Though you may not realize it, if you want to keep your basement from flooding, the first place to start is by keeping your gutters, also known as eavestroughs, clean. If they are not functioning properly, water will soon start to gather in the gutters. Eventually it will have to go somewhere and what often happens is that the rainfall will pour over onto the ground around your house. Although this might seem to be the end of the problem, it may just be the beginning. If the surrounding land slopes towards your house, the water will gather around your foundation. All it takes is one small crack and the next thing you know, there are puddles in your basement.
How to Clean your Eavestroughs Safely
To avoid clogged gutters and keep them in good repair, you should clean them at least twice a year; in the fall and spring. For the sake of safety it’s best if you do not attempt to clean them when you’re alone. If you must, you should wear a safety harness, use a safe ladder and wear rubber soled shoes. If your home has only one story, one idea for cleaning gutters solo without leaving the ground is to modify your leaf blower. You can do this by extending the blowing nozzle with HVAC ductwork and adding a u-shaped tube to the end. This will enable the device to hook over your gutter and blow out the leaves safely. Another option is to hire an eavestrough company to do the job for you. This can cost anywhere between $90 – $250 depending on the size of your home. While this may be too costly a process, if your gutter needs repairing and you have no experience using tin snips, it’s probably time to call in the experts.
Preventing Ice Dams
Ice dams are a common sight in wintertime. They occur when lumps of ice form at the edge of the roof. This occurs when snow gathers on the roof and the temperature in the attic is warm enough to melt the lower layer. As water trickles between the shingles and the snow it freezes as it reaches the eaves, where the temperature is colder. Over time, this grows into a hump of ice that gradually fills the gutter. An ice dam can cause severe damage to your roof, gutters and downspouts. You can prevent this condition by ensuing that you have adequate venting in the attic and eaves, and improving your sealing and insulation.
Can I avoid gutter cleaning?
The only way to do this is by installing gutter screens and permanent gutter guards. Regular cleaning is still a better option because it enables you to see if the gutters need repairing.
How do I know if my gutters need cleaning?
If you have rainwater in your house, if you see rain pouring over the edge of the gutters or if you see water dripping form the gutters when it hasn’t rained for a while, your gutters are clogged.
How do gutters become clogged?
Gutters are easily clogged by leaves and seeds which fall from the surrounding trees. This occurs twice a year, in late spring and early fall. Sometimes animals, such as squirrels or birds, may cause a blockage by building nests in the gutter.
How long does it take to clean gutters?
This will depend on the size of your house, but an average cleaning takes between 20 minutes and one hour.
Should I hire a professional to clean my gutters?
There are a number of advantages to hiring a professional gutter cleaning company. These include:
- they are experienced and can do the job efficiently
- it is safer
- they can tell if there is any damage to your gutters
- they can take care of necessary repairs
Gutters are important because they transport rainwater from the roof to a downspout and safety away from the foundation of your house so that it cannot leak inside the building and cause flooding. They prevent the formation of large icicles at the roofline, which could potentially damage your shingles. By stopping rainwater from dripping from the eaves, gutters also reduce the risk of rot in fascia boards and rafters.