Keeping Your Gutters Clean

We’re at the end of winter after months of trees shedding their leaves in the colder, windy and wet weather. Before we know it bushfire season will be upon us so there is no better time to clean your gutters.  You should clean and maintain your home’s gutter system on a regular basis to avoid major damages. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions that should provide you with some general gutter maintenance advice:

When is the right time to clean the gutters?

When your gutters are clogged with twigs, dirt, or debris, it’s time to clean them out. Cleaning your gutters at the end of each of season is a good idea to make sure you’re not putting too much strain on the gutter fasteners, which might cause them to pull away from your property, which is a much bigger problem.

Do we really need to clean our gutters?

If you don’t have an effective leaf gutter guard installed then yes absolutely. Not only may dirt impose undue strain on your gutters and gutter fasteners, but clogged gutters will not effectively divert water from your roof away from the house. Basement leaks, fractured wall foundations, moisture damage to your home’s siding and roof, and other issues can all be caused by clogged gutters.

How do I clean my gutters?

If your gutters are merely clogged with debris, you’ll need to set aside some time to unclog them manually. This can be as simple as utilising gloves, a hose, and a ladder, but depending on your home’s structure, this could be a dangerous and time-consuming project.

What can I do to prevent my gutters from becoming clogged?

Gutter guards prevent leaves and sticks from clogging gutters and downspouts. While gutter guards demand an initial investment, they will save you time and money in the long run by reducing gutter maintenance and protecting your gutters from harm. When you’re cleaning your gutters, think about putting gutter guards. Newcastle Plumbing Kings can install a Leaf Stopper Gutter Guard as a long term solution to keep your gutters clean and unblocked without having to pay professionals to clean your gutters or risk your own safety. The Leaf Stopper provides a mesh shield that covers your gutters and roof valleys to keep our leaves and debris.

What kind of damage can I expect if my gutters aren’t well-maintained?

Gutters that aren’t functioning properly put your home’s foundation at harm. One of the most important functions of any gutter system is to drain water away from the foundation. Every homeowner wants to avoid expensive foundation repairs as much as possible.

Water entering the basement is more likely when there is more water landing at the base of your property. Mould problems can be avoided by preventing water from entering this area.

Mosquitoes love clogged gutters as they provide an ideal breeding site. Because mosquitos prefer stagnant water, clogged gutters are perfect breeding grounds. If you have mosquitoes flying around your house, your gutters may be the source of the problem. Keep an eye out for standing water containers, such as rain in pots, a kiddie pool, a sandbox cover, a tire, or a wheelbarrow. Mosquitoes carry  and If you take care of mosquito breeding sites on your property, little children and older adults will be much safer.

Protecting driveways, sidewalks, and patios with a solid gutter system is also a wise investment. Soil is significantly less likely to be disturbed or degraded by rain/snow flowing off the roof if water is being transferred from these paved areas.

What you need to know about stormwater

To start with its important to know the difference between stormwater and rainwater. Stormwater is the water that drains off your roof into the gutters and downpipes and onto land or into drains. Its also refers to the rain that falls onto roads, driveways, and footpaths that flows down the roadside gutter into the stormwater drains. Rainwater on the other hand refers to the rain that falls on the roof and can be harvested in a rainwater tank. Its generally much higher quality as stormwater carries pollutants, chemicals and soil and when not properly managed. And if it’s not properly managed, stormwater can end up having a negative impact on your home and the surrounding environment.

How Stormwater Can Affect You and Your Home

So, why does stormwater concern you anyway? There are various reasons, but we list a few for you below:

1. Contamination Risk

Stormwater can make its way into different landscapes, picking up waste, litter and fluids that end up in natural bodies of water. Soon, it will eventually end up in your drinking water — and everything stormwater picks up isn’t something you want in your body.

In Australia, sewer and stormwater management are separate from each other. While stormwater management and treatment is a must, you can do your part as a homeowner.

2. Clogged Sewers

Stormwater also picks up debris and litter from different landscapes. As it makes its way into the sewers, the debris and litter are left to clog up the system. As a result, our neighbourhood and general area can suffer from flooding. If the flooding gets worse, it can severely damage vegetation and homes.

3. Environmental Pollution

Once again, contaminated stormwater will make its way into natural bodies of water. When contaminated, our lakes and ponds can become unsafe to swim in or fish from quickly. Natural ecosystems and vegetation also suffer.

How to Manage Stormwater

Homeowners can always make a difference! Reducing stormwater’s effects can benefit you and your neighbourhood in the long run. To mitigate the effects of stormwater to you and your home, you can step up and do the following:

1. Plan your landscaping

The way your home and garden is set up, and even the way you use it, can change how stormwater impacts you and your area. Here are some tips for better management through landscaping:

  • Resist chemicals for lawns and gardens. Stop water runoff from being heavily contaminated by reducing chemicals and fertilisers you use in your garden.
  • Retain vegetation on your land. There is less chance of erosion and nutrients can still be present.
  • Install porous driveway materials. The usual materials in driveways have their risks and won’t provide relief for the stormwater. Porous material aids in reducing runoff and adds financial benefits for your home.

2. Invest in quality roofing, downpipes and green roofs

Rain hits your roof first and foremost. From there, you can make changes to help stormwater drain and absorb better instead of contributing to pollution and flooding.

  • Use rain gutters and downpipes. Redirect runoff to safe areas where they can be drained or collected for lawn and garden use.
  • Consider a green roof. Improve air quality while filtering and absorbing stormwater with green roofing.
  • Look into sustainable roofing. Asphalt can contribute to chemicals in stormwater. Consider sustainable alternatives to reduce it.

3. Capture excess water

While landscaping and roofing can filter out stormwater and redirect it easily, you’ll have to manage the excess water when it arrives on land. Some ways you can do so involve the following:

  • Try underground roofs. Use plastic sheets by your home’s foundation and to let the water slope away instead of collecting.
  • Install dry wells. You can use dry wells to store stormwater underground. Dry wells can be done under grass and hardscapes.
  • Make swales. Man-made swales are sloping, shallow ditches you can fill with porous material. They’re effective in managing water runoff, while at the same time filtering all pollutants.

Wrap Up

Stormwater can have significant consequences if not managed properly. Each homeowner can take up individual responsibility. By following minimal changes and installing the proper systems, you can greatly reduce stormwater and its adverse effects.

If you need your stormwater drainage, downpipes or gutters repaired or replaced, give Newcastle Plumbing Kings a call and we can come and provide a free quote.