How to prepare your gutters for fall
Summer has officially come and gone, meaning fall is here in full force. While autumn brings pleasant weather and colorful landscapes, the colder temperatures and falling leaves create quite the to-do list for home exterior upkeep. Tools switch from mowers and hoses to rakes and ladders. No matter what condition your home is in, it is susceptible to the harsh conditions of autumn and winter.
Deep cleaning and repairing your gutters are never entertaining tasks, but they’re necessary to make sure your gutters are clean, unclogged, and damage free in time for the rain, sleet, and snow that is to come.
7 steps to prepare your gutters for fall weather & leaves
1. Clean your gutters thoroughly
Use that hose one last time before it’s wrapped up for the season to flush out your gutters. Spend an entire weekend climbing up that ladder to properly remove all the natural debris that has managed to fill up your gutters and downspouts. Give them a high-pressure spray down, and then put on some gloves to wipe away all of the remaining debris. To really finish it off and get the best clean, put some warm water and soap in a bucket, pour it into your gutters, and wipe them down with a sponge.
2. Inspect gutters for damages
After you have deep cleaned your gutters, you can now inspect them for any and all damages that may have occurred since your last clean or big storm. Make sure you don’t have loose screws, leaks, uneven sections, or any other excessive wear and tear. Make a list of questions to ensure you check everything. Are the gutters pulling away from the house? Are they starting to sag? Is the downspout lose? Inspecting for damages can not only help you save on repairs in the future, but can also let you know what needs to be done now for the upcoming weather.
3. Repair what is needed
Taking care of the necessary repairs will help your home in the long run. If you forget to fill up any cracks and holes in your gutters, it could lead to them springing a leak later in the season. Those leaks could lead to water or other debris seeping into the foundation or basement of your house. Don’t forget that fall and winter also bring rain, ice, and snow. The weight of this weather can cause even bigger issues with any leaks, cracks, or holes. It’s best to go into the season with strong gutters rid of any damages, so make those repairs.
4. Trim tree branches
While jumping into bundles of fall leaves on the lawn is a staple autumn activity, not trimming your trees could lead to clogs or damaged troughs. Branches grow in the summer months and could be directly over your roof or gutters. As the wind picks up, it blows leaves, nuts, and seeds straight onto your roof and/or into your gutters clogging them up as a result. One nice weekend, head on up to your roof to make sure you’ll be in the clear from all those falling leaves.
5. Keep rodents from moving in
The cold weather and precipitation of fall and winter sends nature’s furry friends to higher ground seeking warmth and shelter – think mice, rats, squirrels, possums, and raccoons. The concave of your gutters and the covered exit of your downspout make for great nesting spots to get cozy. Head on over to your home and garden store to get some rodent repellent and give your gutters a nice coat after you clean and repair them.
6. Install gutter guards
If you’re over getting up on that ladder season after season, consider installing gutter guards. These covers go over your troughs to protect them from the leaves and any other debris fall can bring in, but has pinpoints just wide enough to allow water to enter and exit your gutter system properly. They greatly reduce the amount of natural clutter that can build up in your gutters while allowing water to flow freely.
7. Call the pros
If you come across any severe damages or feel like you are not a DIY type of person, it’s time to call the professionals. If you find yourself on the cusp of needing a full gutter replacement, go ahead and do it. Waiting another year or two to save on some money could come with an even bigger price tag. One unrelenting autumn storm could be the final blow causing significant damage to your gutters that could harm landscape, home exteriors, or worst case, your interior.
If you live in a place that gets very cold, it’s wise to have a system set to prevent ice dams in the winter. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms on the edge of roofs or in gutters that prevents melted snow from draining properly.
If not treated, these dams can cause damage to your roof and siding such as leaks into your home. By adding gutter heat, you can prevent these ice dams from forming, which not only helps keep your gutters clean, but also works to prevent leaks.
Staying on top of your gutter system is always important, especially during the fall and winter months. A failing system can lead to severe exterior and interior home damage.
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