Fall means more than changing leaves and colder weather; it’s also a signal to do routine gutter maintenance to ward off the potentially damaging effects of winter. It is important to keep up with gutter maintenance because a leak, crack or blocked downspout can lead to big problems and costly repairs down the line. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you avoid headaches this season courtesy of your gutters.
- Safety first — If you are handling the maintenance yourself, it is essential that you take time to ensure safety. This means choosing a sturdy, standalone ladder that won’t require you to lean it against the house. Thick gloves and protective eyewear are also a must.
- Clean out debris – The most basic gutter care tip can also be the hardest to follow! Remove leaves, sticks and anything else that may have found its way into your gutters using a garden trowel or gloved hand. In addition, check for blockages in the downspout openings. Blocked gutters or downspouts can lead to water and eventually ice buildup during the winter, which can contribute to shingle damage and interior leaks.
- Rinse to check for leaks – After you’ve removed all visible debris, rinse the gutter and downspout with a garden hose to remove all residual material and check for leaks. . Make sure to rinse in the direction of the downspout in order to keep excess water away from your home.
- Fix any leaks – If you do find a leak, it’s important to fix it as soon as possible. There are a variety of options to choose from depending on the severity. Note: silicone sealer and patch kits are available at your local hardware store.
- Consider a pro — If you’re time crunched or do not feel comfortable doing the job yourself, , consider calling a professional to take care of the job. There are reviews available online of specialty gutter and roofing companies in your area. It’s a smart option to avoid any injury and to ensure the job is done right.