A Guide to Downspout and Gutter Maintenance
Home maintenance on your gutters is essential. One of the most important things to maintain in your home is downspouts and your gutters. A lot of people neglect these sections because they are a pain to clean and they are also dangerous, since you have to get up on a ladder to clean them out. But the truth is that when you allow debris to build up in your downspouts and gutters, they can cause a lot of problems for your home.
Common Problems Caused by Blocked Downspouts and Gutters
Cracked Foundations and Leaking Basements – Gutters that are clogged are the biggest cause of water problems in the basement. The water from the roof overflows and then accumulates around a home’s foundation. When this happens, it can cause basement leaks. The extra water against your foundation often weakens footings and causes cracks.
Rotted Wood – Anytime a gutter has debris piled against the shingle line or flashing, this debris often holds moisture on fascia board. The moisture also can have an effect on the roof framing and sheathing beyond your fascia. Debris acts as a wick, brining water that’s in the gutter’s bottom to the home’s fascia. A lot of homeowners spend large amounts of money to replace rotted wood which could have been prevented by cleaning their gutters.
Insects and Animals – Not cleaning your gutters can also cause the water to collect in the areas that have been dammed by the debris. This type of condition’s ideal for mosquitos. Birds, insects, plants, and sometimes mice will use the debris in your gutter for a home.
Sagging Driveways – Downspouts and gutters which are clogged also can cause your walkways and driveway to crack and sag.
How to Clean Your Gutters
Now that you know why you should clear out your downspouts and gutters, let’s look at how to clean them. Here are some tips that you can use for specific situations.
One of the things you’ll have to decide is the way you’re going to collect the items from your gutters. When you have damp gutter contents, you are able to use one or two methods for removing it. The first is the scoop & dump and the second is the gutter bucket. When you use the method known as gutter bucket, the damp materials let you pack your bucket in a denser way. The scoop & drop method stops leaves from going all over the place when they’re dropped.
Scoop & drop – This means that you simply scoop the items out of your gutter and then drop them onto a drop cloth or plastic tarp. This is a very fast method and then you just have to move your cloth or tarp as you’re moving your ladder. When it becomes full, simply dump your leaves into your trash bag or compost pile.
Gutter bucket – This is really common and it involves taking a bucket with a handle made of metal, then cutting its handle in two at its middle. You then bend the handle ends into the shape of hooks that are hooked onto the gutter’s edge. Then you just scoop out your gutter, emptying it into your bucket. This requires you to go do a lot of traveling on your ladder, however, since your bucket will fill up fast.
When you have gutter contents that are dry, you should use the method known as gutter bag. With this method, you use a bucket much like the method known as gutter bucket. But in this situation, you’re going to cut off your bucket’s bottom so that your bucket’s bottomless.
Then you take one of your trash bags and put it around your bucket just below its metal handle. This can be accomplished using a big rubber band, duct tape, or Velcro strap.
You are then able to easily empty your dry contents your bag since your bucket serves like a throat and form for your bag. This works well because your leaves are dry and they’re bulky but light.
Cleaning Your Gutters
Once you have figured out your leaf collection method, you will be cleaning your gutters. You are able to use a lot of different things for scooping out your gutters. You are able to make a scooper using jug that has a handle but if you don’t want to make your own, you can use a garden spade or trowel. You also can use kitchen tools like spatulas.
Clear Your Downspouts
After your gutters are free of debris, it’s important to ensure that your downspouts also are cleared before rinsing your gutters.
Take your hose and put it into your downspout. It’s best to have someone turn on your water and check for flow from your downspout. If your downspout’s clogged, you can take the following steps to help clean the downspout out:
Pack your downspout’s opening around your hose using a rag, so that the hose is sealed tight. Turn on your water pressure up to full force, looking for your clog to become clear and your water to start flowing freely from your downspout’s bottom.
If there’s still a clog, you will need to clear the clog out. Remove your hose and clear your clog manually with your plumbing snake. Feed your snake you’re your downspout’s top until you feel it hitting your obstruction. This will usually be at a curve. After you think it’s been cleared, test your flow again with your hose.
Rinse & Repeat
Do you have everything cleaned out now? If so, that’s great. Next you want to rinse your downspout and gutter system, flushing them both out. This should be done using your hose that supplies water at your furthest section of gutter from your downspout opening. Once a section of gutter’s been rinsed clear, you are done with that section.
Then do the whole process that’s in this article on another section of gutter going around your house. Keep your downspouts and gutters clean and your home will stay safe.
About Gulf Coast Exteriors
GCE Gutters is a residential and commercial gutter service committed to providing professional quality service at a competitively low prices in Fort Myers and Cape Coral Florida. Let GCE Gutters show you how we are becoming the area’s finest gutter cleaning, repair and installation company in Lee County.