How to safely test your gutters for leaks regardless of the weather

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How to safely test your gutters for leaks regardless of the weather

Waterfalls are superb, unless they are on your house! A leaking gutter can be a headache to solve. There are ways to test your gutters for leaks without any special equipment, and from safety of the ground. Better yet, you can test the efficiency of your gutter system without waiting for the rain.

If it is not raining, you can check for leaks using a garden hose. (The gutters need to be clear from leaves and debris first). Situate the hose inside the gutter by throwing it up from the ground, and turn the tap on. The water should flow towards the downpipes. Keep an eye out from underneath to see if any dripping water appears. You may need a helper to assist you to check the entire perimeter of the house. It is not a good sign if water spills out over the sides. If water appears to stall in the gutters or not flow towards the downpipes, you may have a gutter slope problem. While inspecting the exterior of your home, also be on the look out for sagging gutters.

If it is possible to do so while on the ground, getting a sprinkler on the roof also closely mimics natural rainfall. It will give you an idea of where the natural flow of water goes, and if it indeed flows towards the downpipes. 

If it is raining, there is a simple trick to see if water is running effectively down the down pipes from the ground.  Check each drainpipe by pressing your ear to the pipe, and listen for water running through. It can be difficult to check yourself, so if in doubt, consult a trained professional.

We Queenslanders love our older style homes with a sense of character. Is your home an older build? You may not have many downpipes. This can be an issue as it can only take one drainpipe to be blocked to cause a myriad of problems. It won’t take long for another drainpipe to block quickly from the overflow. Cue domino effect! Unfortunately, plumbing problems can escalate quickly and cause damages to even the inside of your home.  It is possible to get more downpipes installed by a registered plumber. Otherwise, ensure you keep up a regular maintenance program so that your gutters are free from debris and can function even if an unexpected heavy down pour is to occur. 

If you notice any holes or cracks, it is best to get onto it straight away. Don’t delay. Left unattended, even small leaks can cause rust, and further damages to your home. Along with this, stagnant water caused by incorrect water flow in your gutter system can lead to mosquito infestations. Especially with summer around the corner, do not give mosquitoes any more incentive to make their home in yours. It is recommended to call a registered plumber to carry out any repairs.

Please note – do NOT attempt to get on the roof without the correct safety equipment and know-how of a professional. While we are up there, Gutter-Vac can take photos of your roof condition as part of our roof inspection report. We also provide useful before and after pictures. Getting on a roof or ladder can lead to serious injury and fatality – leave it to the experts! It is better to be safe than to be sorry. Tragically, it was in the news recently that the guitarist of the iconic Australian band, ‘Skyhooks’, sadly passed away following a ladder accident. Unfortunately, ladder accidents can happen to anyone.

Are you set for the wet?

Have you heard La Niña is on our horizon according to the Bureau of Meteorology? This weather system is brought about by changes in the Pacific Ocean temperatures. La Niña impacts global weather patterns. It is expected that increased rainfall will occur in central, eastern, and northern parts of Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology says La Niña can mean more tropical cyclones, thunderstorms, and higher risk of flooding. The last time we were in La Niña was 2010-2012. This two-year period was the wettest on record in Australia.  Hopefully, it may help things on the drought and bushfire front. But, there is no doubt storms have the potential to cause substantial damage to homes, rumbling across our skies with heavy winds, hail, and rainfall. Meteorologists say La Niña will peak in late spring and early summer this year.

The best way to be prepared is to carry out regular home maintenance tasks to help minimise any risks associated with storms, cyclones and flooding. Your roof can be the most vulnerable part of the house in cyclonic winds. It is exposed to powerful uplift forces. The age of your house can also be factor. Houses built after the 1980s are typically more storm resilient. All houses must comply with the Building Code of Australia, but regulations were changed for the better in the 1980s following Cyclone Tracy.

Booking in routine roof condition checks is essential. Repair loose tiles, eaves, screws, and broken or damaged guttering. Be sure to keep gutters and downpipes clean so that water can safely drain away from your home. Attend to any corrosion, loose fittings, or termite-affected timber. Check window seals are functioning well. Keep an eye out for any damage on your home as result of age, and general wear and tear. If you are renting and notice repairs that need attending to, let your property manager know early in the piece.

Cyclones and storms are largely determined by your location. Find out when storms are likely to occur ahead of time and prepare in advance. Other tips include: Make sure your mobile phone is charged in the event of a storm. Tune into the radio/TV for updates. Visit the Queensland Government’s disasters and alerts website. Have an emergency kit prepared. Look out for others in the neighbourhood– especially the elderly and vulnerable. Secure loose objects around the yard such as outdoor furniture and dead branches. Bring any pets inside – they may become distressed and attempt to run away. Also, it may seem like common sense, but it is easy to overlook keeping insurance up-to-date. In the event of storm damage, make sure to gather evidence such as photos and notes.

Not to mention, we could have a humid and wet summer ahead of us, bringing an onslaught of pesky mozzies. A mosquito army is definitely not ideal for entertaining outdoor summer BBQs. There is only so much citronella can do! Make sure to empty pooling water from collecting sites, such as pot plant saucers to prevent mosquito larvae growth. Another big breeding site can be your gutters. If water is pooling in them, get onto it straight away. It could be a sign of a blockage. This will be prevented by regular cleans. 

There is no doubt Queensland storms can be wildly unpredictable. Did you know RACQ research indicates as many as 50% of Australians have not done anything to be storm ready for the season? If you take these precautionary steps however, you can take comfort that you have prepared as much as possible.