Pre­pare Gut­ters for Win­ter

Cecil Whig - - HOME AND GARDEN -

Gut­ters are the un­sung he­roes of the out­side of your home. A clean gut­ter keeps wa­ter away from the vul­ner­a­ble struc­ture of your home, in­clud­ing your foun­da­tion. You may be used to clear­ing fall leaves out of your gut­ters, but take the op­por­tu­nity to get them ready for the com­ing win­ter, too. CLEAN

Get rid of leaves, sticks and other de­bris in your gut­ters. Clogged gut­ters can send wa­ter un­der the roof and into your home’s foun­da­tion. If your area gets below freez­ing, it can also cause ice dams in the win­ter. Use an old plas­tic spat­ula (hit up the dol­lar store if you don’t have one) clipped to fit your gut­ters. Scoop leaves and other de­bris right out of the way. For down­spouts, run a plumber’s snake through them to make sure wa­ter can run away from your home.

GUT­TER SCREENS

You can in­stall screens to pro­tect your gut­ters from leaf and other build up, or you can have them in­stalled. As with any pro­fes­sional in­stal­la­tion, ask friends and fam­ily for rec­om­men­da­tions, get sev­eral quotes, ask lots of ques­tions and make sure your cho­sen con­trac­tor is li­censed and in­sured.

IN­SPECT

While you’re clean­ing out your gut­ters, in­spect them for dam­age, creases, rust or holes. Also check for sag­ging gut­ters or seams that have be­gun to sep­a­rate. If you find loose joints or leaks, clean the gut­ter and scrape away the old sealant, then re-coat it with fresh sealant from your lo­cal hard­ware store. Holes may re­quire a patch, which you can make with roofing ce­ment and a piece of metal sim­i­lar to your gut­ter ma­te­rial.

MAKE A DE-ICING CABLE

If your area gets snow and ice, con­sider mak­ing a de-icing cable to make sure an ice dam doesn’t form on your roof. Take an old pair of panty­hose and fill with an ice melt­ing com­pound, such as what you would use on your side­walk. Toss them on your roof in­ter­sec­tion with the gut­ter, and this dam will give wa­ter a way to travel off the roof if the gut­ter fills up with ice.

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