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Downspouts are vertical pipes that act as part of your home's water drainage system. You'll generally find these at the corners of your house or where one section of the house connects to another. Downspouts attach to your gutters and lead rain water and melted snow away from your roof and foundation. Gutters are more often made of aluminum, but you'll also see them in copper, PVC (plastic) and even galvanized steel.
Downspouts are an important part of keeping your home moisture-free. Without downspouts, water accumulates where it drops off of the roof, often forming a rut and threatening your foundation. Downspouts give all that moisture somewhere to go. Since these usually are curved at the ground level, the water runs away into to yard, not towards your dwelling. Moisture that is allowed to seep into the foundation or walls can cause a host of problems, including wet basements, mold and mildew, and discolored ceilings.