The best way to protect gutters and increase their longevity is preventative medicine. Especially if your home is surrounded be trees or is subject to windy conditions, keeping your rain gutters free of debris and maintaining it on a regular basis can reduce potential problems like clogs or leakage.
Debris and leaves and debris prevent water from freely flowing through the gutters, into the downpipe, and away from your house. Depending on the climate, water that pools beneath a clog can do real damage, from causing mold to creating ice dams. Also keep in mind, a blanket of leaves or a collection of twigs can look inviting to a bird building a nest. Installing leaf guard, gutter guard or some other type of gutter protection will help prevent clogs and other problems due to debris build-up.
Another way to protect gutters is to trim trees in late summer, end of August or the beginning of September. This should reduce the amount of leaves that can fall on your roof. Optimally, limbs should be several inches away from the roofline.
If you’re not sure how old the existing gutters are, another way to protect them is to conduct a thorough visual inspection and reseal any split seams or apply sealant to any holes or cracks. Individual rust spots should be gently cleaned with a wire brush, followed by rust remover and an anti-rust primer.
If they are overflowing but there’s no obvious blockage in the gutters themselves, then the problem could be a blocked downpipe. Blockages can be caused by almost any kind of debris, including a bird’s nest, a clump of
wet leaves or a ball that enters the gutter and then gets trapped in the downpipes. Typical places a blockage can occur include are at the top of the downpipe, in the middle or above or below any bend.
Downpipes Blocked at the Top
Start with a visual inspection. Use a ladder to look down the top of the rain pipe. If you can readily see that the downpipe is blocked, use a length of wire with one end bent into a hook to snag or clear the clump of debris. Take a hose or pour several buckets of water to flush out any loose material that broke away in the process.
Downpipes Blocked in the Middle
When gutters overflow but there is no visible blockage at the top of the downpipe, then the problem is most likely in the middle. To clear this type of blocked pipe, first try flushing it from the top with a pressure hose.
If water the water still isn’t flowing as freely as it should, try dismantling the pipe. You can avoid having to remove its entire length by tapping it at intervals and listening for a solid sound. Once you’ve pinpointed where the blockage is, you can remove the affected section of pipe and then clear it out with a length of wire. Don’t assume that there’s only one clog; before reattaching the piece of pipe, continue tapping to see if there is any more clumps of debris.
Another tell-tale sign that a downpipe might be blocked somewhere in the middle is water leaking from seams where the pipe has been joined together. If this is the case, you will most likely find the blockage directly below the leaking join.
Should dismantling the downpipe not be an option, use a plumbing snake to locate the blockage. From the top of the downpipe, feed the snake into the opening until it hits the obstruction. Manipulate the plumbing snake until the
debris has been cleared. To ensure that the downpipe is working properly, use a hose to test for flow.
Whether you’ve moved into an older home or you’ve simply forgotten exactly when they were installed, there are red flags you can look for that will tell you it’s time to replace your old rain gutters.
Water and/or Rust Stains
Water and/or rust stains might simply be a sign, especially in Vancouver gutters are blocked, causing them to overflow. But if the reason is leaks, particularly in the case of a gutter system made of metal, water and rust stains
could be good indicators that its time to get new gutters.
Leaking gutters might occur in a “blind spot.” If mold appears on the siding of your house or on the fascia, this is another red flag that your gutters are not functioning the way they should.
Walk around your home. What do you see? When gutters are sagging, discolored, cracked or have fasteners coming loose, it’s probably time to think about a new gutter system.
Landscaping Near the House
What does the landscaping directly around your house look like? If there are channels in the grass or dirt, this is another indication that the gutters are not doing their job. Also inspect the ground for any washed-out spots or pools of water after a heavy rain storm.
MHC Gutters takes pride in serving communities throughout the Lower Mainland. Since 1999, we have specialized in the installation of gutter and siding. We understand the importance of good gutter system and how it can
protect your home or business from harm. We also understand that purchasing gutters or siding can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for or how to decide what to choose. Content is designed to educate and answer common questions or concerns homeowners and consumers might have when shopping for a gutter system or purchasing siding.
In the process of making an informed buying decision, we hope that our experience and insight will assist you in determining a gutter system or the type of siding that will best suit your home. Please visit our MHC Gutters Blog
often for articles about gutters, siding, gutter protection and other topics of interest.