All blocked gutters start at the top, the issue may not always presently be at the top of the down pipe but the blockage certainly came from here initially; So we always check this area first. We check this by going up the ladder and inspecting the gutter line condition; are there defects in the gutter line such as a build-up of debris at the gutter union joins for example. We look at the down pipe clearance and the roof condition also. It is not uncommon for a broken tile to cause blockages, while a roof with excess moss growing on it can also subsequently block the guttering. If you see our first photo here, hopefully the moss on the roof indicates why we had to clear this gutter line to start with.
Safety is important when cleaning gutters at height, and so Fife Window Cleaning Services always work in teams of two. We have equipment for domestic and residential gutter cleaning that makes the job safe, this includes a ladder matrix-a pad that the ladder feet sit on, which has thousands of metal spikes on the side that makes contact with the ground; A ladder stay, so that we have a few inches of clearance at the top of the gutter line, and we use telescopic tools to reach over hard to access gutter cleaning areas as well. See our photo showing some of the standard residential gutter cleaning equipment we use. What are some of the common issues we may face while gutter cleaning in Fife?
At the top of many guttering systems, especially on older buildings we find a hopper head. This is a small holding tank that one or more down pipes pour into, and if this becomes blocked then you may often see the water pouring over the sides. To treat a hopper head, we initially scoop out any leaves that often congregate in this wide open head, and that may have blocked the holding tank. We connect a water supply to the top of this hopper head and flush the water through it at a fast flow, to dislodge any debris blocking part way down the pipe work too. When clearing blockages from the top of these tanks, we are also able to remove the hopper tank and use drain rods to break up debris in the pipe work.
Leaking gutter joints are especially common on old cast iron gutters, where the screw holes have become rusted over time. Firstly we remove all gubbins (dirt, rust..) using a range of tools, such as wire brushes and scrapers. We then use a degreaser like visorol to clean the surrounding parts of the cast iron guttering, and once dry we look to apply a liquid resin to gutter leaks. We use repair care dry fix epoxy resin, and we mix this compound together to create a very strong bonding agent. Once this is dry it is important to use a rust inhibiting primer, because let’s remember these gutters may have been up for hundreds of years and we want to preserve them as best we can. We finish off this repair with some hammerite paint over the exterior and interior surfaces.
On most modern buildings the swan neck of the gutter is where blockages occur, the s shaped channel that joins the horizontal gutters to the downpipe is a place that can easily block up. We can unclip the outlet (swan neck) and usually remove all blockages that way, however we also have a pressure washer with a drain jet nozzle. This can be used to forcefully send pressurised water down the guttering; loosening the blockage until it disappears down the drain. When using the pressure washer we would have a cloth inside the bottom of the guttering downpipe so that debris does not then block the drain. Once we have flushed the down pipe, we will remove the cloth and all debris from the bottom of this down pipe.
Too often we see gutters leaking at the outlet, where the gutters join onto the down pipe; in fact often these parts of the gutters become very loose and sometimes even fall off .This is due to a poor fitment between the gutters and down pipe; to combat this we have found that finding the suitably sized part of guttering is of primary importance and then refitting them together for a tighter fit. Subsequently, we seal the seam with a sealant as well to prevent any water run-off, over the join.
For a list of our services please see www.fifewindowcleaningservices.co.uk