Gutter and Downspout Maintenance
Clean, efficient gutters and downspouts are essential to keeping water channeled away from your roof, walls, foundation and landscape. Experts generally recommend cleaning your gutters twice a year in the spring and fall. If you have a lot of trees (especially pines) near your home you may need to clean gutters more often.
Letting leaves and debris pile up can damage your roof as well as your fascia and gutters. The excess weight of debris and standing water can cause them to sag and pull away.
It is also important to check that the gutters are sloped toward the downspout and the downspouts drain away from the foundation. You may need to add an extension or a splash block for added protection to divert the runoff. If you shop around for splash blocks, you will find many choices such as sculptured/decorative stone, aluminum, concrete, and plastic.
If you are able to clean the gutters safely yourself, a ladder on firm, secure ground is best. It can be dangerous attempting maintenance from on top of the roof. If your home is on a hillside or too tall to access with a ladder, consult a professional.
To get started, clean leaves and debris from the downspout end first, and work away to the other end. Check with your local home improvement store for hose attachments made specifically for gutter cleaning. If your downspout is clogged, check the downspout strainer(s) and be sure it is clear. Check your gutter for leaks by running a hose with water. If your gutter has leaks, first be sure the seam/connection is tight and seal the joints with gutter sealant. Use the proper product for your gutter material, whether aluminum, fiberglass or other. Once cleaned and repaired, you may want to use one of the many products available to help keep them free of debris. One option is to install gutter covers. There are many types, including screens, grates and foam. Look online to research products and installation instructions.
There’s nothing quite like the loud pinging sound of a noisy downspout in the middle of the night. Generally this sound comes from the elbow, or bend, in the downspout. When the dripping water hits a hard surface it can amplify it to an annoying level.
There are a few do-it-yourself fixes you can try (no guarantees!).
- Attach a piece of 1/4” or 3/8” poly rope inside the downspout. The rope can channel the water and eliminate the excessive sound.
- Attach a scrubbing sponge (or look for gutter sponges online) to the inside of the downspout where the water hits the elbow. This should soften or eliminate the sound.
- Try a decorative downspout such as a “rain chain.” Shop around for a style that complements the design of your home.