Are Your Gutters Ready for Spring?Mon Mar 20, 2017
What's up with our weather? Spring in Virginia is especially unpredictable and severe. From thunder hail and wind storms to balmy 70-degree afternoons, weird weather appears to be the new normal. But there's one thing about spring you can always count on: it’s wet!
And heavy rains can bring significant troubles of their own for homeowners. Every spring, we see hundreds of home insurance claims due to gutter problems. Winter’s cold wind blows last year’s leaves and broken twigs and spring unleashes spiraling seed pods. These can all fill your gutters and prevent them from doing the mighty work of running all that Virginia rain AWAY from your house.
Justin, our home protection expert, says gutters are the #1 most neglected and problematic issue he sees in spring home claims. Costly ones too- we’ve had claims run upwards of $10,000- $12,000 due to interior water damage.
Fortunately, they are also easy to prevent.
Answer these 3 simple questions to see if your gutters are ready to take on spring’s onslaught so you can avoid a messy and costly claim:
1. Do your gutters have the right stuff?
If your gutters have holes, leaks or missing parts, a professional can quickly repair them and also ensure your gutters are properly angled 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 gutters to sag over time making them even more ineffective.
2. Are your gutters clear of all old leaves, debris and plant growth?
Spring is the time to make sure your gutters are clear. Hire someone to clean them or DIY when someone is home to spot you on the ladder. If you keep up with it twice or so a year, it’s usually simple enough with a hose and gloves.
This final question is critical, so if the answer is NO, get it fixed ASAP.
3: Do you have gutter extensions at the end of all downspouts? (These need to be clog-free as well!)
Downspout water that drains closely to the foundation is an invitation to a wet basement and ultimately that costly water damage Justin was talking about. If your downspouts extend underground, it’s a good idea to determine where that water is going, especially if you’re not the first owner of the home. How far should those extensions go? It all depends on your yard slope. You want to be sure you’re directing the water as far as it takes to continue to flow away from your house on its own.
Wild weather and heavy rains are coming. Clearing those gutters and ensuring the drainage is moving well away will provide peace of mind that you can prevent water damage to your home.