Spring weather is a welcome respite from the colder winter months. But it also brings new tasks for homeowners, including cleaning out your gutters and repairing them from any possible winter damage.
We looked to BobVila.com for some advice on how to care for gutters. Here’s what Donna Boyle Schwartz wrote for his blog:
“Experts agree that regular examination and maintenance will help reduce the need for gutter repairs and replacement. ‘One of the biggest problems we see with regular gutters is that the problems are hidden from view for most homeowners,’ points out Robert Lowe, director of operations for Englert LeafGuard, a leading manufacturer of covered one-piece gutter systems. ‘From the ground it is very difficult to see inside of the gutter; therefore, most problems with built-up debris are noticed only when it is too late and damage is occurring.
‘The most common problem is the obvious leaves and debris clogging the gutters, making the water back up over the top and damaging the fascia board, then the decking, the rafters, and in some cases the foundation of the home itself,’ Lowe continues. ‘If you have ever experienced gutters that are pulling away from the house, or if you have to keep pushing the spikes back into the gutters to hold them to the house, these are tell-tale signs of fascia board damage. The problems need to be fixed as soon as possible because damage ramps up fast—as the gutter starts to sag, it can cause more water to run over, which in turn leads to more and faster damage.’
A simple way to check on a gutter’s performance is to wait for a rainy day and look to see if water is emptying from the downspouts. If water isn’t flowing freely from the bottom of a downspout, or if you notice water overflowing the edges of the gutter, there is debris clogging the gutters or downspouts or both.
According to Lowe, the easiest answer to most gutter problems is to clean your gutters on a regular basis. Most debris consists of small leaves and twigs that can either be scooped out by hand or removed with a handheld leaf blower or wet/dry vacuum. Flushing the gutters with a garden hose removes dirt and small particles. For denser debris, you may want to invest in a gutter cleaning tool. Most clogged downspouts can be flushed with a garden hose; use a plumber’s snake to break up those really stubborn clogs. (Note: If you are climbing a ladder, be sure to follow safety measures.)’
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