You can get up on a ladder and inspect your gutters, but you don’t really know how they’re working until you see them under stress. Next time it’s pouring rain, grab an umbrella and go check them out.
No matter how closely you look at your gutters, downspouts, and surrounding water mitigation systems on a sunny day—even if you put a hose on them to test the flow—it just doesn’t compare to checking out how the system is working when rain is pouring down, monsoon-style, on your roof.
So the next time it’s raining—but not lightning! safety first!—head out in the yard with an umbrella and look for the following things:
- Gutters: Is the water contained in the gutter, or is it spilling partially or completely over the side? Except for truly massive rainstorms, your gutters should be able to handle even hard rain.
- Gutter and downspout seams: Is the water flowing over the seams and into the downspouts without leaking?
- Downspout flow: Is the water moving freely out of the downspout?
- Flow zones: Once it comes out of the downspout, where is the water going? Is it soaking into the ground at least several feet away from the house? Is it flowing away? Flowing back towards the foundation?
When the gutters are dry and you’re just trying to eyeball how the system might work, it’s too difficult to really see how it handles heavy rain. When it’s actually raining, however, you can see all the problem areas: the seams that need resealing, the spots where the level of the gutter is off and it flows back away from the downspout, where there’s a bad grade near your home that channels water against the foundation.
Make a note of any problem spots and when it’s dry and safe to do so, fix the problems or call in a professional to fix them for you.