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Wed, Dec 31st - 5:26AM

Eave Trough - Winter Maintenance
Eave Troughs – Care and Maintenance

Winter and eave troughs – This is where most home designers fail to take winter into consideration when designing homes. Most home owners buy homes in the Spring, Summer and Fall, and never think about their homes eave troughs and downspouts. As a home inspector in the Barrie, Alliston, Orillia and Innisfil area it amazes me how many homes have downspouts that discharge water directly onto sidewalks and driveways. This leaves the home owner scrambling to keep ice from accumulating on these high traffic areas.

Most new homes have weeping tile that their downspouts discharge into, which working well in warm weather. As the cold weather sets in these usually freeze up and can cause damage to your downspout as the ice can build up enough pressure to split the aluminum seam. I usually recommend that the home owner install a Tee at the junction of the downspout and weeping tile. This allows the water to run off from downspout when the weeping tile is frozen. The weeping tile will always remain frozen long after the eave trough and downspout have started moving water. This simple tip will aid in preventing ice dams and those annoying drips from your eave trough.

Fall Clean-up

Always ensure your eave troughs are clean and leak free prior to winter. You can manually clean your gutters or use a leaf blower to blow away the loose debris. Always place your ladder in a secure area, tied off to secure object is recommended, and do not support on gutters or downspouts. Make sure your roof is not slippery if climbing onto for cleaning. After removing all debris, soften any solidified debris with water, flush with water. This is when any leaks should be noted and repaired with caulking or recommended gutter sealing product. If water is not freely flowing from downspouts you may have to take them apart to removed stuck debris, this is easier to do in nice weather rather than waiting for winter weather to perform any maintenance.

Adding downspouts is a quick fix for some eave trough problems that occur in winter. Some designers will run a single gutter around front or rear of house and if located in an area susceptible to collecting snow, can lead to ice build up.

Eave Trough: Slope is Essential

When eaves trough are installed by a contractor, they are positioned in such a way that they are slightly sloped towards the downspout. This allows water to be expelled efficiently. An important part of regular gutter maintenance is checking the slope of rain gutters. An easy way to do this is to climb up on a ladder and spray water into the gutters with a hose. The water should flow smoothly towards the downspout. If it simply sits there, the slope probably has to be adjusted. There are different opinions about the ideal slope of rain gutters, but a one inch slope for every 20 feet of gutter is a common suggestion.

Using a line level, locate and mark the high point and low point for your gutter. Then, readjust your eaves trough by repositioning the hangers. Replace any rusted or damaged hangers and screws.

Eave Trough Maintenance: When to Consult a Professional

Most homeowners can take care of basic rain eaves maintenance on their own. Adjusting the slope, repairing leaks and holes, and replacing fascia boards are manageable tasks. However, for significant structural problems and repairs, it is best to call a professional. The same is true if you are thinking about having new eaves trough installed.

This article is for advice only, and authors expertise is concentrated in the Barrie Real Estate market, may not apply to your area of residence.

When Only the Best Will Do

Barrie Home Inspector
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