With summer storm season upon you, you may have noticed that your home’s gutters may not be working as effectively as they once did. As simple as they appear, gutters play a vital role in protecting your home from water damage by routing water away from your siding, windows, doors and foundation. If you have been neglecting your gutters, consider adding them to your list of do-it-yourself home projects. A commitment to maintaining your gutters is a commitment to maintaining your home. Although it may not be the most exciting home improvement project, it’s definitely worth the time and effort.
Gutters and downspouts carry water from your roof to safe outlet points around your home. If these pathways for water become clogged with leaves, dirt, or other debris, they can become clogged and cause rainwater to come in contact with your home. Gutters that sit filled with water eventually will cause the gutters to pull away from where they are attached to the house.
Your plans for gutter maintenance should include checking and cleaning your gutters twice per year, in the spring and fall. If your house sits beneath heavy tree cover, you might want to check your gutters more often.
Although cleaning your gutters is not a particularly difficult task, because you are working on the roof of your home, you should be careful to use a quality ladder and make safety a priority. Other than this and a few helpful tools, all you need is time to complete this project and make sure your gutters continue to protect your home from water damage, rather than make it worse.
Using a leaf blower can be an easy way to clear leaves and debris from gutters. Wearing eye protection is a good idea if you choose this method. You may find it’s just as easy to scoop out debris with a small gardening trowel or even your hands. Just be sure to wear gloves as the metal edges of the gutters could be sharp. Once you have removed the major culprits, flush out the gutters with a garden hose fitted with a high-pressure nozzle. This will clean out all remaining dirt and will help you check the status of your downspouts.
The high-pressure water stream may also be used to help clear the downspouts, though sometimes this method can further compact a blockage. You may want to try shooting water from the bottom of the downspout up into the blocked area. If water does not work, try a plumber’s snake to loosen the debris. If all else fails, you can carefully remove the downspout and push the material through with a long broom handle. Once all blockages are removed, run water through to flush out the last bits of debris.
Cleaning your gutters is a do-it-yourself project that should become part of your home maintenance routine, and once you get the hang of it, the process won’t have to be something that you dread because you’ll know you’re taking a relatively simple step towards prolonging the life of your home.