April showers bring May flowers, right? While we all look forward to the beautiful blooms that arrive as the temperatures start to climb, April showers can also bring watery headaches to homeowners. Leaky or overflowing gutters can damage a home’s roof and fascia. Water can spill over the edges of a clogged gutter, collecting at the foundation and seeping into basements or crawlspaces. Gutter maintenance in the spring and fall can help avoid these problems. Follow these steps to keep your gutters flowing smoothly and your home protected.
Try for Dry
Dry gutters are easier to clean than gutters right after a rain. Keep an eye on the weather and plan your cleaning for a time when new precipitation will not be an issue. Here in East Tennessee, those weather predictions can be a little bit tricky, so you might need to act fast when the day is right.
It’s About the Downspout
Issues are likely to occur at or near a downspout. Start there and work your way along the length of the gutter.
Using a trowel, scoop out the larger bits of debris, like leaves, sticks, or pinecones. Dump the material into a bucket as you go.
Once the big debris has been cleared away, it’s time to tackle the smaller bits and pieces. Using a hose, spray water into the gutter. This time start at the end opposite the downspout. The force of the water should dislodge and carry away any stuff left.
It’s Still About the Downspout
If your gutter isn’t draining easily at this point, you probably have a clog in the downspout itself.
To clean the downspout, attach a small nozzle to the end of your hose. Adjust the nozzle to the most powerful spray. Insert the spraying hose into the bottom of the downspout, with the jet of water pointing up. Slowly but surely work the spraying hose up the downspout.
Use a Plumber’s Snake
A hose with a decently strong spray will usually do the trick, but if your gutter is still clogged, you might need to use a plumber’s snake. Carefully insert the snake into the downspout, working at the clog until it releases.
Keep at It
Repeat this process for all the gutters around your home. If you will perform this regular maintenance regularly twice a year, once in the spring and once later in the fall, your gutters will continue to do their job with ease. And you and your house will stay nice and dry.