Nationwide, savvy homeowners stick to an exterior home maintenance schedule during the warm summer months to prepare for upcoming harsher weather. The lazy hot days of summer can lead some homeowners to neglect some of the basic and necessary tasks that can prevent unpreparedness and damage. But many checklists available will keep those to-do’s handy and homeowners caught up on important maintenance.
Gutter cleaning and gutter guard installation are prominent on these lists since these must-do’s are often forgotten until after (or during) the first big rainfall of late summer or autumn. Don’t allow gutter drips, overflow and leaks to ruin your foundation, flower beds or lawn. Take care of your gutters while the weather is dry.
While we still have warm daylight hours, it’s a good time to ensure your gutters are secure and clear, ready to take on the coming rains. You still have time to add gutter protection to stop all those leaves from clogging your rainwater drainage system and possibly damaging your home’s roof or foundation. Our Find A Retailer button will help you locate your nearest local home center. Be sure to take a list of the items you need when you visit. Ask for Amerimax products.
Happy first day of Autumn! Monday, September 22, at 10:29 p.m. (EDT) is the Autumnal Equinox for 2014. This is the moment when the sun crosses the equator and we’ll begin to see more darkness than daylight in the Northern Hemisphere. Whether it has been chilly for weeks or there are still balmy summer-like temperatures, this day is the official start of autumn.
So what is the Autumnal Equinox? Essentially, our hours of daylight — the period of time between sunrise and sunset — have been growing slightly shorter each day since the Summer Solstice n June, which is the longest day of the year (at least in terms of light). Even after three months of shortening days, though, we still see more light than darkness over the course of a day.
The Autumnal Equinox marks the turning point, when darkness begins to win out over daylight. For the next three months, our hours of daylight will continue to grow shorter. At this equinox, day and night are approximately equal in length. The name ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin word aequus, meaning equal, and nox, meaning night. An equinox occurs twice a year (Autumnal and Vernal).
Everywhere you look, you can see the visible changes as nature prepares for winter: birds are flying south, temperatures are getting cooler, leaves are changing colors, and animals’ coats are thickening, to name a few.
The first day of Autumn signals the last few weeks of winter home preparation. While we still have daylight hours, it’s a good time to ensure your gutters are secure and clear, ready to take on the coming rains. You still have time to add gutter protection to stop all those leaves from clogging your rainwater drainage system and possibly damaging your home’s roof or foundation. Be sure to take a list of the items you need when you visit your local home center. And ask for Amerimax products.
Source: Old Farmer’s Almanac
Ladders are required equipment for any do-it-yourself project involving gutters and downspouts. Being cautious up there is extremely important for DIYers, especially since one wrong move can end with you in the hospital. Thankfully, these accidents are few and far between when you consider how many people use a ladder every day. However, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your chances of having a ladder accident, such as:
- Making sure your ladder is on steady ground
- Giving yourself a reasonable angle with the ladder placement
- Never stepping on the top step of the ladder
The Importance of Solid Ground
Basing a ladder in wet or shifting ground can be very dangerous, especially if you are going to be getting off the ladder and onto your roof. Always make sure to set your ladder up in an area that is relatively flat and dry. The ground should be even so that both legs can touch at the same point without the ladder leaning at all.
Setting your Ladder at a Reasonable Incline
Your ladder should not be sitting nearly vertical since a sudden shift of weight backwards can cause the entire thing (you included) to fall backwards. At the same time, you don’t want a very wide angle either because of the added strain that would be placed on the area where the ladder contacts the roof, and to prevent the base from slipping.
Staying Off the Top Step
The top step on most ladders is absolutely not to be used as a step, but rather as an optional flat area where you can place a tool or bucket. When you step on the very top step, the ladder can become extremely unstable. This can cause the ladder to fall out from under you, leading to serious injury. If you can’t get onto your roof without stepping on your ladder’s top step, you need to get your hands on a longer ladder. It’s extremely dangerous both going up, and coming back down since you would about have to guess where the top step is without seeing it.
A little bit of common sense can go a long way when it comes to ladder safety. If you think it might be unsafe, just don’t do it. To our knowledge, we are sharing sound information, but also review your ladder usage guide for the manufacturers’ safety recommendations.
For more advice, take a look at our ladder safety video.
September isn’t just back to school month for the kids, it’s also time to get back to the yard for adults. While summer showers and sunny days are easy on your rainwater drainage systems, a mild to harsh September could usher in some drainage problems come Fall. The last thing you want is leaves stuck in your gutter or drain – much like the kids in school don’t want to get stuck in detention!
Great Home Tips to Prepare for Autumn Weather
To avoid staying after class doing yard work this September, be prepared for the any type of weather and get a head start today:
- Clean those gutters now. Don’t wait for it to get a little bit cooler or for the leaves to start falling. Muck can clog up your gutters at any time, especially if your region has been rainy and then hot as the sun can bake up some homemade glue for you to take care of. Try to get to your gutters at least once or twice a month this Fall.
- Trim around drainage systems. While you may have already thought about clipping some of the branches that hang over your roof and gutters (if you haven’t don’t just think about it, do it!), you probably didn’t think of the other drainage points in your yard. Check the drains in your yard and around the home for brush, bushes and other debris that could potentially cause clogs this Fall.
- Upgrade your gutters. If your gutters are old and damaged (or if they just look like they were installed back when you were in school), it’s probably a good time for an upgrade. Micro-mesh filter gutters ensure that nothing but water enters your drainage system. This not only cuts down on stoppages, but also you getting up there on a ladder this Fall and scooping leaves, bird nests and everything else out of the gutter!
In fact, if you haven’t been to the hardware store in a while, it’s a good idea to visit at the beginning of each new season just to see what new home products were released. Who knows, there’s probably something out there to fix each of your most despised chores around the house! So when you get out of detention this September, be sure to stop by your local home center store and find the solution to all your roof drainage system needs!
So, you know you need to install or change the rain gutters on your house and you want to do it yourself, but realize you’ve no idea how to get started! We’d like to help you get it right the first time. You will need:
- a tape measure
- a friend to help hold the tape measure
- ladder (optional)
- pen and paper to note the distances and square footage
Goal: Measure the length. You may stand on the ground for this exercise. Begin at a corner. Give your trusted friend one end of the tape measure and hold the other. Go to the next corner. How long is this length? Write it down.
Repeat for all sides of the house, noting any areas with bay windows or other such features.
Goal: Figure the width needed. Measure the square footage of your roof. Access the roof through a window or a ladder. Have your sidekick stand at one end toward the side of the roof and you at the other, each with one end of the tape measure. Do the same for the top of the roof to the bottom. Note the distances. Multiply them together and you have the square footage of your roof.
Please be careful. Injuries acquired from falling off the roof can be serious.
You now need the average rainfall, easily found with a Google search. Clearly, the more rainfall and bigger the roof, the wider the gutter.
Hint: Ask your local home center store for the most common width sold.
For every forty feet of length, there should be at least one downspout. They should empty somewhere other than the basement, the house wall, or the swimming pool!
A cover over the gutters keeps them free of debris with a lot less maintenance. Purchase them now!
- vinyl – most cost-efficient and easiest to install
- aluminum – tend to be more hardy
- galvanized steel – hardier still but may rust
- copper – the hardiest, do not rust, most expensive
Still have questions?
Read through our planning and installation guide for detailed instructions on installing gutters along your roof line. Visit your local home center store. The exterior home care professionals are there to help! Don’t forget to ask for Amerimax products.
Whoever said that an ounce of maintenance is more precious than a pound of cure wasn’t kidding! All home maintenance bills are exponentially less than the cost even one emergency repair. A checklist is worth its weight in gold.
We would like to touch on some basics. Please note this list is not all-inclusive, as each home maintenance task has its own unique items.
Take a stroll around the house and look closely at the sides. If the paint has begun peeling, it causes more than an eye sore. The wood beneath it can quickly begin to deteriorate, causing a mess and huge repair bills. If there are just a few spots that need covering, take a piece of the shedding paint to the hardware store, and match it. No need to cover the whole wall for a couple of spots.
Some days just beg for water play! Warm days are a great time to power wash the side of the house. Be careful: the full setting can remove paint, punch holes in siding and even separate your toe from your foot.
Remove all the junk from your garage. Get the kids together, because they probably helped make the mess in the first place! It can be overwhelming for one person. Gather stuff you don’t want but still has life and schedule a yard sale or pick-up for donations. Wow, a car can fit in here!
Look at the gutters from above, below and the side. Have they begun to:
- accumulate debris
- sag along the length
- separate along the length or water spouts
- rust through
Consider protections for the gutters, as they greatly reduce maintenance and failures to the whole system, saving you money! Take a look at Amerimax’s full line of gutter protection.
- Check air filters every two months. Clogged filters are the most common reason for HVAC failure, costing the homeowner thousands.
- Remove debris around the fan unit (outside).
- Consider a service call for checking the rest; get a few estimates and aim for the middle.
Smoke / Carbon Monoxide / Radon / Natural Gas Detectors
Batteries! Cooler weather means closed windows. Keep you and your family safe from harmful gases.
For more fall maintenance ideas or getting more depth on the ones above, contact your nearest home center.