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Four Steps to Get Your Gutters Ready for Spring

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There are signs that spring is just around the corner here in the mid-Atlantic. The days are longer, the sun is warmer, and spring bulbs are beginning to bloom. While they say April showers bring May flowers, you should check to make sure your gutter system is ready to handle all that rain.

It's important that your gutters are clean, clog-free, and in good shape. They are the primary means for rainwater to be carried off your roof, into the downspouts, and away from your foundation. Performing a gutter inspection and basic gutter maintenance tasks is a fairly easy spring DIY project for a homeowner.

  1. Do a thorough cleaning of all gutters and downspouts. Debris can create clogs that will cause the gutters to overflow, and can dam up the downspouts causing water to back up.
  2. Check for clogs. A notorious area for clogs is where the downspout connects to the rain gutter. They’re usually connected with an elbow, which is easy enough to remove. If you’re unable to clear a clog farther down the downspout, you may need to use a metal plumber’s snake.
  3. Make sure the pitch of your gutters is angled properly. For water to drain through the gutters efficiently, there should be a ¼” downward slope for every 10 feet of gutter. To adjust an improper pitch, the solution is often as simple as bending the hangers that support the gutters.
  4. Check for leaks at gutter seams or holes and repair as necessary. Leaking seams can be sealed with caulk. For rusty holes, it’s important to remove the rust with a wire brush and wipe clean before sealing with plastic gutter cement. If the hole is large you may consider replacing the entire section of gutter.

When working up on a ladder, keep all safety precautions in mind. Your ladder should be on solid ground and rest securely against the side of the house. Always keep one hand on the ladder to prevent falls. Take a look at the debris in your gutter – if it’s dry, you can scoop out the contents and drop onto the ground below or deposit them into a plastic bag attached to the ladder.

Having gutters operating at optimum levels when spring rolls around protects your home and property from rain water damage. Take the time now to inspect your gutters and perform any necessary maintenance so they're ready to handle spring downpours.

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