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Gutters Downspouts
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Gutters & Downspouts

Gutters and downspouts are the type of equipment on a house that perform without much noticeóuntil they stop working. Then itís hard to ignore the cascades of water and flooding that can occur.

When gutters and downspouts become clogged or fail, rainwater flowing down house walls to the ground can cause a great deal of damage. At the very least, this water taxes paint and wriggles into cracks, contributing to the eventual decay of siding and the houseís structure. At the worst, moisture penetrates windows, invades walls, undermines foundations, and floods basements.

This is why itís important to maintain clear, well-functioning gutters and drainage systems. They must be able to handle rainwater removal without fail to prevent these occurrences. But to keep this important equipment working effectively, you must be vigilant. In other words, donít wait for the next big rainstorm to find out the locations of all the clogs, sags, and leaks.

Gutters can easily become clogged with leaves and other debris; inspect and clear them in both spring and autumn. You also may have to loosen dirt that has blown into the gutters and scrub them with a stiff brush. Flushing gutters with a stream of water from a hose will clear material that has become lodged in the downspouts.

You can also install mesh screens or a leaf-catching system. If you decide to buy one of these systems, be sure to get a type that can be easily removed when itís time to clean the gutters.

The slope of gutters may need to be adjusted from time to time. Run water through them, and, if they drain slowly, reposition them so that they slope toward the downspouts at a rate of 1/4 inch for every 10 feet.

Be sure your downspouts expel water well away from your house. If necessary, add downspout extenders to carry the water away. Also consider concrete or plastic splashblocks that are slightly sloped and extend away from the house at least 4 feet.

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