How to Inspect and Clean the Gutters and Downspouts

A fall tradition - cleaning the gutters of leaves. Here we see them clogging the gutters of a traditional home. Could be used for advertising/clean up articles/etc. Narrow DOF

Gutters and downspouts are specifically designed and set up along a roof’s edge in order to catch and direct runoff. That said, if the gutter has been obstructed or damaged, then it will fail to move the rain water away from the building. This would lead to leakage, puddling, and if left unresolved, serious structural damage. Thus, it’s very important to clean and inspect the gutters every six months, or more often if there has been any damage. Aside from that, when checking the gutters, use a ladder with great caution, and see to it that it’s firmly situated on the ground. If possible, using a spotter is more ideal.

Aside from that, here are some tips regarding gutter inspections, repairs, and maintenance.

1. Removed any major debris and fallen leaves from the gutter. To do this, you can either scoop the leaves from the gutter and put them in a container just drop them down.

2. For smaller debris, these can easily be flushed using a hose. On the other hand, for finer materials, running water will do the job. Likewise, check the bottom side of the gutter to see if there are any leaks and see to it that the water flows freely toward the downspout.

3. In case that the water is not flowing efficiently, you can try unclogging the downspout. If the downspout is connected to an underground pipe, then remove it from the pipe and use a powerful spray of water to get rid of the debris. If there are still some debris left, then a plumber’s snake can be used to remove the clog.

4. How to check if the slope is inadequate? If the water doesn’t flow toward the downspout smoothly, then this is an indication that the slope is not functioning properly. Hangers or spikes can be used to create a slope toward the downspout.

5. Check the spaces between the wall and the gutter– this is important, especially if the water flows to the side of the wall whenever it’s raining. After some time, spikes and hangers must be replaced, but another option would be resecuring it so that the gutter would be securely attacked to the structure’s rafter.

6. Check the ends, seams, and other important parts of the gutter where there aren’t any sealant or leaks have been observed. If there are any leaks, these should be repaired as soon as possible. Simply remove the old sealing material and apply a new one. Holes in the whole body of the aluminum or fiberglass needs a thorough repair and replacement of that part.

Other Important Reminders:
– It’s highly advisable to clean a messy gutter when the weather is nice, and there aren’t any events of rain for the past few days. This would imply that the debris is dry and can easily be swept out. However, if the debris is sloppy, wear rubber or latex gloves under your working gloves to efficiently clean the gutters.
– Just like what has been mentioned earlier, cleaning the gutters and downspouts involves the use of a ladder. Be very careful when using this equipment, and make sure it’s set on level, firm ground, and another person is watching and holding the bottom.

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