19 Jun 2023

Drowning in Costly Repairs: How to Avoid Financial Pitfalls in Home Maintenance

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As home inspectors, we understand the importance of maintaining a well-functioning gutter and downspout system. These components play a crucial role in diverting rainwater away from your home, preventing water damage to the foundation, walls, and landscaping. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of inspecting gutters and downspouts for damage, leaky seams, and clogging, especially during heavy rainfall.

  1. Assessing Damage and Leaky Seams: During a heavy rainfall, it is vital to pay attention to the condition of your gutters and inspect them for potential damage or leaky seams. Here’s what to look for:

a. Cracks and Holes: Examine the entire length of the gutter system for visible cracks, holes, or gaps. Even small openings can cause water to escape, leading to water damage to the fascia, soffit, and siding.

b. Separated Joints: Check for any sections where the gutter connections have become loose or disconnected. Separated joints can result in water pouring out at specific points, bypassing the downspout.

c. Sagging Gutters: Observe if the gutters sag or pull away from the house. This indicates poor installation or inadequate support, which may prevent proper water flow toward the downspouts.

d. Leaky Seams: Pay close attention to the seams where individual gutter sections are joined together. Leaky seams can allow water to escape, causing water damage and potentially leading to basement flooding or foundation issues.

  1. Identifying Clogging and Obstructions: A heavy rainfall is an opportune time to examine your gutters and downspouts for signs of clogging or obstructions that hinder water flow. Here’s what to check:

a. Debris Build-up: Look for accumulations of leaves, twigs, and other debris in the gutters. Such build-up can obstruct water flow and result in overflowing gutters, leading to water infiltration near the foundation.

b. Downspout Blockages: Examine the downspouts for blockages caused by debris or nesting animals. Blockages prevent water from properly exiting the gutters, potentially causing overflowing and water pooling around the foundation.

c. Slow Drainage: Observe the speed at which water drains from the downspouts. If water trickles or pools around the downspouts instead of swiftly exiting the system, it could indicate clogging in the gutters or downspouts.

  1. Maintenance and Remedial Actions: If you identify any issues during the inspection, it’s crucial to address them promptly to maintain the integrity of your gutter and downspout system:

a. Clear Debris: Remove debris from the gutters using gloves, a garden trowel, or a scoop. Dispose of the collected debris in appropriate containers, ensuring it does not enter the downspouts or drains.

b. Repair or Replace Damaged Components: Seal small cracks and holes in the gutters with appropriate gutter sealant or patch kits. If damage is extensive, consider replacing the affected sections or consulting a professional gutter installer for repairs.

c. Realign and Reinforce: Realign any sagging gutters or secure loose connections using proper brackets, hangers, or screws. Ensure the gutters are properly sloped toward the downspouts to facilitate water flow.

d. Unblock and Flush: Clear any blockages from the downspouts by using a plumber’s snake or a high-pressure hose. Flush water through the downspouts to ensure unobstructed flow.

Regular inspections of your gutter and downspout system is essential for maintaining a dry and structurally sound home.


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