Tips for gutter maintenance

September 26, 2013
 Tips for rain gutter maintenance

When it comes to home maintenance, the rain gutters and downspouts are often overlooked. Compared to other aspects of your home that might need attention, the rain gutters and downspouts tend to be “out of sight, out of mind.” Though the function they serve is rather basic, they are a vital part of your home and failure to maintain them could lead to costly repairs later on. Here are some basic tips for taking care of your home’s rain gutters and downspouts.

Prevention costs less than repair

Remember that it’s always cheaper to periodically inspect and clean your rain gutters than to repair your roof as a result of water damage. You might think that something as simple as a clogged downspout or rain gutter can’t really cause too much damage; that is a common misconception. Clogged rain gutters can cause water to overflow, damage your roof, erode landscaping near your home, cause roofing leaks, interior water damage, and pest or rodent infestations. The cost to repair these problems can easily end up in the thousands while simple maintenance will cost only a few hours and maybe a few dollars.

When to inspect

Experts agree that the best time to inspect your rain gutters is in the fall because that is when the leaves are falling off the trees and there will be the most debris on your roof. Leaves aren’t the only things that can block your rain gutters however. Pine needles, branches and twigs, maple seeds, and even the neighbor’s tennis ball can cause blockage.

If you have few trees on or near your property or have a screen or other type of guard protecting your rain gutters then you may be able to get by with an inspection every few years. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you have many trees, you may need to inspect and clean your rain gutters every three months.

Hire or do it yourself?

The question of whether to hire a professional or do it yourself really comes down to how comfortable you are on a ladder. If you feel comfortable working from a ladder then gutter maintenance is something you can easily do yourself, just make sure you’re extremely thorough about removing all debris from the rain gutters and downspouts.

The advantage to hiring a professional is that they will not only clean out the rain gutters but check for the overall condition of the gutters, repair any sections that may have come loose, and remove any debris resulting from the cleaning from your yard.

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