Now that all the leaves, branches, limbs, acorns – you name it – are down and the hurricane has passed, it’s a good time to check your gutters and leaf guards.
Yes, we said it was a good idea to clean your gutters before Hurricane Irene hit, and given what has likely wound up in them, it’s a good idea to do it again. We know this is not what you wanted to hear, but if it’s on the ground or lying on your roof, it’s in your gutters, too. A heavy volume of twigs and leaves knitted together can cause a clog and we definitely want you to avoid that. Keep in mind if there are downed trees or power lines in the vicinity, you’ll want to wait. Your gutters can conduct electricity and we wouldn’t want to see you seriously hurt.
If you’ve got a relatively flat roof, you’ll likely have lots of debris on it. If you can clear this debris off your roof while your up there, it won’t have the chance to make it down and into your gutter afterwards.
Find any gutter screens or DIY gutter guard panels in your yard? You’ll want to reinstall them. In fact, if your leaf guard has an opening that you think can let in debris, test the gutter run with a hose at its highest point away from the downspout. Does the water flow out the downspout at a pace close to the water from the hose? If it’s slower, you’ve got debris there. Another good way to check for debris is to watch the downspout for the next hour. Does water continue to trickle out? Another sign that debris is in the gutter and you’ll want to get it cleaned.
Have a leaf guard that sits flat on the gutter like Leaf Relief or a sponge? You might find it has trapped a lot of debris that isn’t likely to blow away, like twigs or acorns. You’ll want to clear the top of it to increase it’s ability to function. Branch hit the leaf guard? It may have potentially created a little dent, but the guard itself should function. Limb take the whole gutter run down? Then you likely have enough damage for an insurance claim. Rather than install the same leaf guard back on your house, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to upgrade to a micro mesh one.
Best of luck getting your home back in shape after the storm.