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Bergen County Roofing: Article About Gutter System Maintenance

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You probably don't think much about your gutter system until there's a tropical downpour and you can hear the rain swooshing away from your house. Perhaps you don't even have gutters, and you watch helplessly as the rain falls in sheets off the roof onto your surrounding landscape. A reputable Bergen County roofing contractor can install brand new gutters for you or perform much-needed repair on your existing ones. Between visits from a professional, there are a few maintenance tasks you can do yourself to ensure your gutters stay in tip-top shape.

First, you might need a little explanation of what a gutter system comprises. The gutter is the half-pipe that collects water directly off the roof. The end cap closes off that gutter, attached to the downspout, which carries the rainwater to the ground. The elbow at the bottom changes the direction of the water flow so it diverts away from the foundation. Finally, you have the fascia brackets, which attach to the eaves and provide support for the gutters; the downspout brackets keep the downspout adhered to the home.

By keeping an eye on your gutter system through regular maintenance, you can curb small issues from getting bigger. The most important thing you can do is clean your gutters regularly to remove leaves, acorns and other debris that have accumulated there, blocking the flow of water.

Use a sturdy ladder and have a helper in case you feel unsteady or need an extra pair of hands.

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Of course, the safest option is to hire a professional roofer or gutter installation technician to do this, but if you're a handy DIYer with the proper equipment and tools, you can give it a go yourself. Using a plastic scoop, get all the debris out of the gutter that you can. Adjust the ladder several times as you move along, and be careful not to lean too far over.

Next, flush out the gutters and downspouts with a hose. If you find a clog in the downspout, use a plumber's snake if you have one and feed it through. Run the hose again to flush the clog out once it's broken up. To prevent future clogs, install a wire leaf strainer so that no twigs and critters can get in there. You may have heard about leaf guards for your gutters; however, they aren't always effective because they don't catch smaller debris such as leaf pieces and tiny sticks. You still have to clean your gutters regularly, and the leaf guards can make this task more arduous.

Once you've done the cleaning, it's time to let the gutters dry before you inspect for damage. Look for any rusting, holes, punctures and cuts. Keeping your gutters well maintained is key to ensuring they work the way they're supposed to during the next downpour.

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