As summer dwindles and fades like the last orange rays of the sun across a windy lake, our thoughts must turn to preparing ourselves for the coming season. It’s the difficult part of the year, but it’s the one that defines us as a Northern people.
A big part of the preparation involves ensuring that our home is protected against threats from the changing weather. The worst of these, is of course, water. In the winter, snow piles up against the house and melts down through the foundation. In the fall, leaves clog the eavestroughs and downspouts, leaving water to find the easiest way down – again, against the house and through your foundation.
So once the bulk of the leaves are down, and before the snow starts to fly, make sure you take the time to clean out your gutters and clear the downspouts of debris. If you’re not up to climbing a ladder yourself, there are plenty of affordable professionals in every neighbourhood who do this work.
It’s important to clear the downspouts so that water is free to flow out and away from the home. It’s imperative to complete this work before the winter freeze, as water trapped in the spouts and gutters will turn to ice causing a number of problems.
For one, a freeze-thaw cycle could cause contraction and expansion of the ice and therefore the gutters themselves. This could cause them to split, and the weight of the ice could cause them to break away from the house. More likely, however, is that ice trapped in the downspout will prevent thaw runoff from escaping the house. The result here is that it runs down the walls…directly through your foundation and into the basement.
Clearing your gutters and downspouts is a simply job that can save you an enormous headache. Now is the season. So enjoy the last rays of summer, and when the leaves are down, get to work! Take the time (or hire the folks) to make sure you have positive drainage.