In cities like Vancouver gutters must have the proper number of downpipes to handle seasonal rainfall. A downpipe is an integral part of the gutter system that protects your home. Downpipe accessories can be used to modify the downpipe so that it can perform additional functions than a standard downpipe.
While a flex elbow is commonly used to connect the downpipe to the appropriate section of gutter, it can also be used to direct water flow from the pipe to other gutter accessories including a rain barrel or a rain drain. Since flex elbows are able to retain their shape after being bent into the required position, they are an efficient way to get around obstacles that might otherwise be in the direct path of the downpipe.
A splash block is used to direct rain away from the home’s foundation. Splash blocks can be made of concrete or plastic. They are typically installed just below the bend or elbow of the downpipe. A splash block is tilted for a ramp-like effect; in this way the water will be aimed away from the basement where runoff can do the most harm.
A rain barrel collects rain water that would otherwise just be absorbed into the ground and then saves it for future use. While it shouldn’t be used for consumption by pets, water collected in a rain barrel can be easily used for watering gardens, vegetable plots or lawns. In order for a rain barrel to be installed directly beneath the downpipe, the pipe will need to be shortened to accommodate the height of the barrel. Rain barrels usually include a mechanism to prevent overflowing.
A rain drain is a type of hose that is attached to the downpipe. As it rains, it fills with water. The perforated holes of the hose allow the rain drain to sprinkle nearby plants grass. Rain drains are available in a number of different lengths. Since they are designed to lie flat on the ground when dry, they don’t have to be removed when cutting the grass. Some versions of the rain drain will remain unrolled like a pouch beneath the downpipe until it rains.