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Spring Into Action: Essential Gutter Maintenance Tips

professional removing leaves from a gutter

The arrival of spring showers makes this the perfect time to tackle essential gutter maintenance. Properly functioning gutters are critical to protecting your home from water damage. As temperatures rise, ice dams melt and downpours become more frequent. Now is the moment to get ahead of the weather by ensuring your gutter system is cleared of debris and ready for the growing season.

With a few simple tips, you can easily inspect and clean your gutters to keep water flowing properly. Acting before the April showers will help prevent flooding, moisture damage, and other headaches. Protect your most valuable investment, your home, by springing into a routine of proper gutter care and cleaning.

Why Gutter Maintenance Matters

It’s important to understand why gutter maintenance should be a top priority. Properly functioning gutters have a big impact on protecting your home from water damage in several key ways:

  • Direct water away from the foundation – Clogged gutters can lead to overflow and cause flooding around the perimeter of your home. This moisture against the foundation leads to mold, mildew, cracked walls, and water damage.
  • Prevent erosion and landscaping damage – Overflowing gutters wash out areas surrounding the foundation and driveway. This leads to costly erosion, soil loss, and damage to landscaping.
  • Protect exterior paint and siding – Moisture seeping behind gutters leads to peeling paint and warped siding. Keeping gutters clear protects your investment in home exteriors.
  • Reduce interior water damage – Backups can seep into attics and ceilings, resulting in mold growth and dripping that damages drywall and insulation.

Regular gutter cleaning and inspection ensures your system can handle heavy rains and spring snow melts, keeping excess moisture far away from your home.

Inspect Gutters and Downspouts

The first step is a thorough visual inspection of your entire gutter system. Walk around your home and look for any visible sagging or detachment of gutters from the roof line. Ensure downspouts are securely fastened and clear of obstructions. Scan for small holes or cracks that may have developed over time. Catching minor issues now can prevent major headaches later.

Also, check that all downspouts are effectively directing water away from the foundation. Use a hose to test proper drainage. If you notice pooling water, splash back on the siding, or downspouts discharging too close to the home’s perimeter, adjust as needed. Proper downspout extensions should discharge at least several feet from the foundation.

Check for Proper Slope

check your gutters are angled properlyAre your gutters angled properly?

While inspecting gutters, carefully check that the slope is angled properly to keep water running smoothly. Use a level to verify the pitch. The ideal slope is around 1/4 inch of drop for every 10 feet of gutter length. This prevents pooling and flat spots. If any sections have lost slope, adjust hangers as needed to reestablish proper pitch and runoff.

Clear Gutter Debris

Next, it’s time to get hands-on in removing debris. Supplies needed include:

  • Ladder
  • Garden hose
  • Gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Small bucket or bag for debris

Start by spraying out smaller debris with a hose. Position the ladder safely and use the hose and moderate water pressure aimed inside the gutters from one end, flushing out leaves and dirt into a bucket or bag at the downspout.

For any remaining debris, climb the ladder and remove it manually. Scoop out leaves, sticks, pine needles, and other debris. Pay special attention to problem areas under trees or near overhanging branches where debris tends to accumulate. It may take several passes to fully clear all debris.

Flush Gutters Completely 

Once cleared of debris, do a final rinse of all gutters using a hose. Make sure any remaining dirt and smaller debris are completely washed away. Flush from one end to the other and ensure the colored runoff has turned clear. This removal of organic matter will help prevent future clogs and deposits.

Inspect Connections and Hangers

With gutters emptied, this is the perfect opportunity to check for proper connections and hangers. Make sure gutter sections are joined securely with no leaks or sagging. Look for any loose screw anchors or hangers pulling away from the fascia. Reinforce any loose connections. Tighten or replace any compromised or worn hangers as needed. Proper hangers should be placed every 24 to 36 inches.

Check for Gutter Damage

In addition to debris removal and testing slope, inspect gutters closely for any damage. Look for holes, cracks, splits, rust spots, or any separated seams. Note any areas that need patching or replacement. For metal gutters, check for hangers that may be pulling away from fascia boards. Mark any spots needing reinforcement. Even minor damage can turn major when spring storms hit.

Diagnose and Address Leaks

gutter leaksGutter leaks can lead to expensive water damage if they go unnoticed, so check for them carefully.

Leaks are one of the most serious issues to address. Start by looking for visible drips underneath joints during dry weather. Check for water stains or rust rings as clues to potential leak locations. For smaller pinhole leaks, a waterproof sealant can patch small holes. Larger cracks or detached seams will require gutter repairs. This may involve replacing individual damaged sections or hanging new gutters. For ongoing chronic leaks even after repairs, complete gutter replacement may be required.

Unclog Downspouts 

Inspection is finished once you’ve checked the full length of downspouts for any clogs. Use a hose to send water downward, checking for clear flow. Remove elbows and clean out any debris blockages that may have accumulated. Prevent future clogging by installing downspout filters or guards to keep leaves and pine needles from entering. Clear downspouts are key for proper drainage.

Consider Installing Gutter Guards

To reduce future debris accumulation and minimize required maintenance, install gutter guards, or leaf filters. These mesh screens fit over the gutters, preventing leaves and debris entry while still allowing water to flow. Guards help cut down on time-consuming gutter cleaning. Carefully follow manufacturer instructions for DIY installation.

Know When to Call a Professional

While much of the above you can tackle as a motivated DIYer, some bigger issues are best left to the professionals:

  • Complete gutter replacement
  • Structural damage repairs
  • Sections that require re-hanging or re-sloping
  • Severe rusting or perforations
  • Chronic leaks not resolved with repairs

Professional gutter cleaning services are also available annually or more frequently for those looking to fully outsource this maintenance. A trained specialist can also identify any issues needing repair.

Protect Your Investment

Well-functioning gutters are essential to keeping your home dry and preventing foundational damage from excess moisture. Act this season to inspect, clean, and repair your gutters. Follow these tips to keep water flowing properly away from your home. Paying attention to routine gutter care will extend the life of your system, protect siding and paint, prevent leaks, and save thousands in future repairs. So, grab your ladder and tools to handle one of the most important investments in your home, preparing your gutter system to handle whatever spring showers come your way this season.

For expert gutter services, including repairs and maintenance, Lednor Home Solutions offers superior products and work done by skilled professionals. Contact them to schedule a free estimate.

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