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Home improvement by WaterDamageDefense

How to Clean and Maintain Your Gutters

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How to Clean Gutters
Check your gutters and clean them twice per year - in the late fall, after leaves have come down, and again towards the end of spring, after new growth has accumulated in the gutters again.

Gutter Cleaning

First, clean out the leaves, dirt, and other junk that has accumulated in the gutters. Do this by hand, as opposed to spraying them with a hose, because you do not want to push stuff into your downspouts, causing a clog.

Next, once all the debris has been removed, use your hose to rinse out the gutters. Also, clean your downspouts by inserting your hose into them and running the water at high pressure.

Inspect Your Gutters

Clean GuttersAfter rinsing and cleaning your gutters, it is time to inspect – do this while some water is still dripping through the gutters. Inspect the entire gutter assembly for leaks, paying particular attention to any rusty spots. Use patching or silicon sealer products to fix leaks. Look at your gutter hangers. If any are damaged, replace them.

Inspect the angle of your gutters to make sure water flows downward. If water collects in a spot inside the gutter, you can tell it does not have a steep enough slope. You want to avoid standing water in your roof gutter, as it provides a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes around your home. A good rule of thumb is to drop your gutter vertically by 1 inch for every 15 feet that it extends horizontally. You can change the slope of the gutter by adjusting the hangers.

Splash Pans

Adjust your splash pans, located at the bottom of the downspouts. Make sure they are positioned so water hits them directly and so they divert water at least 3 feet away from your foundation. Splash pans help to prevent soil erosion under your downspouts; they are a good way to direct water so it drains where you want it to.

Debris in Gutters

How to Clean GuttersIf gutter debris presents a significant problem for you, consider installing a gutter guard system to help prevent clogging. These are screens or gratings that you can attach to the top of your open gutters to keep leaves and debris out. Gutter guards are especially helpful if your home is surrounded by trees that shed leaves or needles onto your roof, or if high winds tend to blow twigs, branches, or other debris into your gutters. Keep in mind that, although gutter guards maker it easier to maintain your gutters, you will still need to perform basic maintenance and cleaning periodically. There are also gutter foam products that can be placed in gutters, allowing water to flow, while keeping leaves and debris out of the gutter.

Note: To avoid bending or denting the gutter while working, be careful not to lean your ladder up against it. If you find that you must lean your ladder against the gutter, try placing a short piece of 2x4 lumber inside the gutter to help support the ladder's weight and keep the gutter from being crushed.

Regular gutter maintenance is essential, in order to manage the large volume of water that pours off your roof over time. By keeping your gutter and drainage systems in good condition, you will greatly improve your chances of keeping water out of your basement and avoid an overworked sump pump.

Image source: Mattox

Creative Commons License The How to Clean and Maintain Your Gutters by Water Damage Defense, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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