we want to share our knowledge with you.

This article will share some helpful tips and important information on how to stop leaves from blocking gutters.

Inspect Your Drains

There is nothing worse than encountering plumbing problems during the coldest months of the year, not only as you don’t want to be working outside in the harsh weather, but also as the icy air can cause debris to congregate and freeze, leading to greater blockages and risking structural damage to your drainage systems. Due to the purpose of drainage systems, they are designed for water to flow towards them and pass through, which means any debris, such as leaves, branches or twigs will be taken along for the ride. Inspecting your drains regularly throughout autumn is how to stop leaves from blocking gutters and drains, along with other debris. As the autumn leaves fall around your property, it is recommended to clear them whenever possible, by either sweeping and bagging them or if you can, using a leaf blower.

If you are unable to do this yourself, then the friendly team at Cotswold Drainage are ready to go to work and prevent any build-up, which could cause winter problems. Please call us on 01386 882324, or drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., to ensure your drains are winter-ready.

Trim Any Nearby Tree Branches

They say that prevention is better than a cure, and that is certainly the case when it comes to winter plumbing issues. Sometimes, the root cause of an issue is something that can be nipped in the bud early and simply, and it is often the case with blocked gutters and drains. The main culprits for blockages are leaves, twigs and even small branches, and these blockages can go on to cause major structural problems, such as cracked pipes, so taking care of any nearby trees early, will hold you in good stead for the winter.

Ensure you trim back any branches that overhang your guttering to prevent twigs and debris from getting into your system and keeping your drains clean. For further information on drain cleaning, check out Cotswold Drainage’s drain cleaning service.

Use Gutter Guards (Drain Guards)

A gutter guard is a protective layer installed over the top of a gutter and designed to prevent access to twigs, leaves and debris, whilst allowing water to pass through. There are various forms of leaf covers for drains on the market, which all aim to achieve the same goal. These are:

  • Mesh Guards - Metal or plastic sheets that are covered in small holes, allowing water to pass through whilst blocking debris.
  • Bottle Brush Guards - Cylindrical bristle brushes that sit inside the gutter, preventing debris from settling.
  • Foam Guards - Foam pieces placed inside the gutter, which allows water to seep through.
  • Reverse Curve Guards - Placed over the top of the gutter, a slit on the outside edge allows water through, whilst directing debris off the edge.

The reason there are various forms of the same solution is that different guards work better in different circumstances. When selecting a gutter guard, it is crucial to consider the common debris that collects in your area, the type of roofing material you have, the slope of your roof and the size and style of gutters.

Sweep Your Drains or Use a Wet and Dry Vacuum

Sweeping your drains or using a wet and dry vacuum is a great way to stop leaves from blocking gutters, by preventing any build-up in your system. A regular sweep is performed by using a drain auger, also known as a drain snake, to clear any debris and build-up along the pipes. The auger gives you greater reach. A wet and dry vacuum is also a superb device for removing debris build-up in your gutters and around the entrance to your drains.

A wet and dry vacuum is similar to a standard household vacuum cleaner but with two key differences. It contains a separate canister for collecting water and has a filter protecting the motor, making it ideal for clearing congregated and sodden debris.

Looking for a Drain Cleaning Solution? Speak to Domestic Drainage Experts

As we all know, the main problem most people encounter when it comes to drain cleaning is access. Whether it is the gutters on your roofs, the enclosed pipes or your covered drains, the ability to get to the root of your problem is problematic itself. Cotswold Drainage are the experts in all things drainage and can help with maintenance, repair and preventative improvements, so you don’t have to worry about the cold winter.

Get in touch and enquire today to see how Cotswold Drainage can help you.