You probably don’t think about your home’s gutters and downspouts very often, but a problem with your roof’s drainage system can leave you with a wet basement, a mosquito problem, puddles in your yard or even serious damage to your home’s foundation. Cleaning gutters isn’t on anyone’s list of favorite activities, but good gutter and downspout maintenance can save you a heck of a lot of headaches.
Now that spring is here and we are all beginning to go outdoors more, the time is just right to clean and inspect your gutters and downspouts. Having things in good working order before those famous April showers arrive will help you keep your home dry and healthy.
A good cleaning is the first step to gutter and downspout care. The Foundation Repair Association recommends cleaning your gutters and downspouts every spring and fall, and more often if you have a tall tree near your house. Clean the gutters first, using a ladder and any tool that will work for scooping out vegetation, such as a garden trowel. Next, use your garden hose to spray water into the top of your downspout to make sure it is free of clogs. If the water doesn’t flow freely out of the bottom, clear the clog with a pipe snake. Finally, use your garden hose to rinse the gutter clean. Repeat the process with all of your home’s gutters and downspouts.
Once your roof’s drainage system is clean, it’s time to make sure the system is doing its job. First, check the gutters and downspouts for any holes, corrosion or other damage. Check the connections between the gutters and downspouts, and make sure the components are secured to your house so they will not blow loose in a storm.
Next, pour water from a bucket or spray your garden hose into the end of the gutter farthest from the downspout, and watch to make sure the water flows freely and drains completely into the downspout. If water pools anywhere along the way, adjust the gutter’s slope to get rid of high and low spots. Your home’s gutters should drop at least one inch vertically for every eight feet of horizontal length–anything less, and rain water may pour over the edge of the gutter during a storm.
Once you’ve made sure your gutters are draining properly, it’s time to check the ends of the downspouts. In order to drain rain water a safe distance from your home, the Foundation Repair Association recommends adding extensions to your downspouts that will release the water at least 5 feet from your home’s foundation. A splash block at the end of the extension will help prevent pooling.
If your spring cleaning includes ridding your roof of ugly and damaging moss, algae, lichen or mold, remember that using a bleach solution can lead to corrosive damage to your gutters and downspouts. Wet & Forget will leave your roof clear of ugly growths without harming your home’s roof drainage system.