How to maintain your home’s gutters
Today, we’ll give you 5 useful tips on how to maintain your home’s gutters.
Why it’s important to maintain your home’s gutters
Maintaining your home’s gutters is an easy way to reduce the cost of home ownership. Congested gutters can cause leaks that damage furniture and appliances. Even worse, they can damage your walls and the foundation of your home.
Overflowing or clogged gutters cause water to fall along the foundation of your home. This can erode the soil around and underneath your home. Soil erosion can lead to cracks in your foundation and, in the worst cases, structural failure.
Generally, you’ll only have to clean your gutters 2 times: once in the spring, and once in the fall. If you have trees in your yard, you may need to maintain your home’s gutters more thoroughly. Let’s go over 5 things you can do to properly maintain your home’s gutters.
1. Clean your gutters
Cleaning your gutters is a straightforward process. Just gather the following materials first.
- A ladder tall enough to reach your gutters
- Utility gloves
- A hose
- A plastic scoop (optional)
- A tarp (optional)
First, put on your utility gloves and set up your ladder. Make sure your ladder is stable before climbing. If possible, ask someone you trust to hold the ladder while you climb.
If you want to keep the ground around your home debris free, spread a large tarp down. This is where you’ll throw any collected debris. Otherwise, you can toss debris on the ground and sweep it up later.
When you reach your gutters, you can either remove debris with your hands or with your plastic scoop. Do not stretch or reach to grab debris. If you cannot reach debris without stretching, climb down from the ladder and reposition it.
Once you have removed all of the debris you can, use the hose to flush the remaining debris out of the gutters and downspouts. Then, just clean up the mess and you’re done!
2. Have a professional secure your gutters
Over time, your home’s gutters can become loose or detached. This can expose your siding and foundation to water damage. Some DIYers can secure gutters with a few basic tools. But securing your gutters can be dangerous, especially when you’re on a ladder. If you identify loose or detached gutters, we recommend calling a professional for help. Don’t just let them hang.
3. Seal gutter leaks
After the cleaning and securing your gutters, look for small holes or leaks. If you notice any, you’ll want to seal them with a special gutter caulking compound, such as butyl rubber caulk. Use a butter knife or putty knife to spread the caulking compound evenly over any holes or leaks.
4. Repair clogged downspouts
Clogged downspouts can be a huge problem. There are several steps to take to make sure you don’t have any clogs.
- Check the bottom of your downspout and remove any blockages. This is the easiest fix you’ll do.
- Use your ladder to find the topside opening of your downspout. Bring a hose with you, insert it into the opening and turn it on. If water exits the bottom, you don’t have a clog. If it pools toward the top, you have a clog and should take the next steps.
- Gently knock on the side of the downspout as you go down the ladder. This can knock clogs loose. Then, run the water from the top again. If it’s still clogged, read on.
- If your downspout is still clogged, you can try inserting a power tool—such as a leaf blower or wet/dry vacuum—into the top opening and blowing the clog out. Be very careful if you choose to do this. You should ask someone to help you hold the ladder steady at least.
5. Direct water runoff away from your home
Did you know that a few inches of rain on your home’s roof can create several thousand gallons of water runoff? If you don’t direct this runoff away from your home, it can erode the soil around your home’s foundation, which can cause catastrophic and extremely expensive structural damage.
Fortunately, testing your water runoff is easy. Simply put a hose on your roof and turn it on. Pay attention to where the water goes. If it doesn’t run away from your home’s foundation, consider purchasing extenders to guide the water away from your home.
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