General Maintenance Tip: Clean Your Gutters   Leave a comment

Gutters full of leaves

Almost all homes are built with some sort of guttering system – a series of gutters and downspouts that are attached to the roof line of the home and that run down along the side edges to channel water away from the house to the ground below. This system is important because it keeps water from traveling through the edges of the roof, down the walls, in the windows, and ultimately into the house, where it can cause all sorts of problems.

In order to keep your gutters working their best, however, it is important that you periodically clean them to remove any debris and leaves that can collect along the span of the gutters. When too many leaves or debris collect within these channels, the water has nowhere to run, so it winds up running down the sides of the house and that can cause problems with basement flooding and other areas of flooding inside the house.

The other problem that arises is that debris that is caught in the gutters that gets pushed along the route by the traveling water eventually winds up getting stuck in the downspouts, and that can cause a big backup because it is not easy to get to the clog.  The best way to clean out your gutters is to get up there once or twice a year on a ladder, put on some heavy duty gloves (there are sharp edges along the inside of the channels), grab a garbage bag, and then scoop out as many leaves and piles of debris as you can.  Some people will go up there with a leaf blower and simply blow them out.  This can be done easily if you do it on a regular basis.  However, if you let them sit and decompose, it becomes much more difficult.  Once clean, then run a hose with water turned on to see if you have cleared out the area sufficiently. There are specialized tools you can use for this job, but they are not really needed if you keep up with periodic maintenance.

As a home inspector, this is one of the areas that I see neglected in so many homes.  Gutters that are full of debris will just lead to more problems down the road.  It is such an easy maintenance item for a simple Saturday afternoon investment.  If your gutters are on the higher side, consider having gutter guards installed so that you do not have to climb up there nearly as often.

Posted October 24, 2011 by Adams Home Inspection in Uncategorized

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