Most people often only think about the work their gutters do when it rains. Other than that, they are an afterthought when it comes to home maintenance and cleaning. However, your home’s gutters work just as hard all throughout the year, especially during the fall and winter seasons when leaves and ice can clog them up.
As we approach the fall and winter seasons, here’s how to prepare your gutters for the most important part of the year.
Give Them a Good Cleaning
The biggest enemy of your gutters and downspouts is the buildup of debris, dirt, and leaves that are constantly accumulating. Some people make the mistake of assuming that there can’t be any debris in their gutters because there are no trees close by. That’s not the case. Leaves can blow in from a greater distance than you would expect, and you can also find shingle particles, dirt, and many other things in your gutters. Clear away the mess and spend some time each fall on a thorough gutter cleaning, paying extra attention to the downspouts to ensure their discharge points are clear at the bottom.
Repair Any Damage
If your home has sectional gutters (not seamless), there are joints every ten feet where leaks may develop. Both types of gutters have connections to the downspouts and endcaps where leaks may also develop. You should also check the pitch of the gutters to ensure that they flow properly and allow water to move through them efficiently. Finally, give a look at the nails or screws that hold your gutters in place. If they are loose or sagging, get them secured. If there seem to be too many problems to fix, look into gutter replacement options.
Remove Nearby Branches
The closer your gutters are to nearby trees, the more leaves that will find their way into your gutters this fall. It may not be practical to remove an entire tree, but if a few branches are getting too close to your gutters, cut them away to reduce the buildup. Remember that the leaf accumulation you saw this summer is a fraction of what you’ll deal with as trees shed their leaves this fall, so it’s critical to do everything you can to ensure a clean flow of water through your gutters. Trimming tree branches also reduces the number of sticks you’ll get in your gutters and prevents damage to your home should the entire branch fall.
Get Rid of Rodents
A number of animals like mice and squirrels will be in search of winter lodging as temperatures drop, and your gutters may look very enticing to them. Of course, the first big rain will run them off, but it only takes a little dry weather for these creatures to build messy nests that will interfere with the flow of water out of your gutters, leading to overflows that can cause costly damage to your home.
Consider Gutter Covers
One final tip is to consider investing in a gutter cover system. These are affordable and easy to install. They don’t change the look of your home or interfere with the flow of water off your roof. Instead, they provide a screening function that allows water to move through unimpeded but blocks solids like leaves, snow, and ice. The result is a gutter that stays cleaner and works better, reducing overflows without requiring you to go up and down a ladder again and again. Gutter protection systems are available at home improvement stores as well as from professional contracting companies.
Need new gutters for your home this fall? Get in touch with Schmidt Roofing for a free quote on your project!