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Winterize your gutters before leaves fall, ice hits
In the fall, it's time to manage by walking around. That means a walk around the outside of your house to look at things that may need some maintenance before winter. And one of the first things I suggest for fall maintenance is to clean the gutters out so they drain properly, which can help avoid ice dams.
Unfortunately, that means climbing up a ladder. While that might be easier if you have a ranch house, it can be downright dangerous if you have a two-story colonial or bungalow. That's why more homeowners are looking for gutter protection systems that will keep the leaves and other debris out of their gutters without the need to get on a ladder and clean them out twice a year.
If you are considering buying a gutter protection system, remember that each system is unique, so you will have to do your homework to determine which one is right for your home.
While these systems are designed to keep leaves out of your gutters, they will still allow some dirt, twigs and other small debris to get into the gutters. So make sure to buy a system that you can take apart and clean occasionally.
While there are a few gutter protection systems that can be installed by most do-it-yourselfers, most are better if they are installed by a professional contractor.
Kearns Brothers, (888) 355-6700, www.kearnsbrothers.com, installs two kinds of gutter protection systems: Gutter RX (www.gutterrx.com) and Rhino Gutter Guard (www.rhinogutterguard.com). Gary Kearns said the Gutter RX features an all-aluminum construction with self-cleaning ridges with holes that completely encloses your gutters and allows the water to seep into the gutter and keep the debris out. The Rhino Gutter Guard consists of a stainless steel micro mesh laid on top of your gutters, preventing all debris from entering the gutter system. Kearns said this system also has a slight forward slope that allows the debris on top of the mesh to blow off easier in wind.
One important aspect you should be aware of is how the gutter system you choose is attached, either through or under your roofing shingles, as it could void your shingle warranty. It is best to check with your roofing shingle manufacturer to find out the warranty specifics.
If you want to install something yourself, consider either the Gutter Brush, (888) 397-9433, www.gutterbrush.com, or Rain Flow, (800) 796-4476, www.rainflowusa.com. The Gutter Brush features a large bristle brush that fills the gutter, catches leaves and debris on top of the brush while allowing the water to run through it. You can easily remove the brush to clean it when needed.
The Rain Flow system is made of all-natural fibers coated with UV-stable premium acrylic latex, which fills the entire gutter opening so that nothing but water can get in. It is available locally at John's Lumber, (586) 791-1200, www.johnslumber.com.
While these systems will help keep debris out of your gutters, don't assume that installing one will totally eliminate ice dams this winter. While clogged gutters can contribute to ice dams, properly draining gutters is only one part of ice dam prevention. Ice damming is also caused by warm air that rises into the attic through cracks and crevices, along with insufficient insulation and ventilation that warms the roof deck enough to melt the snow and ice.
If you would like to suggest a question for this column, email email@example.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege personally, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Handyman Show can be heard on more than 130 radio stations nationwide.
Note: This article was accurate at the date of publication. However, information contained in it may have changed.
If you plan to use the information contained herein for any purpose, verification of its continued accuracy is your responsibility.