Bringing Your Home and Garden Into the 21st Century

How to Protect Your Home's Gutters and Downspouts

A home's gutters and downspouts are very important for the condition of the home and the property itself; without properly functioning gutters and downspouts, water can collect around the foundation of the house and cause cracks and leaks, or it can pool in that area of the lawn and cause flooding. To ensure the gutters and downspouts of your home are in good condition, note a few tips you'll want to remember.

Tighten the connectors

Every year, or as often as needed, check the connectors of the gutters and downspouts, and tighten them as needed. You may notice that gutters have pulled away from the eaves of the roof along areas of loose connectors, or you may even find that downspouts have turned slightly because of loose or missing connectors. This can allow water to flow over the gutters, or it may cause water to drain into your yard and not away from it. Inspect and then tighten the connectors when needed, so that the gutters and downspouts are always secure.

Check for rust

If your home has metal gutters, check for rust. This corrosion can mean actual holes in the metal, and these holes can also allow the water to run away from the gutters and downspouts and toward the home. Sand away any rust and patch up corrosion with filler as soon as you notice these problems, so that the rust doesn't spread and cause even more damage.

Check the angle

Gutters need to be angled just slightly so that water actually flows to the downspouts and doesn't just sit in the gutter itself. If you've installed your own gutters, or notice that they seem to always be holding standing water, you want to check their angle and ensure they're sloping downward. A roof plumber can determine if they need adjusting if you're not sure how to check this angle yourself.

Install leaf or gutter protection

Leaves, twigs, acorns, pinecones, and other such debris can easily clog gutters and downspouts, and create a muddy mess that may need to be cleaned by hand. To avoid this, have leaf guards installed over the gutters. These are simple screens, usually slightly curved or angled, that direct leaves and other solid debris away from the gutters. These guards then keep the gutters clean so that water can flow easily to the downspouts. Be careful about installing a homemade screen as a leaf guard, as a flat screen can allow leaves to simply collect on its surface and mesh that's too small might block water from passing through.