7 Easy Ways To Get Your Home Through Winter
With the holidays having wrapped up it is a great time to start paying attention to some of those simple yet often-overlooked chores around the home. Some I'm sure you've already gotten to, while others have probably slipped your mind or haven't quite made their way onto your To-Do list yet. Here are 7 easy ways to help out your home through winter conditions.
How Often To Clean Gutters- 3 Simple Questions That Provide The Answer
Gutter and Roof Cleaning is Hardly a Sexy Topic...
I don't expect you to jump up and down at the opportunity to learn about it right here, right now, either. Spending time thinking about it is the last thing you want to do.
But Here's The Deal:
If you own a house, you most likely have to take care of your roof and gutter or you'll be in a world of hurt!
Luckily for you, I'm here to tell you exactly what you need to know and exactly what you need to do when it comes to scheduling your roof and gutter maintenance. By the end of this post you'll know how often you need to have it done and hopefully take away a few key questions to ask when hiring a gutter cleaning company.
I promise, this is not nearly as complicated as it sounds. If you're already worn down by the topic, and I honestly can't blame you for it, go ahead and see exactly how often to have your gutters cleaned. If it's the only thing you take away from this post you'll be in great shape :)
Now, Your Next Steps:
Asking how frequently you should have your gutters cleaned is a great question, and one that we've all asked ourselves at one point or another as homeowners. Let's be honest, pulling the aluminum ladder out of the garage right before spending half a Saturday scaling the side of your home doesn't really conjure up positive emotions.
You're not alone here! How about we look at a couple of key questions to determine how frequently you should have your service scheduled (or do it yourself for that matter)
You're probably wondering:
"How can 3 questions determine how frequently I need service?" The answer is pretty simple. It's not rocket science, we're talking about gutter and downspout cleaning and as long as you pay attention to a couple of key areas and acknowledge your environment and weather you'll be fine.
As a rule of thumb, you'll probably avoid the majority of issues with a cleaning schedule done twice per year. Spring and Fall would be a great place to start. Check out a couple of these sample gutter cleaning schedules we put together. Your circumstances might be different, but it should give you a good idea at least of a typical cleaning schedule.
Without further ado, here are the 3 questions for anyone asking themselves,
How Often Should I Clean Gutters?
Preparing Your Home For Winter
Winterize Your Home With These 3 Quick and Easy Tips
Looking at the forecast for Bellevue Washington over the next few days you'll see some chillier temps during the day and overnight and it's a great reminder of a few key things to take care of as temperatures start to drop in The Pacific Northwest. Here are 3 tips for protecting your gutter system:
1. Cold Weather Can Shrink and Crack Your Gutters- Cold temperatures are going to typically cause materials to shrink and contract. The concept here isn't unique to gutters, it's with a lot of things. How about your car tires losing PSI in the winter? Same sort of concept. Heat causes expansion and cold causes contraction. With regard to your gutter system specifically, certain materials are going to be more susceptible than others to the cold temperatures. Aluminum and steel are two materials that we see a lot for gutters and they will definitely be effected here. The metal pieces will often shrink and retract and gaps or cracks will develop at the adjoining spot connecting two pieces. Debris and leakage can happen here pretty easily. Having a professional clean and inspect your roof, gutter, and downspout system before winter is a good move. Check out our gutter cleaning bellevue wa page for more information if you happen to live nearby and want more information.
2. Insulate Your Windows- Here's a quick way to determine if you have a leak coming in from the outside. Take an incense candle or a little piece of toilet paper and when standing by the perimeter of your windows light the incense/paper and see what the smoke does. Swirling smoke would be your confirmation. (And Yes, please be careful to not light your house on fire here with this test). If you need to insulate a window you have a few choices ranging in price from cheap to pricey if you end up going with the insulated curtains and need to color match :) .. Weather stripping is available at any hardware store, is easy to apply and remove and can do a decent job. Window insulation film is the next option where you'll apply a thin film to the window and then use something like a hair dryer to apply it. The pro of the film is it definitely helps with energy efficiency. The downside here is a lot of homeowners find the film to be bubbly and cloudy. The next route is shades and or a shades and curtains combination. Cellular Shades can be a great way to go and keep your home efficient in the winter AND the summer as well. They're a bit more expensive but they can be a great addition for the home year round. If you need advice or have questions on what might be best for your home we're happy to point you in the right direction.
3. Winterize Outdoor Faucets- If you have a faucet and hose attachment like most homeowners do around Bellevue and The Greater Seattle Area you'll probably forget to take care of this very simple task as winter approaches. It's not necessarily the worst problem ever as we don't have severe winter temperatures like a lot of the rest of the country does but nonetheless, it's a simple thing to do and will pay off in the long run. It's pretty simple to do: 1. Disconnect any hose/splitter/attachment from the spigot. Water can get trapped in there if it isn't disconnected and freeze up. 2. Check for drips and leaks. Now is the time to address it. 3. Cover with a hose-bib fixture. You've seen them before, they are the little black or grey foam looking caps and are sold at any hardware store for a few bucks. Periodically inspect the integrity of the cover during the winter and inspect for dryness.
Taking a little time to get your house squared away before the temperatures hit the 20's is going to pay dividends for you in the long run! Stay Warm Out There!
Fall Homeowner Tips and Facts
Although it certainly feels like winter has arrived in the Pacific Northwest we technically are still in the autumn season until December 21st. Halloween and Thanksgiving might be distant memories with Christmas looming but nonetheless we're going to drop some fall facts on you while we still can!
1. Those beautiful red, orange, and yellow fall foliage colors are actually there all year long! The presence of sunlight interacts with the chlorophyll within the leaves and brings out the green color we see as we move into Spring and Summer. With the diminishing sunlight that sadly happens late August and early September we start to notice the change in colors.
2. Love is in the air! According to Facebook, autumn has the biggest change in profile status from "Single" to "In a Relationship" or "Engaged" out of all of the seasons. Not surprisingly, the highest time for breakups is right before summer! Is anyone surprised there? Have you been to Seafair?!
3. Take some Vitamin D to keep the weight off! Not sure about you, but I typically put on a little extra weight as we embark on the fall season. It could be the delicious Seattle seasonal beers and all of the food at holiday events. Or, according to a UK study, a lack of Vitamin D might be at work here. During the spring and summer when the days are longest we've got no shortage of sunlight and Vitamin D isn't a serious issue. However, when the days get short and the sun seems to vanish for 4 straight months it can be a different story altogether. The article goes on to explain a relationship between Vitamin D and triggering fat burning/storage. Talk to your doctor, do some research, and then grab yourself some Vitamin D!
4. Monarch Butterflies are the original snowbirds! Monarch butterflies make their annual autumn seasonal migration south to Mexico and parts of Southern California. They cruise at speeds between 12-25 MPH, which is pretty darn fast! How fast you ask? Well since fall is all about football, here's a clip of my man John Ross, a University of Washington WR, who ran the fastest 40 yard dash time in the history of the NFL combine. Another story that came out earlier this year noted that at one point during a practice John was clocked at over 23 mph. That's pretty impressive, but pales in comparison to the fact that the Monarch Butterfly can cover over 2,500 miles in a single migration!
Clogged Downspouts: The importance of clear gutters and drains
When wet weather leaves your gutters and downspouts clogged
Yup... It's raining heavily again. We were lucky the past few weeks before Thanksgiving with some unusually dry weather but that time has come and gone and Seattle winter weather is back on track.
We want to focus on a very important topic here for homeowners as we move full speed into winter. Properly running water away from your home and away from your foundation is an often overlooked process to protecting your home during the cold winter months. Water congregating and pooling around your foundation is a big cause for concern and needs to be examined and rectified promptly.
Homeowner's routinely go about their busy lives and oftentimes won't notice gutter or downspout issues until it is too late and additional damage has occurred. This damage that comes to attention almost always shines light on the original problem. Gutters and downspouts need to move water away from the home and away from the foundation. Without them your foundation would be in deep trouble.
What is a gutter downspout extension and how does it work
If your property has gutters and downspouts but no downspout extensions then you're at risk for doing MORE damage than having no gutters or downspouts at all. Think about that statement for a minute. A house without proper gutters or downspouts is likely to have water accumulate around it evenly, as the water will more or less run off the roof and hit the ground proportionately around the entire house. This isn't a great solution nor a solution we're suggesting by any means!
Now look at how an improperly functioning gutter system can actually exacerbate the issue when you might be thinking you're doing the right thing!
In the second example let's say you have a properly functioning gutter and downspout system in place. Water hits the roof, funnels into the gutter, and eventually makes its way toward the downspout. Have you ever stopped to ask what happens at the end of the downspout? Is it moving that giant collection of water away from the foundation or is it merely pooling a huge amount of water in one spot a foot or two away from the side of the house. In this all too common example it is actually MORE destructive to have a poor-functioning downspout system than to have no system in place at all. At least with no system in place the water will fall evenly around the home. With an inadequate or damaged gutter and downspout in place you're likely to see the bulk of that previously mentioned collected water from your roof sit and pool in one location.
How do I clean my gutter and downspout to be safe
1. Get your gutter servicing done routinely. It doesn't need to be over the top and done monthly, but be smart about it and have gutter maintenance service scheduled for at minimum 3-4 times per year. If you're budget conscious then we would recommend especially in fall (October) and then again in the spring transition period (April). Making sure you're prepared for fall and winter and then again cleaning up and straightening out the mess after those two seasons have come and gone is probably the most critical two stages. Managing these two periods alone will save you tons of money down the road and it will put you ahead of 80% of other homeowners out there when it comes to proper gutter maintenance and repair.
2. Make sure your gutter downspout extensions are properly configured. If you want your downspout extensions to be hidden you'll be using a sort of yard drain system, which will most likely be buried, to remove the excess water. The downspouts should direct water into plastic corrugated tubing and the water is then moved away from the foundation. In areas where freezing temperatures are prevalent you will want to be sure to avoid connecting the downspout directly to the plastic tubing as ice will build up and force water to leak and pool directly below the connection point (which inconveniently, is often right next to the building structure itself). Instead, utilize a drainage receptor (see below):
This is just one of a few standard checks and balances for properly up-keeping your home in this blustery and wet climate we find ourselves in for a good duration of the year. Call Issaquah Window and Gutter Cleaning Service today for a free quote, free tips, or even just some free feedback on how to properly position your home for the upcoming months!
Winterize Your Home: 4 Things You Can Do NOW
From a great article posted by Gutter Helmet there are 4 quick things that can be done to winterize your home today.
1. Insulate- Insulation works and it lasts, but only if it stays dry. Find out if you have any leakage around your gutters or downspouts that may allow unwanted moisture in!
Click Here to Read their final 3 Tips for proper home winterization
What is the best gutter material to have?
Who knew gutters came in so many varieties! Aluminum or stainless steel? Sectional or seamless? No matter your budget or preference we've got you covered...
Replacing old gutters can be an invigorating cosmetic face lift to your home. Not only will your new gutter system operate more efficiently but you're bound to get a more visually appealing look out of it as well. Here are a couple of options for you ranging from Least to Most Expensive:
1. Vinyl- Relatively easy to install, don't rust or corrode, and are on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to price. Downside here is they have a tendency to deteriorate a bit over time and especially with colder weather they can get a bit brittle. Additionally, they aren't the strongest material out there so expect some sagging over time or after an especially heavy load sits on them for a period of time.
2. Aluminum- Like Vinyl these won't give in to rust or discoloration and they also hold paint pretty well. However, like vinyl, they aren't the strongest material around and can be susceptible to denting and scratching with improperly placed ladders or branch damage.
3. Steel- As you probably can imagine, steel tends to be a bit more durable and strong then the first two options above. Downside here is that there can be some rusting that comes with galvanized steel. The solution here is to go with the old stand-by for the all-weather material we have all come to know and love; Stainless Steel. These gutters are strong, they look great, and they won't rust or corrode. The price for this lovely look is about 2-3X the cost of the above mentioned systems.
4. Wood- If you have a home in a historic area, like certain spots of downtown Issaquah for example, you may be replacing an all-wood gutter system and you may just want to keep it consistent for the look and aesthetics. Expect to pay quite a bit for this set-up but it could be the difference between a great looking roof and gutter vs. one that looks out of place completely.
5. Copper- A beautiful looking gutter that has a lot of the same qualities as some of the metals in the list above. It's fairly strong and resistant to the elements but as I'm sure you already guessed, it's expensive! What a cool look to a house though!
Once you've picked out your material you'll then need to determine whether you want it installed in sections or as a continuous piece. Not all materials area available both ways. As you can imagine getting a piece of cedar to wrap around a house without gaps just isn't happening. Keep in mind, as gutters age the gaps and joints between attached pieces are often the first places to fail as material and wear and tear takes effect there first more often then not.
Have an idea of what will look good on your house? We'd love to include some ideas in your next consultation. Give us a call! 425-448-8484
Gutter Overflow: 2 Quick things you can do immediately to prevent it
1. Your plants and landscaping can serve dual purposes! Having some low ground cover that has some solid soil grip is a great way to go. Grass and other low ground cover varieties will often absorb some of the moisture and they wont move down grade as a result. Some different types of bark or really loose sitting material might slide on down and they aren't the most absorbent material in the world. Concrete, rock, liners, and pavers can also help with this.
2. Install a French Drain! Sounds fancy doesn't it? Good thing is you don't even need to be French to make one of these happen. The man who perfected the technology was from Massachusetts and his last name just so happened to be French. The entire purpose is to take standing water and bring it away from the foundation using a gradual decline in slope via a perforated tube surrounded by rock or gravel. There are varieties to this (Finished house vs. one under construction... water already in the basement.... no slope at all to work with).
Regardless of where you're at currently, if you have constant soggy material around the exterior of the house it might be a god time to take a look and see what's going on with the foundation. Are the gutters clean and clear? Are the downspouts able to remove rain water from the foundation without impediment?
We're happy to help you protect the biggest investment you've made in your entire life!
Call us today! 425-448-8484
Clogged Gutters: 3 ways they cause damage and how you can prevent it
1. Clogged gutters can cause damage to the foundation of your home! Having a gutter backed up with gunk; leaves, debris, bio matter, or having a bottleneck somewhere along the line can lead to massive problems for you and your home. The purpose of the gutter and downspout system is to collect water and collect it from your roof, move it to the exterior edges, and then run it down the sides of the building and AWAY from the foundation. When gutters are backed up we get some pretty nasty results. The water collected will want to flow somewhere, and if it can't make it's way along the desired course and through the downspout then we will have to deal with gravity taking control of the situation. Water backed up will fill up the gutter and then instead of running through the down spout and away from the foundation it will spill over the gutter itself and either run down the house or drip down below to the ground. As you can imagine, this can have awful implications with regard to the foundation of the home. Water pooling up along the baseline of the house is a sign of a real issue and it may not be evident immediately but over time it can cause some serious issues. Don't believe us on the importance? Ask you homeowner's insurance company how they view backed-up gutters when it comes time to file a MASSIVE claim like a foundation issue.
2. Gutter backup can damage certain surfaces! You'll notice that gutters aren't made out of wood or some other super absorbent material. That's because the prolonged presence of water can have some really adverse effects on certain materials over time. There is a very specific reason why the gutters on your house are positioned where they are. The goal of moving water from the roof to the gutter to the downspout to away from the foundation isn't there by accident. When water pools in the gutter it causes a variety of issues. Getting moisture away from the house is critical, and when it sits idle in a backed up gutter it can interact with the fascia that runs horizontally under the edge of the roof. These can get soggy, moldy, and weak when it comes to holding weight (like the gutter!) and we've seen this cause a variety of key components to break off and collapse.
3. Gutter spillover can damage your landscaping! When your gutters back up and spill over the edge the dangers of damaging the foundation and siding and fascia are all real threats. One aspect that gets overlooked is what happens to the landscaping around the home that sits directly below the edge of the roof and gutter. A lot of homeowners put as much attention into their yards as they do with the upkeep of the inside of their home. Do you really want a steady drip of stale, moldy water to fall into that new bamboo tree you planted this past spring? We see beds of ground cover, herbs and spices, and exotic plants and trees destroyed every year because of this. Let us know what sort of landscaping you have and ask how you can best protect it from man-made damage. It's already hard enough to keep some of these exotic and specialty plant/tree breeds alive with steady care and maintenance. Don't let your hard work go to waste due to a faulty gutter system.
Let Issaquah Window and Gutter Cleaning Service help! 425-448-8484