Though gutters may be one of the more overlooked components of a property, they play a critically important role in capturing rainwater runoff from the roof and dispersing it safely away from the foundation.
The bottom line is that if a gutter system isn’t doing its job correctly, it’s likely to lead to pooling water around the foundation of a property, which can lead to basement or lower-level water damage. In some cases, water runoff may not be able to even reach the gutters at all, which can cause moisture to seep underneath roof shingles and into attics.
Because a properly working gutter system is so important, it’s suggested that you clean the gutters out at least twice a year: once in the spring and then again in the fall. And while you’re cleaning your gutters this fall, there are several other things you should be on the lookout for to ensure effectiveness. Here’s a closer look at how to get your gutters ready for fall:
Getting Your Gutters Ready for Fall: 4 Key Steps
1. Clean Them Out
The most important thing you can do at any time of the year is to make sure that your gutters are clear of any obstructions. And this is important for more than just ensuring proper water flow and dispersion.
When the likes of leaves, twigs and other debris build up in your gutters, they don’t just restrict proper drainage, but they can also add significant weight to your gutter system. This can cause your gutters to sag away from the fascia, creating gaps between the roofline and where the gutters begin to catch water. As a result, water may spill straight down toward the foundation of the property, rather than into the gutter and to the downspout for proper dispersion.
Additionally, clogged gutters can lead to water damage. Water may spill over the top of the gutters, pooling onto the ground below, and cause water intrusion and foundation degradation. Clogged gutters in the winter may also lead to the formation of ice dams along the roofline, which may cause water intrusion in the attic.
2. Snake Downspouts
After you clean the gutters, you’ll also want to be sure to snake the downspouts. While gutters run horizontally, downspouts run vertically. They connect to gutter channels and work to channel water down and away from the home.
Any debris that’s in the gutters is likely to make its way into the downspouts, where it can create obstructions and prevent proper water drainage. Leaves, twigs, and other debris are particularly susceptible to building up in elbow joints. The good news is that it’s fairly simple to clear the downspouts. You can take a hose and use water pressure to clear them. Another way is to take a plumbing auger to break up any obstructions.
3. Check for Damage
Fall is a great time to check for any gutter damage. Here’s a look at some things to watch out for:
- Sagging gutters or gutters that have pulled away from the roofline and may not be capturing water properly.
- Leaks in the gutter system. The next time it rains, take an umbrella and walk the perimeter of the property to check for leaks. Take notes and make any repairs accordingly.
- Proper water discharge: While not specifically linked to the integrity of your gutters, you’ll want to make sure that downspouts are discharging water safely away from your property. Make sure the land is graded in a way so water is dispersing away from your home and not toward the foundation. Consider installing downspout extenders.
- The gutters are sloped in a way where water properly flows toward downspouts.
4. Trim Away Branches
Last but not least, you’ll want to trim back any tree branches or any other landscaping that has grown over the spring and summer months and could scratch or damage your gutters. Any branches extending over your gutters could also mean more leaves falling directly into them. Take some time to trim away these branches as a preventative measure.
How SkyGuard Home Can Help
Well-maintained gutters can last for up to 20 years, but eventually, it’s likely that you’ll need to replace your gutter system if it’s sustained too much damage or it’s just not doing an adequate job dispersing water any longer. When it’s time to replace your gutters, you’ll want to make sure that you work with a credible, professional firm like SkyGuard Home. For more information and for an estimate on new gutters, contact us today.