When talking about home maintenance, most homeowners would probably first think about keeping their house clean, checking their plumbing, maintaining their heating and cooling systems, and their electrical systems. But when was the last time that you gave attention to your roofing system, particularly your gutters? Unless there’s a storm in your area and you experience major leaks in your home, you probably won’t think about these things.
Gutters serve various functions to protect your property. When they are working efficiently, gutters channel the flow of water from the roof to the downspout, directing the water to areas away from the home. When a gutter is clogged, water won’t be drained properly and will cause it to overflow. Overflowing rain gutters mean bad news for your home as this could damage the roof or cause issues with your home’s foundation. How do I stop my gutters from being blocked? Basically, to prevent your gutters from being clogged, what you need to do is to clean them periodically to keep them free of debris. Besides regular maintenance, there are other things you can do to ensure the efficiency of your gutters – and we’ll share these other tips with you in this article. We’ll also provide you with a quick guide on how to clean your gutters yourself and other gutter maintenance tips.
What are common gutter problems?
Before we get into gutter maintenance, let’s first identify the common gutter issues that homeowners should know about.
One of the top reasons why homeowners look for gutter repair services is that they have rain gutters that aren’t properly draining. Our team at Same Day Pros often receives calls about this issue during fall or spring when their roofing system collects more leaves and debris than usual.
Another problem that homeowners run into is sagging gutters. This issue is often caused by leaves, twigs, or stagnant water – these things when neglected will add unnecessary weight to the gutters causing them to sag and pull away from the house. Not only are sagging gutters an unattractive thing to see, but they are an entryway for a more serious (and costly) damage to a home.
Did a hurricane just hit your area? When checking for damages, you may be keeping an eye out for broken glass windows or damaged shingles. However, besides these things, you should also check the condition of your gutters.
Leaks are caused by corrosions and damage to your gutters. These are usual wear and tear that you have to be aware of. When left unchecked, leaky gutters can lead to further damage to your gutter system, hardware failure, or foundation erosion.
This issue is probably hard to catch for an untrained eye, but an improper gutter slope is another common problem that homes have. A gutter slope issue could lead to water stagnating or pooling in the gutter. Some signs that you have this problem is when you have a gutter that’s failing to drain properly but you can’t see any visible leaks.
There are a couple of reasons why gutters sustain major damage, and it could be from heavy rainstorms, falling trees, or poorly installed gutters.
If your home has any of these issues and you want to have them fixed correctly, the best way is to call a gutter repair service. Find reputable contractors near you here.
Why do my gutters keep clogging?
With blockage being one of the top gutter issues in homes, it would be helpful for you to know what are the signs telling your that you have clogged rain gutters.
5 Signs that You Have a Blocked Gutters
- There are birds or other pests along your gutters – One obvious sign that your gutters are clogged is if you find small animals or pests scurrying around your gutters. Learn more about gutter rats and other common gutter pests in our article.
- Plants growing in the gutters – Besides pests, another tell-tale sign that you have blocked gutters is that there is plant growth. Seeds could end up in your gutters and if you have a good amount of debris and dirt in your system, it’s no surprise that a “gutter garden” can form.
- There is water spilling over the side of the gutters – Does it seem like there’s a waterfall on the edge of your gutters? This is a clear symptom of clogged gutters. An obstruction in the rain gutters will force the water to spill over the side – this means water isn’t properly draining as it should, and if left unfixed could lead to water damage in your home.
- There are stains on your siding – Is there discoloration on the siding of your home? This could be due to stagnant water in your gutter system, which could be caused by blocked gutters.
- The gutters are sagging – As mentioned above, gutters can sag due to the additional weight of the debris, leaves, and dirt that are left in the gutters. When gutters sag, they will be ineffective in carrying rainwater away from your house.
Tips to Prevent Clogged Gutters
Although blocked gutters are a usual problem for many homeowners, the good news is that they are preventable! Proper care and adding some accessories will help keep your gutters working efficiently.
Ensure proper gutter maintenance
The surest way for your rain gutters to work properly is to keep them clear of leaves, dirt, and other debris. To do this, you should see to it that you regularly maintain your gutters – this means cleaning it yourself or hiring a gutter cleaning company to help you do it. As a rule of thumb, you should make it a point to clean your gutters at least twice each year. It’s beneficial if you hire a professional gutter company to inspect your gutters so that you won’t miss anything and you can get it fixed before matters get worse.
Continue reading to know how to clean your gutters!
Add splash and mesh guards
Splash guards are good to have especially if you have a steep-sloped roof. When it rains, the water could be traveling fast from your roof so the water could splash over the gutter. Splash guards for the gutters are materials that you can install in areas where overspilling could happen (e.g. corners, valleys, etc.).
Mesh guards, on the other hand, are made of stainless steel, aluminum, or plastic that could be attached to the top of the gutter. The primary function of the mesh guard is to act as a cover for the gutter to trap debris and allow water to flow through the small holes into the gutter system.
Install downspout extensions
Another accessory that you can consider adding to your rain gutter system is downspout extensions. These are great (and we would say essential) add-ons as they are designed to handle huge amounts of rainwater, which also help prevent getting the siding and foundation of your house to be damp.
There are plenty of other gutter accessories that you can consider for your home. If you want to know more about them, you can also ask a professional gutter sales company for proper guidance.
Trim your trees
Besides your actual gutters and downspout, you also need to properly maintain the trees and other flora around your home. Remember, leaves, twigs, and pine needles are one of the reasons why your gutters get blocked. Make sure that you regularly trim your trees away from your roof to help reduce the build up of leaves and debris that end up in your gutters.
How do I clean my gutters?
As we mentioned, proper maintenance is key to preventing your gutters from clogging. This means you have to make sure that you keep your rain gutters clear through cleaning. If you’re thinking about going DIY and cleaning your gutters yourself, here are some of our tips.
Cleaning Gutters from the Ground –Although it will take longer, cleaning the gutters from the ground is the safest way to get it done. There are two primary techniques – one is using a garden hose and the other one using a wet and dry vacuum.
To effectively clean your gutters using a garden hose, you have to use an attachment, which is a rigid tube that has a curved end and an extender that allows you to reach the gutters without using a ladder. When using a garden hose, make sure you start at the end of the closest downspout and then continue spraying out the entire length of the gutter until you work your way back to the downspout. Do note, however, that this technique is only effective as long as the gutter is not heavily clogged.
Another way to clean your home’s gutter safely from the ground is by using a wet and dry vacuum. Again, you need to have the right attachments and hoses so you can reach high up. After you’ve vacuumed the obstructions on the gutter, follow up by flushing it with water using a garden hose.
Safety first! Standing on a tall ladder while you dig out leaves and dirt in the gutter isn’t always the safest way to go. If you are going to use a ladder, we advise you to use a heavy-duty extension ladder (a step ladder is a no-no) and have someone help stabilize the ladder at the base.
Cleaning Gutters Using a Ladder – There are three ways you can clean the gutters if you’re going to use a ladder. First, is using a leaf blower to blast the twigs and leaves out of the gutter. Of course, this technique will only work if the debris on your gutters is completely dry. Before you use your leaf blower, make sure that you cover the downspout with a rag so that there won’t be any debris or leaves going into it.
The second option for cleaning your gutters is using a power washer with a fine-spray nozzle attached to it. This technique is effective, especially for systems that are already clogged. All you need to do is direct the nozzle down the gutter and let the water run.
Finally, and probably the most labor-extensive way to clean gutters is using your hands. To do this, you need to have a study ladder, gutter scoop, work gloves and bucket. Slowly remove the leaves, dirt, and other build-up from the gutter into the bucket and when you’re done, finish by flushing down the remaining debris using water.
We highly recommend that you hire a professional gutter cleaning company if you own a two-story house or higher. These experts have the proper equipment and skills to safely reach high gutters and clean them efficiently.
If you think you have other problems with your rain gutter other than clogging, don’t wait for it to worsen and call an expert gutter repair near you.