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Are Your Rain Gutters Ready for Spring?

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Just one inch of rain falling on the rooftop of an average 1,400 square foot house produces over 800 gallons of runoff. Where all that water ends up largely depends on your gutters. If they’re clogged, leaky or sagging, water cascading off the roof may penetrate the exterior siding and cause indoor water damage, undermine the foundation, or leak into the basement. To make sure your gutters are ready for spring and summer rain, here’s a primer on gutter maintenance.

If you’re not secure working on a ladder, for safety’s sake contact a professional gutter maintenance service to take on this job.

Gutter Cleaning

  • Put on gloves and remove larger loose debris stuck in the gutters such as twigs and leaves by hand.
  • If clogged gutters have retained stagnant water, you’ll usually find a layer of dirt, shingle particles and other smaller stuff accumulated in the lower portion of the gutter, underneath the larger debris. This can be scooped out using a trowel, putty knife or spoon.
  • Use a garden hose to flush out the cleaned segment of gutters.
  • Observe downspouts to verify free water flow. If downspouts are clogged, remove the nozzle from the hose, insert the hose into the bottom of the downspout and run it upwards to the roof with water running to flush out the clog.

Leaking End Caps

If water constantly leaks out the end of a gutter span, the end cap is defective. Remove the securing screw, pry off the old cap and take it to a home center to find a replacement. Remove any residue or debris on the end of the gutter. Fill the mating slot in the replacement cap with exterior silicone sealant and press the cap onto the end of the gutter. Install the screw to secure it.

Sagging Gutters

Replace failing attachments with new metal gutter hangers that extend around the exterior of the gutter and grip securely. Replace old brackets one at a time. Attach the new gutter hanger at a solid location on the fascia and secure with screws. Gutter hangers should be spaced three feet apart.

Preventing Common Types of Water Damage in Summer

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

water shutoff valveWater damage is a year-round event that doesn’t respect the calendar. As far as timing goes, the most predictable thing about water damage is it will happen at the least expected, most inconvenient time. Still, changing seasons make certain types of water damage more likely. Paying attention to those seasonal factors helps inform effective preventive measures. Here are some summer-related water damage issues to keep in mind:

A/C Overflows

On a humid summer day, the typical central air conditioner produces as much as 20 gallons of condensate. It’s collected in the drip pan beneath the indoor air handler, then diverted down a drain line to your sewer. If the condensate drain line clogs, however, the drip pan will rapidly overflow every time the A/C cycles on. Spillage can be substantial and cause extensive water damage before anyone’s aware of it.

Check the air handler drip pan weekly with a flashlight. It’s normal for it to be wet when the A/C is operating. However, if you see standing water in the pan, turn off the unit and call a qualified HVAC service technician.

Summer Storms

Keep your gutters clear and flowing free. Summer rains can be heavy. Water from clogged, overflowing gutters may seep behind exterior siding and into wall spaces. Soil directly below the gutters also becomes over-saturated from cascading water, potentially triggering basement leaks or foundation damage. If you have a basement sump pump, make sure the sump basin is clear of obstructions. Verify pump operation by pouring a few gallons of water into the basin.

Vacation Prep

There’s no good time for household water damage. An especially bad time, however, is when you’re away on vacation. A ruptured plumbing pipe, water heater or other leak can be literally catastrophic if nobody’s home to deal with it when it happens. Locate your main water shutoff valve and test it now to see that it operates smoothly. Then, just before you leave for that well-deserved summer getaway, turn off water to the house at the valve.

What Homeowners Should Know About Drying Out a Wet Basement

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

drying out a wet basementBecause water always finds the lowest part of the house, drying out a wet basement is a task many homeowners will face at one time or another. From plumbing leaks and flood inundation to gradual groundwater seepage, basements are usually where water on the move ends up. Further complicating the issue, the enclosed location below grade makes many basements an under-ventilated zone where moisture can linger stubbornly and mold and mildew thrive. (more…)