A few days ago I had a call from my gutter guy reminding me that I hadn’t had the gutters cleaned at my St. Charles home in quite some time. What usually happens is that after a huge rain I call him in a panic to come get all the gunk out of the gutters, but since we’ve had very little rain this year, I don’t think he’s been out since last fall. Not good. But this dry spell can’t last forever, so I’ve scheduled him to come out next week.
In my gutters the itty-bitty honey locust leaves seems to pack down and decompose really quickly. Gutters can get a build up of 40-250+ pounds of debris per year. Many people who think they have problems with a wet basement really just need to get their gutters set up properly and keep them clean.
Advice from the experts on cleaning your gutters:
If you want to clean your gutters yourself, pick a day when the leaves are dry to clean your gutter. Most people use their hands or a leaf blower to remove leaves and small twigs.
If your gutter is two or three stories high, use a ladder with a stabilizer. If you’re dealing with a gutter that’s one story up, use a heavy-duty stepladder.
After removing debris, check for corrosion and any holes or dents. If you find small holes, place a piece of painter’s tape by the hole so you can easily find it when you’re ready to repair. If you’ve found small holes in your gutter, you can seal them with clear silicone sealant.
Gently run water through your gutter with a garden hose to ensure your gutter is draining well. If water is standing still, increase the grade of your gutter to create and maintain a proper drain slope. To do this, simply bend the hangars. The gutter should ideally slope at least 1/4-inch for every 5-10-feet of gutter.
If the downspout is clogged, work to loosen the debris from the bottom up to avoid further clogging the downspout. Turn your water hose on high and run it up the spout from the bottom. If this doesn’t work, try a plumber’s snake (again, from the bottom to the top). If all else fails, remove the downspout and tackle the clog by hand.
If you need your gutters repaired, here are some local businesses that I’ve heard good things about:
Fox Valley Gutters 847.697.9202
Mr. Gutter (630) 377-3995
Just Gutters 630-377-8366