If your downspout is dry, you might have a problem.
An overflowing gutter is a bad sign; water is supposed to leave through your downspout, not over the edge of your gutters. So if a gutter is overflowing, what do you do? Follow these steps to get your gutters flowing properly.
Assess the Damage Caused by an Overflowing Gutter
First, you need to get up there and take a look at what’s going on. Sometimes what’s wrong with your gutter is obvious from the ground, but more often than not, you’ll need to climb up and take a look. So, get your ladder, plant it securely, preferably with somebody to spot you at the bottom, and climb up.
Once up there, take a look around; generally the closer you get, the more obvious the problem is.
Clean your Overflowing Gutter
An overflowing gutter is usually caused by debris blocking the system; so, while you’re up there, muck out your gutters. Even if water seems to be flowing through piles of debris, the clog can still cause flow problems and back up the water in your gutters. So get it out of there as soon as possible. Just be sure to let your spotter know what you’re doing!
Check for Sagging Gutters
Sometimes, sagging gutters are obvious; if your gutter has pools of water collecting instead of flowing towards the downspout, it’s sagging and will need to be replaced. But sometimes, it takes the right tool to determine what’s happening. For example, gutters need a small slope in order to function properly, roughly a quarter inch for every ten feet of linear gutter. It’s almost imperceptible unless you’re up close, and even then, it can fool you.
So, break out a small level and see if you can determine the slope. If your gutter has sagged even enough to simply be level, it means water will be left standing in the system, and that might be enough to aggravate the sag and create problems in your system down the road.
Clean Out Your Downspout
Sometimes, it’s not your gutter at all but your downspout. Fortunately, this is one task you can do on the ground. Use either a shop-vac to pull out debris from your downspout, or use a blower to blast it out through the top. Just make sure your downspout is relatively dry, and that you can remove any debris that might wind up on your roof.
You can also detach your downspout from the top and clean it section by section, which is recommended if you want to inspect it closely for damage.
Take Note of What’s Damaged
If a gutter is sagging or rusting through, it will need to be replaced. It’s a good idea to draw a rough diagram of your gutter system and mark out the places that you’re seeing problems.
Finally, consult with a professional gutter contractor such as Moonworks. Gutter systems should be replaced as soon as possible if necessary; otherwise you may be seeing damage to other parts of your home sooner than later. So don’t wait, call Moonworks today.