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How to Maintain Your Gutters This Fall

This time of year is filled with pumpkin spice, apple cider, and the beautiful colors of autumn. Here in the midwest we also have the crisp fall air to remind us that winter weather isn’t far ahead. To make sure your October is full of treats and no tricks, consider these fall gutter maintenance tips.


Properly functioning gutters is an important part of protecting your home during the inclement weather of the upcoming seasons.


Repair Any Gutter Problems


If there are any problems with your gutters, the upcoming winter weather won’t improve them. Proactively repairing your gutters during the fall is a great way to provide peace of mind this winter and spring when snow melts and rain comes.



Clean Out Your Gutters


The changing leaves may be beautiful to look at and but they can create a problem for your gutters. Leaves and debris are one of the leading causes of blocked gutters.

Most homes are designed to direct water into the gutter system. But clogged gutters and downspouts can allow water to back up which can cause water damage to your roof and fascia.


Neglecting to clean out your gutters can allow water to run over the gutters or leak and end up next to your home’s foundation, in the basement, or crawlspace. Cleaning your gutters and downspouts ensures the water is properly directed away from your roof.


Gutter Safety


Before you begin cleaning or repairing your gutters, consider these words of warning. Avoid cleaning or repairing your gutters from on top of the roof. Stand on a firmly placed ladder and be sure the area below the gutter is clear.


While you work, keep separate buckets for your tools and for the debris. Make sure the buckets stay in place on the ladder by using wire hooks to attach the buckets to the ladder. And avoid standing on the top three rungs for your personal safety.



Cleaning Gutters


Thoroughly cleaning your home’s gutters this fall will keep them working as they should through the fall, winter, and spring.


A hose with an end attachment designed for gutters can make your gutter cleaning an easier task. If you’re going to be using a ladder, begin by making sure it’s firmly in place. Then, follow these steps:


Step 1: Begin cleaning the gutter near a downspout.


Step 2: Remove the large debris with a trowel and dump it in a bucket.


Step 3: To clean out smaller materials, flush the gutter lengths with a hose starting at the end opposite the downspout. You can also use a gutter-cleaning attachment on a hose. If the water doesn’t drain, check the downspout strainer and clean as necessary.


If gutter water still doesn’t drain, the downspout may be clogged. So do the following:


1. Check the drain end. If the downspout runs underground, you may need to remove it from the pipe.


2. Install a small nozzle on the hose, and lock it at full pressure. Turn on the water and feed the hose up from the bottom of the spout. If this doesn’t clear the downspout or the nozzle is too big, use a plumber’s snake tool to clear the blockage.


3. Reattach the downspout.


4. Flush the entire gutter once again.


5. Be sure to clear the downspout strainers.



Gutter Maintenance and Repair


You may notice your gutters need repair while you’re cleaning them. Follow these instructions if you find any damage:


Step 1: If you notice standing water after you’ve flushed the gutters, it could be that it’s not be sloped correctly and will require adjustment. The length of the system should decline at least ¼ inch every 10 feet toward the downspout.


If the gutter doesn’t slope enough, detach the hangers and adjust the gutter enough to drain properly, then reattach. It may be easier to work on small sections at a time to prevent the entire gutter system from falling.


Inspect the gutter sections and downspouts for obvious damage and missing parts. Support hangers should be spaced every 2 feet along the gutter.


Step 2: To replace or add hangers:


Install screw and ferrule hangers by marking their position on the gutter, drilling the holes in the gutter lip and fascia, then driving the screw with a drill through the ferrule.


Install screw-in or hidden hangers following the manufacturer’s directions. Most are attached through the rear of the gutter and into the fascia board, then clipped to the inside front of the gutter.


If no fascia board exists, use roof hangers with straps, following the package instructions. Typical installation involves attaching a hanger across the gutter channel, clipping a strap to the hanger, then attaching the hanger under the shingles.


Step 3: Repair any leaks in the gutter:

To repair leaks at the seams, make sure the gutter lengths are tight against each other and run a bead of gutter sealant on both sides of all joints.


To repair leaks at the end caps, add sealant along the inside of the joint.

To repair holes in the gutter material, ask a Lowe’s associate for products designed to repair aluminum or fiberglass gutters.


Summary

Properly functioning gutters is an important part of protecting your home during the inclement weather of the upcoming seasons. Before the winter weather hits, make sure your gutters are clear and working properly.


If your gutters are damaged or worn out, contact JB Roofing & Gutters so we can provide you with peace of mind that your gutters are draining water away from your home as they should be.

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