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Free Falling with Gutters and Downspouts

Free Falling with Gutters and Downspouts

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September 20, 2007

When it rains, you find out quickly if your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris.  If they are clogged with leaves and debris, the rain can't flow freely and backs up.  This usually results in water falling in a way it's not suppose to fall - like in a waterfall down the side of your house leaving dirty water stains.

Gutters and downspouts are important for directing the flow of water.  When it rains or snows, water has to go somewhere.  Without gutters and downspouts creating an avenue for water flow the house can be flooded at the foundation.   Your house can be severely damaged through water seepage.

When gutters are not kept clear of debris, water backs up.  During the winter months, ice dams can form which can damage roofs and siding.  Yet cleaning gutters and downspouts is not difficult if you have the proper tools.  It just needs to be done regularly and especially during the fall when trees are shedding leaves rapidly.

Gutters and Downspouts

There are several ways to clean gutters and downspouts.  You can use a pressure washer with a long hose extension for reaching high enough to blast the debris out of the gutters without climbing a ladder.  But if you don't have a pressure washer, you can still easily clean your gutters by using a ladder and hose.

When you manually clean your gutters, you'll have to move a ladder around the house.  You can scoop the debris into a bucket or drop it on the ground to be cleaned up later.  If you lay a plastic tarp down it makes it easier to clean the ground.  Once the gutters are empty, use a hose pressure nozzle and make sure downspouts are not clogged.  Then do a final washing of the gutters.

There are lots of tips people have offered to make the job of cleaning gutters and downspouts easier.   For example, you can tie a plastic bag to the ladder or to a cut-out bucket for collecting gutter debris. That way you don't have to clean the ground too.  Also, start your cleaning by moving away from the downspout so you don't force more material into it, possibly clogging it in the process.

If you don't have gutters and downspouts on your house yet, it's recommended you add them.   Installing gutters is not difficult with the special hooks and fasteners now provided.  You can also install screens over the gutters to prevent leaves from filling them.  But even with screens, you'll still have to periodically clean the gutters of finer or smaller debris that manages to make its way in.

For more information on gutters and downspouts

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