Home Maintenance: Gutters

Topic: Clean your gutters!

An important step to maintaining your roof, your home, and your budget: Gutter maintenance. It’s is a terrific way to preserve your roof and save yourself some money in the future. Gutters are designed to collect rainwater from the roof and carry it away from the foundation of the home through downspouts. Since both the gutters and downspouts need to be clear in order to carry out this task, having clogged gutters could cause an overflow of water.

Why clean your gutters?

Leaves can build up and clog the downspouts, which can cause water damage to your roof and fascia (the board behind the gutter). Water pouring over the gutters or from leaks can end up next to your home’s foundation, in the basement or crawlspace. If the water has nowhere to go, it will naturally fill up the gutter and eventually overflow onto the foundation of the home – and it won’t stop there! Depending on the amount of water and the condition of the foundation, water could seep into your basement or crawl space. Foundation repair alone could cost upward of $10,000, and if water leaks into your basement, your home could be at risk of mold.

How to video from Lowe’s

How to clean your gutters in 3 steps:

Step 1
Begin cleaning the gutter near a downspout.
Step 2
Remove the large debris (leaves, twigs, etc.) with a trowel and dump it in a bucket.
Step 3
To clean out finer materials, flush the gutter lengths with a hose starting at the end opposite the downspout. Alternatively, you can use a gutter-cleaning attachment on a hose. If the water doesn’t drain, recheck the downspout strainer and clean as necessary.

TROUBLESHOOT TIPS:

If gutter water still doesn’t drain, the downspout may be clogged.

  1. Check the weather forecast before cleaning gutters. Cleaning will be easier if you allow debris in gutters to dry out.
  2. Check the drain end. If the downspout runs underground, remove it from the pipe as needed
  3. Install a small nozzle on the hose and lock it at full pressure. Turn on the water and feed the hose up from the bottom of the spout. If this doesn’t clear the downspout or the nozzle is too big, use a plumber’s snake tool to clear the blockage
  4. Reattach the downspout
  5. Flush the entire gutter again
  6. Be sure to clean the downspout strainers

BONUS RITA TIP: If your gutters look like this…

After cleaning it out, be sure to READJUST your gutters because they’ve been weighed down and needs readjusting to prevent future leaks due to movement. 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Buy metal grates like this one because they are easier to clean.

Caution*- Foam ones will take the seeds and sprout plants in your gutter!

CONCLUSION: 

A debris-clogged gutter can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Gutters are an integral piece of your home’s well-being. They serve to control the flow of rainwater to protect your roof, walls, foundation and landscape.

This process should only take one – two hours out of your day. It likely won’t be the highlight of your day, but at least you’ll have peace of mind during the next heavy rainfall.