|Protecting your gutters|
|News - Latest|
|Written by Barclays Home Insurance|
|Monday, 03 May 2010 00:00|
When it comes to maintaining your home, checking the guttering can often be overlooked - you often can't see its condition from the ground, and problems usually only appear during bad weather, which is unlikely to be the time when you are looking for problems.
Yet gutters should be an important part of your maintenance routine - after all, they are there for a reason. Guttering is designed to steer water away from the structure of your home - if it fails, then water will pour directly on to your walls and windows, potentially giving you problems with damp, as well as damaging any paintwork and causing mould to grow. Water damage is a major cause of claims on home insurance policies.
Gutters are also relatively fragile. Very strong winds or heavy rainfall can dislodge them, and they can easily get clogged up with debris, leaves or even the remains of birds and animals.
The best way of checking your guttering is obvious - when it's raining, ensure that the water is flowing down the pipes, rather than over the edges of the gutters. But it's worth getting up close at least once a year - autumn is best, because it gives you a chance to clear out all the dead leaves - to make sure all is as it should be.
If all your gutters require is a good clean, then this is the sort of job you can do yourself. Be careful, though, by their nature gutters will be high up so if you're not confident with ladders then it may be worth calling in the professionals.
Blockages are the largest causes of problems, and will result in overflowing water. With the gutter itself, simply use a trowel to scoop out any of the debris, while being careful not to push any of it into the down pipe. If you see plants growing, pull them out and make sure you get all the weeds too, otherwise they'll be back almost immediately. Once your gutters are clear, flush them with water.
If the downpipe is blocked, it's best not to try and push water through to clear it - it could just mean the blockage is pushed further down and becomes more embedded. Instead, use stiff wire or a cane to try and break up the debris, while keeping a bucket at the bottom to make sure the waste doesn't go straight into the drain. There are unblocking chemicals available, similar to those used in internal plumbing, but if the blockage still doesn't shift you may need to remove parts of the pipe and either push the blockage through or fit a replacement.
If the guttering is broken, it can be relatively straightforward to repair. Normally, it's attached to the wall with brackets, which are spaced about a metre apart. The guttering is then attached to those brackets, on a slight downward slope towards the downpipe. Because guttering is in sections, it is easy to simply replace one damaged section for a new one.
If all this sounds a bit much - or you just don't have a head for heights - then there are plenty of companies locally who will happily carry out your maintenance for you. The cost will depend on where you live and the type of property - larger homes will cost more, but you can expect to pay up to £200* for clearing and maintenance of a three-bedroom, two storey home, a small cost when you consider the size of your insurance claim should any damage occur.
*costing of £200 from http://www.guttercleaninguk.co.uk/
The insurer of Barclays Home Insurance is Gresham Insurance Limited, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered Office: 8 Surrey Street, Norwich, NR1 3NG. Registered in England. Registered No. 110410. Barclays Insurance Services Company Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 973765. Registered Office: 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP.
Barclays Bank PLC. Registered in England. Barclays Bank PLC is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Registered No 1026167. Barclays Insurance Services Company Limited is authorised and regulated by the FSA. Registered No 973765. Registered Office for both: 1 Churchill Place, London, E14 5HP.
The information given in this article was correct as at 4th May 2010. It does not, however, take account of any changes in regulations, the law or interest rates since that time.
This article is not a substitute for obtaining professional advice from a qualified person or firm.
Examples given of products and services are not exclusive. Other companies may provide the same products and services, and inclusion of a product or service should not be taken to indicate that Barclays recommends it over any similar product or service.
Barclays Bank PLC is not liable for any third party opinions expressed. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained is accurate at the time of publication, no liability for damages is accepted by Barclays, the publishers or any other organisation or person providing information, arising from any errors or omissions that may appear, however caused - or from any editorial alterations to submitted information. This is not intended and will not affect any liability of Barclays under the provisions of the Financial Services and Markets Act (2000.)
Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking (current accounts and savings accounts), credit cards, corporate banking, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 140,000 people. Barclays moves, invests and protects money and provides personal loans, home contents insurance, life insurance , mobile banking and other services for over 49 million customers and clients worldwide. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.barclays.co.uk
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