How to prepare gutters for winter

As winter approaches you should be thinking about all the things you need to do outside before the weather gets too cold and prevents you from getting these important tasks finished. One of the things that is easy to overlook is the gutters on your home. It is critical that you prepare your gutters for winter because they keep water away from your house and if not working properly you could experience very costly water damage to your home. There are number a of things you should do to prepare your gutters for the long winter months ahead.

The first thing you should do is clean your gutters of all leaves and debris. It can be expensive to hire a contractor so you might want to think about doing the job yourself. You should always consider your safety when you weigh the benefits of cleaning your own gutters. You can climb a ladder and clean them by hand or you can use a variety of tools that help you clean your gutters safety. Many of these tools can be used from the ground so you don’t even have to climb a ladder.  Click here to see some of the gutter cleaning tools available to help you. If you decide to clean your gutters by hand be sure use a gutter scoop and ware heavy gloves so you don’t hurt or cut your hands. Be sure you get all the debris from your gutters so water can flow freely from your roof through the gutters and out the downspouts.

Make sure your downspouts are free of clogs and debris. Your gutters can overflow if the downspouts are clogged even though you have cleared the leaves and debris from the gutters. To do this you will need to use a ladder. Put a garden hose in the top of the downspout and run water through the downspout. If water runs freely out the bottom you are free of clogs. However, if water runs slowly out the bottom the downspout is clogged. To clear the downspout of debris you can use a pressure washer from the top of the downspout to force water through the downspout and wash out the debris. Another way to clear the debris is to run a plumber’s snake through the downspout. Once you have cleared the debris use the garden hose to run water through the downspout again to make sure water is flowing freely.

You should make sure water drains from the downspouts at least 6 to 8 feet from the foundation of your home and runs away from the house. You can add extensions to your downspouts or place splash blocks under the downspout to help direct water away from the house.

Check your gutters for any leaks at the seams or holes in the gutter that would allow water to run though and fall close to your foundation of your home. To do this start at the high end of the gutter and use a garden hose to run water so that it flows through the gutter and into the downspout. If you see any leaks you should repair them immediately. Buy some gutter sealant and apply it to the inside of the gutter where the water is leaking. If you are filling a hole make sure you use enough to fill the hole completely. Once you have repaired the leaks you should run water through the gutter again to make sure you fixed all the leaks completely.

Next, you should make sure your gutters and downspouts are attached securely to your house. If your gutters aren’t secure you run the risk of them pulling away from the house when ice and snow pile up and put a lot of additional weight on them. If they pull away from the house water can run between them and the house and cause damage to your home or they can sag and allow water to overflow. Check the screws to make sure they are securely screwed into the fascia boards. Tighten or replace all screws that are not completely screwed in. Make sure the fascia boards don’t have any signs of rotting that would allow the screws to pull out.

Click here to view and purchase gutter accessories that can help you winterize your gutters.

Now is a good time to have trees trimmed around your house that are hanging over your gutters. This will help keep your gutters clear for the winter so you won’t have to worry about them collecting twigs and other debris from the trees. You might also want to consider putting gutter guards on your gutters to keep debris from entering them.  Click here to view and purchase different types of gutter guards.

If you follow the above guidelines your gutters should be ready to stand up to anything the long winter ahead can throw at them. I hope you found this article helpful. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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