When was the last time you checked your gutters for blockage or damage? Most people don't spare a thought for their home's drainage system, but ignoring your gutters until it's too late can be costly and a serious hazard.
Why are blocked gutters dangerous?
Gutters are essential for safely directing water away from your property, but if they become blocked by fallen leaves and other debris, their effectiveness will be greatly reduced and put your home at risk.
Clogged gutters can lead to:
- corrosion and rotting around gutters and roofing.
- mosquitoes and other pests attracted by standing water and moisture.
- basement leaks, cracked foundations and sagging driveways as water accumulates.
- fire hazards as dry leaves and debris build up.
How to clean your gutters
Gutters and downspouts should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year, ideally before the winter when pipes are most prone to cracking.
It's recommended to have your gutters cleaned by a professional company, but if you are confident in your own abilities, you should first remove all large debris, check that screws and brackets are still tight, and make sure there are no hazards present such as electrical cables.
Gutters should be cleaned in a linear fashion using a hose and tightening any loose sections as you go along, starting from the end furthest from the downspout. When you reach the spout, check that it's clear by spraying with the hose and observing the discharge. If your downspout is blocked, it may need to be disassembled to reach the debris.
Protecting your gutters
The best way to reduce gutter maintenance in the long term is to install a protection system such as gutter guards, which prevent leaves, birds and other large objects from getting into the system. However, gutter guards will need to be removed if your gutters need to be unblocked in the future.
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