What's Lurking in Your Home's Gutters?Tue Oct 25, 2016
On one of our early fall weekends, I decided it was an opportune time to check out a garage gutter. It hadn’t drained well when Virginia was clipped by Hurricane Matthew's massive rains. Being the brave and careful DIYer in our home, I brushed up on ladder safety tips and ventured up with my husband spotting me below (during halftime of course).
Wilson! Two tennis balls and a super- sized bouncy ball later, my gutter was back in business. While the tennis balls were easily removed from the gutter pipe, the giant bouncy ball was actually lodged in the downspout creating massive clog. We had to disconnect the downspout to finally free it. Thankfully, or maybe not, my son is much more interested in girls than bouncy balls these days.
Ahhh, gutters! These unsung heroes are a critical part of your home’s water-proofing! Imagine just a fraction of rain hurricane Harvey brought to Texas coming to Virginia. And think of all that snow and ice melting down from the roof towards your foundation this winter.
The gutter system must do the mighty work of running massive amounts of water AWAY from the house. Fall is the perfect time to get them right!
Travis, our NNINS expert, says gutters are the #1 most neglected and problematic issue he sees in external home inspections. Critical during hurricane season but simple to fix. Just follow these three easy steps to ensure your gutters are ready and waiting for any watery assault.
1. Ensure your gutter has all the necessary components to work!
If you’re missing any parts of your gutter system, a professional can repair it and also ensure your gutters are at a slight angle towards the downspout. Many DIYers make the mistake of hanging the gutters level allowing water to sit. Growth of moss or lichen in gutter pipes can indicate they’re not properly pitched.And that remaining water will also cause the gutter to sag over time making it even more ineffective.
2. Ensure your gutters are clear of any plant growth, leaves or debris (& bouncy balls).
Clean out your gutter system twice a year: at the end of spring and the end of fall after all the leaves are off the trees. It’s also smart do it when someone is home to spot you. There are all kinds of tricks and gizmos to help with the job but if you do it routinely, it’s usually simple enough with a ladder, hose and gloves.
THIS IS CRITICAL. REMEMBER: THE WHOLE POINT IS TO DIRECT WATER AWAY FROM THE HOUSE.
3. Ensure you have low-cost gutter extensions at the end of all downspouts (these need to be clog free as well)!
Downspout water that pools close to the foundation is an invitation to a wet basement and ultimately costly water damage inside your home. If your downspouts extend underground, it’s a good idea to determine where that water’s going, especially if you’re not the first owner of the home. How far should those extensions go? It all depends on yard slope. You want to be sure you’re directing the water to continue to flow away from your house on its own.
Easy as 1,2,3! Sooo much better than a moldly, wet basement! So, what's lurking in your gutters? And how well are they going to protect your home for the next hurricane and this winter? We’re bound to have plenty nice autumn days. So go make them awesome!