How to Check Your Home's Gutters for Leaks

Gutters are an essential part of your home’s structural health. Properly functioning gutters will save you money and frustration. Leaky gutters can be caused by rust, wear and tear, and weather damage and can lead to serious problems for homeowners. If you are unsure of how to properly check your gutters for leaks, we recommend using the following sequence:

Remove Debris from Your Gutters Debris such as tree branches, leaves, and/or dirt can build up in your gutters. Not only can these cause overflows, standing water, and leaks themselves,this debris also makes it difficult to spot leaks and other gutter issues by obstructing your view.  Before testing you gutters for leaks, you must remove any and all of the above mentioned elements so that testing can be done properly. This can be some hard and dirty work, but is essential for your gutter inspection. Use a ladder to access the top of your gutters. Make sure to follow good ladder safety, ensuring you have a stable place to stand and you are moving the ladder to keep your work area in reach without needing to lean off the ladder. Cover your hands with yard glove as the sticks and other debris can be hard on your hands. Also because of the debris you may not spot other objects that may get blown up to your roof and caught in your gutters. Also use a  scoop for all debris until the gutters are clear.

Work the Gutters in Sections Your gutter system will be set up in separated sections on each side of the house. Use your downspouts as an indicator of how these are sections are structured. You want to take the work a section at a time to ensure that leaks are not missed. This also ensures that if your work is interrupted for any reason, you can easily track where to pick back up on returning.

Use a Garden Hose to Run Water Through Your Gutters  This is best done with two people. Carry the hose up to the top of the ladder before turning it on. The garden hose should be placed in the gutter then ask your helper to turn it on. Spray water into the gutter starting at the farthest end from the downspout. Someone on the ground can then identify where the water is leaking out. Make note of each spot for repair. From your spot on the ladder, you can inspect the inside of the gutter by each leak to identify the cause and size of the leak.

Take Action if You Have a Leak The final step is to resolve any leaks you find. This will be highly dependent on the size of the leak and the type of gutters you have. Smaller leaks can be corrected using gutter seal. You can also include a patch of a material matching what your gutter is made of if necessary. If the leak is too large to simply patch, or is placed at a spot on your gutter (such as a corner) that a patch can’t hold, you will need to replace the gutter. If you have sectional gutters, you can cut out and replace only the portion that’s been affected. If you have a seamless gutter, you may need to replace the entire gutter.

One of the best ways to ensure you can regularly spot leaks in your gutters is to ensure they are kept clean. Give us a call today!

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