The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.
Having well functioning gutters and water drainage is absolutely vital to the care of your home. You should clean and inspect gutters a few times per year to make sure they are in great shape and working properly. Here is a guide to what to look for and how to properly maintain your gutters.
How to Clean and Inspect Gutters
Clean Out Gutters
There is no easy way to do this short of getting up on a ladder and reaching in. The key is to do it after a good rain. This will make the leaves and debris stick together easily, and the job will be much easier. The important thing to remember about cleaning your gutters is to use a safe ladder with someone spotting you, and never, ever reach farther than your natural reach. Accidents can and do happen when you try to reach too far. Slowly work your way around your home and pull out any and all debris.
Note: Make sure you anchor your ladder well. Also, wear heavy work gloves to reduce exposure to critters and sharp edges.
When you are finished cleaning them out, you should flush your gutters to make sure there are no areas of pooling or leaks. Running a steady stream of water through the gutter with a hose is an easy way to see if the water is flowing properly. You can do this safely from the ground by shooting the water up on the roof in various places.
Flushing downspouts requires a more direct spray, so you need to take the hose up on the ladder. Be very careful and have someone there to watch for you. Anchor the ladder and spray directly into the downspouts to flush them clean.
Inspect Fascia Boards
Fascia boars are the underside of your roof overhang that most gutters are attached to. If they are improperly fastened, gutters can come loose. Another common problem is dry rot, as the fascia board is usually made of wood. Make sure there is no mold and that the wood is strong and sturdy. Tighten any loose screws and make sure the gutters are still securely holding to the fascia board.
Repair Holes or Leaks
Small holes and leaks in gutters can be easily filled in with putty or roofing cement. Larger ones need to be filled in with a piece of fitted sheet metal that you will need to cut. The key is to cover the area completely so that the leak does not recur. Most holes in gutters are not big enough to require sheet metal, so some putty and a knife will do just fine most of the time.
Gutter maintenance and cleaning is absolutely vital to the siding, foundation, and roof of your home. Keeping water out of these areas will make them last longer, costing you less money in the long run. Clean your gutters at least twice per year, but more often if you live in an area with lots of rain or debris. The key is to be careful and always think safety first.
Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.