Roofs come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. From heavily pitched roofs to completely flat roofs, expansive buildings and small sheds, this wide variety result in a great diversity of drainage needs. While roof drainage makes most people think of gutters, which are an important element, there are a great many more types of roof drains that are used in addition to this oft-used solution.

As a property owner, roof maintenance and drainage maintenance are of utmost importance. After all, the roof protects your property from the elements day in and day out. It’s in your best interest to keep your roof and roof drains in excellent condition with routine cleaning. But how do you clean your roof drains? It really depends on which type of roof drains you have installed. Not sure? Let us guide you through them:

1. Conventional Gutters

The typical pitched roof can usually use gravity for all drainage purposes. On a pitched roof, water simply glides off and into gutters, which direct water into an underground drainage system. This roof drain option is simple, inexpensive, keeps water from pouring all over the place and provides sufficient protection for doors and windows. In addition, it helps avoid water pooling around the property’s foundation.

However, the downside is that gutters do require frequent cleaning. While there are some covered gutter systems, the majority are open, allowing leaves, twigs and other debris to get into the system and clog it up. In addition, water may freeze in gutters during colder months, which can result in damage.

How can you clean your gutters? First, make sure you tell someone that you’ll be working on the gutters. When you do, it’s essential to use a secure ladder rather than precariously crawling on the roof. Using a gloved hand, scoop out any debris, leaves, and twigs from your gutters. Also, check your downspouts and scoop out any debris from the bottom area.

2. Scuppers

Scuppers are popular for flat enclosed roofs, terraces and parapets. This type of roof drain consists of small holes cut in the side of the roof so that the water can drain out. Metal or rubber is typically used to flash the area around the hole so that water doesn’t cause damage. After exiting the hole, scuppers typically connect to a downspout to direct the water to an underground drainage system. In other instances, the scuppers protrude from the building and allow the water to fall into a prepared space such as a gravel drainage area, below.

Luckily, these roof drains require very little maintenance. You can check to ensure that your downspouts aren’t clogged periodically. All you need to do is do a quick walk around the roof and check the scuppers, removing any debris. Also, check the bottom of your downspouts for any potential debris.

3. Inner Drain

Also a popular option for flat roofs, an inner drain is a drain or drains in a slightly lower area of the roof that connects to an interior pipe that leads to an underground drainage system. These drains typically have screens or protective barriers to prevent debris from washing down the pipe. Among the advantages of these drains is that there are no unsightly downspouts and gutters seen from the outside of the building and that there’s little chance that pipes will freeze.

How do you clean them? Check your roof several times a year, using all necessary precautions, and look for debris in the sieves. Remove any debris and replace the sieves. Also, check the status of the sieves to see if any replacements are necessary. Any clogs will quickly show in pooling water on your roof. These situations typically require professional help, as inner drain systems are rather delicate.

4. Siphonic Drain

This sophisticated drain is designed to operate at full capacity, reducing the need for downspouts and underground drainage pipes. The system essentially sucks water from the roof into the system and keeps air from being drawn in, meaning that the pipes can handle more. These systems work on flat and pitched roofs.

To clean this type of drainage system, inspect the siphons themselves to check for debris pulled up against the screen and remove any that’s there. This system also often involves gutters, meaning that you’ll also have to routinely clean out gutters using a gloved hand to keep debris from entering the system.

Whenever working on the roof, make sure you use appropriate safety equipment such as a harness and also tell someone about the work you’ll be doing so that they can be prepared to help in case of an accident.

Not sure you can handle it on your own? Contact Tom Byer Roofing at 714-892-1140 for assistance with all of your roof maintenance and drain system cleaning needs.