How to Prep Rain Gutters Ahead of Storm Season
As hurricane season worsens year over year, it is more important than ever for homeowners to effectively prepare their homes for the onslaught of inclement weather. In 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a 60% chance of above-normal hurricane season activity. Hurricanes pose a huge risk for home exteriors, including gutter systems. Proper gutter maintenance and cleaning is crucial to protect your home during heavy storms. By following the below tips, you can be sure your rain gutters will be prepared for the rainfall and heavy winds that come with storm season.
1. Clean Your Gutter System
One of the simplest tasks homeowners can do to prepare rain gutters for storms and severe weather is to clean them prior to hurricane season.
Buildup of leaves, dirt, sticks, and other organic material can prevent your gutters from properly moving rainwater away from your home. This can result in the water overflowing, pooling, or running down your home’s siding. It can also result in costly water damage to your home’s interior.
Cleaning out gutters and downspouts is a relatively simple task. You should only need a ladder and a bucket, though a leaf blower can also be used. It is also advised to clear leaves and debris from your roof and surrounding areas to prevent further clogging.
For most homes, a twice-yearly cleaning of gutters and downspouts will be sufficient. However, if you live in a particularly wooded area or have trees above your home, a more frequent check for debris is advised – especially ahead of storm season.
No matter how clean your gutters are, or how well your downspouts channel water, a yard full of leaves will not drain properly. While clearing leaves from your rain gutters, avoid throwing them onto the yard, which can impact downspouts. Properly dispose of them in a garbage bag or compost container to best prepare for severe weather.
Properly gutter maintenance will not only help protect homes during inclement weather. They will also help prevent water damage, offer roof protection, reduce pests, and protect your home’s foundation.
To save time, homeowners can install gutter guards—including screen guards, fine mesh guards and surface tension guards—to help keep gutters debris-free and make future cleanings easier.
2. Check for Existing Rain Gutter Damage
Like any other part of your home, occasional gutter maintenance is encouraged to promote longevity. Inspecting them periodically for damage, especially before storm season, can help prevent further damage to the gutters and protect your home.
Gutter damage includes cracking, rust, paint damage, leaky or separated seals, rotting, mold or mildew, separation from the roof, and sagging gutters.
Some of these problems can be quickly resolved by DIY methods. Other forms of damage might be a sign that a gutter replacement is needed. The good news is that gutter replacements are typically much more affordable compared to fixing the damage that occurs when they are neglected. It is also an opportunity to install a highly durable gutter material that will stand up more effectively to storms than your previous rain gutter system.
Always remember that proactive and routine gutter maintenance can help you avoid these issues and best prepare your home for storms.
3. Tend to Your Downspouts
An often overlooked part of the gutter system are the downspouts. These sections carry water off your home’s roof and safely down the side of your home. The place where the water exits is the downspout. The downspout should be at least three feet from the home to prevent pooling. Pooling and overflowing can cause damage to your home’s foundation, cracked walls, and siding, basement flooding, and uneven floors.
How to Test the Condition of Downspouts
A good practice for homeowners to test the effectiveness of downspout function and drain location is to run hose water from the roof, through the gutter system. When running the hose water, pooling at the beginning of a downspout means you have a clog going down the tube. This is a serious issue that must be addressed before storm season.
Utilize a plumber’s drain snake or auger to go through the downspout and break up the clog. Run the line through the downspout several times at different angles. Wiggle it around, and turn the line at locations where you notice any pressure. This is most likely the site of the clog.
After cleaning out the downspout using your snake, run fresh water through the downspout to push out the now-loose debris and free up the passageway. If no water pools during the flushing process, you have successfully cleared out the blockage.
If when running the water, it exits the gutter system too close to the siding, homeowners can install downspout extenders or hire a gutter contractor to resolve the issue.
When is it Time to Call a Gutter Professional?
For more information on gutter replacements, check out our guide to gutter systems. If you feel that you need assistance preparing your gutters for storm season, Modernize can help. Our gutter professionals can help you with cleaning and repairing your gutters, or helping to ensure they are in good shape to withstand heavy rainfall and storm winds.
Speak with the professionals at Modernize today to connect with a trusted contractor in your area to help prepare your gutters ahead of storm season.