Internal downpipes have made their way into architectural designs because there seems to be a perception that downpipes are ugly and shouldn’t be seen around a home. A plumbers perspective focuses not just on design but functionality of the system.
We always have discussions with the designers when installing internal downpipes because it does unfortunately create a potential risk for flooding in your home. Internal downpipes also make maintenance more difficult when the downpipe or stormwater system need to be serviced. Internal down pipes are usually linked to box gutters and if they can’t manage the amount of water that’s coming down then we have to rely on an overflow pipe which also has its limitations.
So, what happens when the stormwater line can’t handle the volume of water and the design of the house hasn’t allowed for a high level spill over?
Usually box gutters have a high level spill point which is good. This will work when the outlet and the overflow struggle to handle the volume of water or if both outlets are blocked. Unfortunately when we have larger than normal amounts of rain the spill point isn’t always high enough so what ends up happening is the water flows over the box gutter and into the house causing damage.
If you are choosing an internal downpipe design make sure you understand the extra risks that come along with that new design. You can successfully install them but as a long term installation, it might have its limitations.
For the most effective plumbing, water needs to be controlled. Let’s keep pushing and diverting the water away from the home, not bringing it into the home before sending it out to the street. It’s important that we get the stormwater systems right around our home. When we hide things we tend to forget about looking after them.