29 Nov Massachusetts Homeowners – When Is The Best Time to Inspect Your Gutters?
Regularly inspecting your gutters and having them professionally inspected annually is good preventive maintenance. Our four distinct seasons in Massachusetts and our beautiful hardwood forests all pose their own challenges to a properly functioning gutter system so keeping an eye out for potential problems year round is a good policy. Knowing what to look for while you go about your regular routine at home can serve as an important first step in keeping your gutters working properly.
In Massachusetts, rain gutters are an important if understandably overlooked part of almost every home. They are designed to be inconspicuous and blend in with its design and color. When gutters are doing their job it’s easy to never give them a second look. Taking some time to check your gutters is a good way to keep them operating at peak efficiency and avoiding costly problems associated with poor drainage around the house.
When gutters are doing their job, they quickly and efficiently move water off the roof and away from the house. Rain gutters must handle a surprising volume of water and sometimes in a very short time. A gutter system on a typical 2000 square foot Massachusetts bungalow will move more than 1200 gallons of water for each inch of rain. If your gutter system is not functioning properly the problem can quickly become serious.
Inspect Your Gutters When it Rains
While you might prefer to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea when it’s raining outside this is your golden opportunity to check on the health of your gutters and make sure they are protecting your house.
Look at the drainage around your foundation. Are there signs of erosion or pooling near the house? Is water flowing into cracks along the driveway or walkway? If you can you see water flowing across the driveway or walkway, is it flowing away from the house?
Check your downspouts. Is water running along the outside of the downspout? Are there obvious cracks or gaps along the downspout or at joints or elbows? Is the water from the downspout being directed to a splash block? Is the splash block and grade sloped away from the house or is water running back toward the foundation wall? Your downspout should be directed at a splash block sloping away from the house and water from the splash block should be deposited at least two feet from the exterior wall.
Look at the gutters and leaves. Are there any leaks or is water overflowing the gutter? Are there areas where water is noticeably running down the side of the house? Do all of the gutters appear to be securely attached?
In the Fall
Fall is a glorious time in Massachusetts but when the brilliant fall colors begin to fade it’s a good time to take a look at your gutters. Inspecting your gutters from the ground is easy to do and can give you a heads up on things that may require a closer inspection. Walk around your house slowly to look for signs of developing problems. This is a good habit for all kinds of potential home maintenance issues.
With much of the foliage gone it’s easier to look for foundation wall cracks. Cracks may indicate an area where water is collecting and entering the house. Make sure to pull back shrubs and plantings to see if anything might be hidden. Look for discoloration on the siding and streaking on the underside of your rain gutters. This may be a sign that the gutters are clogged and water is overflowing and running down the house.
While looking at the gutters and downspouts check for any protruding nails or screws that may indicated the gutters or downspouts are pulling away from the house. Check for any obvious missing or loose pieces or gaps in the gutter or between the gutter and the fascia. Are there signs of rust, particularly along seams and at joints?
NOTE: We offer gutter protection system installation services. Click the link for more information.
Spring for an Inspection
Spring may be the best time to consider hiring a professional to go up on your roof. Safety wise it’s always a good decision to have the right equipment and procedures in place. Spring is also a great time to have a professional check your roof so consider having a pro take care of both jobs at once.
If you decide to do it yourself look for any buildup of debris or water pooling around downspouts. If there is a moderate amount of leaves and small debris in the gutter you can often use a leaf blower or rinse the gutters out with a garden hose. Inspect the inside of the gutters for any signs of rust or damage once you have removed the debris. Look at interior screws and fasteners for signs of rust or tearing out.
Look at the fascia board and check for signs of moisture or rot. If there is standing water in your gutters that is not due to a buildup of debris you may need to check the slope of your gutters. Uneven settling of the house can be enough to change the direction of flow or the gutters may have been installed incorrectly.
If you find a problem that can’t be easily fixed, make sure you call our professionals (800.562.1289).