Unclogging Gutters the Right Way | Pittsburgh | Terrys Plumbing

Unclogging Gutters the Right Way

During a bad storm, a clogged gutter sends a cascade of water down the side of your home, causing damage to your home’s foundation. Cleaning gutters and making sure they are free of leaves and debris will help prevent damage. This is easy for the average DIYer to do, however if you find yourself asking how often should I do it? And what’s the process like? Well, this blog has the answers for you! In this article, we give you the answers to the most commonly asked questions about cleaning gutters.

How Often Should You Clean Gutters?

If you can’t remember the last time you climbed a ladder to clean your clogged gutters, it’s likely that they’re in need of one. It’s recommended that you clean your gutters at least once a year–if you have an abundance of overhanging trees, twice a year is best. Most blockages occur where downspouts join the gutter system, so be sure to routinely check those areas.

Is your Gutter Clogged?

When it rains, be on the lookout for these signs:

  •       Water spilling over the edge of the gutter.
  •       Water sprays from gutter seams and elbow joints.
  •       Rain water doesn’t flow properly out the bottom of downspout extensions.

If it’s not raining and you want to check for clogs, look for these signs:

  •       Peeling paint on the front and sides of your home.
  •       Wet or moist siding beneath the gutter.
  •       Eroded ground below the gutter.
  •       Gutters pulling away from the side of the home.

Where’s the Clog At?

Downspout elbows & seams – These are the most likely spots for clogs to form. To check for a clog in these areas, take a screwdriver and lightly tap the outside of downspout. While doing so, listen for a dull thud as opposed to a hollow ringing. This will indicate the location of the clog.

The downspout cage – This wire strainer is designed to trap debris while allowing water to flow through. Most downspout cages are located where the downspout intersects the gutter. In the event that this piece becomes bent or out of place, it can clog.

Gutter hangers & spikes – These often slip free or detach from the side of your home and end up laying in your gutter. The longer these obstructions lay there, the more debris they collect i.e., twigs, leaves, pinecones etc.

If you still haven’t identified the location of the clog after checking each of the areas listed above–then the clog is likely in an underground pipe. At that point it’s best to call in a professional.

How to Unclog a Gutter

If the clog occurs at an elbow or seam:

  1.     Try and free the obstruction with a plumbing snake or a pressure washer outfitted with a telescoping wand.
  2.     If you can’t reach the clog, disassemble the downspout then use the plumbing snake or telescoping wand to remove the clog.

If the clog is in your downspout cage:

  1.     Remove the cage and clean it.
  2.     Remove all accumulated debris in the gutter area around the cage.
  3.     If the cage is in working order, firmly re-seat it into the downspout hole. If pieces are damaged or missing, replacements can be bought at local hardware stores.

If the clog is caused by loose hangers or spikes:

  1.     Clear out the debris and clogs by hand from the gutters. (Be sure to wear gloves!)
  2.     Once cleaned out, reposition or repair the gutter supports.

Contact Super Terry Today!

Even with these tips in mind, cleaning your gutters and downspouts is still a chore you likely dread each fall. Don’t go it alone, especially if you lack the time or physical ability to clean the gutters safely by yourself. Instead, give Terry’s Plumbing a call today!