Gutters Holding Water

Image credit: Eric Schumuttenmaer/Flickr Creative Commons
Image credit: Eric Schumuttenmaer/Flickr Creative Commons

It is a common mindset for homeowners to equate gutter size with how much water a gutter system can hold – if they have 5 inch or 6 inch gutters, they might feel safe. But gutters should never hold water. When they do, it can cause all kinds of problems, including: damage to gutter sections; damage to soffit and fascia; creating an environment for dry rot, mold and algae growth; and landscape erosion.

Importance of Inspections

Gutters that hold water usually can’t be seen from ground level. Cleaning the gutters twice, or even just once, a year is a good thing. However, environmental conditions like storms, humidity and the amount of heat and sun exposure can impact a gutter system from one gutter cleaning session to the next. Periodic inspections will alert you to anything that’s not quite right.

Reasons for Gutters Holding Water

Gutters holding water are not draining properly and can reduce their life expectancy. Reasons for a gutter system not properly channeling water from the gutters to the ground are:

  • debris buildup is blocking the flow of rainwater due to insufficient number of gutter cleanings for local climatic conditions
  • clogs have formed at the gutter outlet
  • they were installed incorrectly – insufficient gutter/downspout size for size of house, inaccurate gutter slope, etc.
  • the downspout is clogged

Solutions for Gutters Holding Water

Standing water is the number one sign that your gutters are not as healthy as they should be. Some common solutions for gutters that hold water are:

  • cleaning the gutters more times than they are currently being cleaned
  • re-pitching – recalculating the gutter slope
  • re-fastening the downspout or re-positioning it
  • adding more downspouts