Gutter cleaning: how to clean steel and PVC drainage system

Modern gutters made of polyvinyl chloride or polymer-coated steel have an impressive list of advantages that provide pipes and gutters with the ability to operate for decades. But still, both plastic and steel gutters need regular maintenance. This is the only way to keep their performance as long as possible.

Evidence of problems in the operation of the drainage system are usually overflows and mechanical destruction of gutters and pipes. Elements of the system begin to leak, acquire dirt and ice, deform and sag.

The reasons for such situations may be different. For example, a drain may not be able to cope with extreme loads due to errors in the calculations when choosing the section of the elements. Another common cause of gutter problems is installation errors. Gutter brackets and fittings must be installed in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. It is very important to observe all recommended tilt angles and installation distances. It is equally important to correctly install elements that protect against thermal expansion of gutters.

Sometimes there are force majeure situations when a properly calculated and well-installed drain fails due to mechanical damage to the coating. This is possible, both during careless work on the roof, when poorly fixed equipment breaks or scratches the gutter or pipe, and as a result of natural factors. For example, due to a strong hail.

How does natural clogging of gutter and drains occur?

A damaged gutter element needs to be replaced as soon as possible, which usually leads to the restoration of the necessary functionality. But still, problems with gutters can arise not only due to accidental breakdowns or incorrect calculation and installation of parts. Another, no less common and urgent problem in the operation of drains is natural clogging.

A gutter or pipe can become clogged with fallen leaves, and water will begin to splash onto the facade and blind area, destroying and washing away the foundation of the house. As a result, the load on individual sections of pipes or gutters will increase, which leads to weakening and further breakage of connections. In addition, the result of a long accumulation of leaves and dirt in drains is usually the appearance of mold, fungi, moss growths, and in winter – ice, which also negatively affects the safety and durability of the drainage system. Therefore, any drain needs regular cleaning and maintenance.

How often should you clean your gutter and drain

Inspection and cleaning of pipes and gutters of the gutter system should be carried out at least twice a year.

  • This is usually done in early spring, when the snow melts. During this period, even a simple visual inspection of the drain can help identify damage caused by excessive exposure to snow or ice. Installing snow retainers and anti-icing systems on the roof, as well as proper thermal insulation of the roof (or attic floor) will help protect gutters from ice in winter. If necessary, snow from the roof must be dumped with shovels or special devices.
  • The next time the drains are inspected and cleaned at the end of autumn, when the pipes are clogged with fallen leaves. Particular attention should be paid to gutters in cases where branches of large trees hang over the roof of the house. To protect the gutter system from clogging, it is even recommended to cut the branches at a distance of at least 1 m from the edges of the roof.

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Stages of cleaning the gutter and drainage system

In most cases, a set of simple mechanical devices will suffice to clean the gutter and drain. In addition to a stable ladder or a tall stepladder, you will need a brush and a sponge with detergent, a set of trash bags and a water hose with a sprinkler.

  1. First of all, they inspect the gutters of the drainage system and remove the remains of needles, fallen leaves and overgrown moss from them.
  2. To wash out particularly stubborn dirt, it is better to use brushes with plastic bristles, which will not damage the protective coating of parts.
  3. In some cases, it will be necessary to clean, rinse and remove mud plugs from downpipes.
  4. During the cleaning of gutters, it is worth checking the reliability of the fastening of the elements. If necessary, the connections are tightened and the seals are changed.

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How to keep gutter and drains from clogging

In order to reduce the number of possible problems associated with the use of drains, it is recommended to install protective devices on them. To do this, use special grids for gutters and gratings for drainpipe funnels. They prevent dirt from getting inside and simplify the process of seasonal cleaning of the elements as much as possible.

However, such devices only work on large debris, and sand and small pieces of leaves and branches will still fall into pipes and gutters. Therefore, gutters will still have to be inspected at least once a year.