As fall descends, the leaves begin to brown and spiral down onto our grass and into our guttering.
As beautiful as this season can be, it can bring damage to your property, especially for those among us who delay in taking care of what should be done right away.
Seasonal gutter cleaning is essential work. Here are some basic tips, warnings, and reminders that are going to get you up a ladder and in the long run, prevent major repairs and ultimately save you money. Here we go.
Clogged guttering can cause water to overflow and rest around the foundations. This weakens the footings and can cause the foundation wall to crack. Not only that, you will also have basement water problems. Foundation problems due to clogged guttering are much more likely in the colder season when the water at the foundations freezes and causes something known as frost-heave. When this happens, it can cause major cracks and cost a chunk of change to fix.
Again this is a problem that occurs in the colder months. During winter, ice dams can form up in your clogged guttering and when the next thaw comes around, the blocked water is going to run down the back of your house, potentially causing some costly wall and ceiling damage.
Overflowing gutters can pour onto the sidewalk, freeze, and cause a hazard that you are liable for. Misdirected or clogged guttering can also cause your driveway to sag and crack. Avoid these problems by cleaning your guttering and making sure that the spouts extend away from any walking areas.
Wood-eating bugs love moisture. Clean guttering keeps the soil around your property dry and discourages wood-eating bugs from feasting on your two-by-fours.
According to the National Safety Council, more than 6,000 people die and 30,000 are injured as a result of falling from a ladder. Falls are the leading cause of fatalities around the home. So, if you are unsure, hire a professional.
Whether you use a professional or not, here are some vital safety tips for working with ladders that everyone should consider.
• Place your ladder on a stable and solid surface.
• Use the right ladder for the job: A utility ladder for low to medium heights and an extension ladder for high jobs e.g. cleaning your guttering.
• Never stand on the top shelf of a ladder.
• Never climb above the third rung on an extension ladder.
• Consider the angle of the ladder. For every four feet of height, the bottom of the ladder needs to be out one foot away from the wall or surface it is leaning against.
Starting from one end and working to the spout, begin cleaning the gutters working from your secure ladder and not from the roof, where you could slip and injure yourself.
If you come across any loose guttering, now is the opportune time to tighten it as you go along. It will help to also have lag bolts in your tool belt to replace any missing gutter spikes. Lag blots don’t pull out like gutter spikes, so they will last much longer.
Once you reach the spout, spray your hose down there to check for blockages. Cleaning spouts can be tricky. Try cleaning out from both ends. If this doesn’t work, you may need to take the spout apart and clean each section individually. If you have to do this, make sure that when you reinstall the spout, the discharge end is at least 4 feet away from the house.
Once the cleaning is complete, you may want to consider installing gutter guards. There are many types of gutter guards out there that will prevent debris falling into your guttering. The most effective are the leaf blocking guards, they cost more than the screens, but are worth the investment.
Even with a gutter guard, you should still check your guttering periodically for blockages and watch for signs of clogging during heavy rain. Timely and smart action is going to save you and your family from a host of expensive and serious problems with your property.
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