Standing water on your roof? Build a gravity siphon.

Last night I got a call that we had a roof leak at the studio. It’s been an ongoing problem because the roof to the building is essentially a bowl (long story).

Roof flood

Before siphon


Rather than continue to sweep the water up (I know… up) into the gutters, I decided to rock some technical know-how and build a simple gravity siphon.


  • Hose
  • Zip ties

Take the hose and stick one end on the roof in the deepest part of the water. Zip tie the hose to something fixed to keep it in place. Notice I used the end with the plastic connector because it raises the end just slightly to allow water to flow in:

Flood end of siphon

Then throw the hose over the side of the building. Our studio is one story, so the length of the hose was more than enough. The biggest thing to make sure is that the hose end is below the level of the water.

Then, suck on that hose. I know – can’t we come up with a siphon pump? Sure… if you’re into that kind of thing. I used my lungs. Annnnnd…. boom:

I calculated there was about 15 tons of water on the roof. This took it off.

All hail gravity. All hail science. All hail the surface tension and other related properties of water.