As a new homeowner, doing a walk through with your home inspector, you may wonder why they are checking gutters and downspouts on the home. What should your home inspector be looking for? Why do we need gutters and downspouts? Doesn’t the rain just fall off the roof anyway? Gutters and downspouts direct rain and snow or ice melt away from the foundation of your house, where it can cause damage and leakage. Here are some things your home inspector should be looking for when they check your gutters and downspouts.
Free of Debris
Your home inspector should check to see if gutters and downspouts are free of debris. Clogged gutters and downspouts can back up and overflow. This causes damge to the foundation of your potential new home. Gutters and downspouts filled with debris are a sign this home has not been properly maintained in other areas as well.
Gutters and downspouts should carry roof runoff water away from the house. This is usually done by extending downspouts outward or using a curved slab to direct the water once it leaves the downspout.
A properly constructed gutter system should carry water at least three feet away from the foundation to prevent damage.
Cracks, Breaks and Leaks
As a new homeowner, you should be aware of any cracks, breaks or leaks in the gutter and downspouts.
Water can seep through these damaged areas. This would prevent it from being directed away from the foundation. In addition to leaking, it can change the flow of the water and prevent it from being carried along, causing gutters to bulge and burst.
Unstable gutters and downspouts might have trouble holding up to heavy rain or snow. This can cause them to break or fall. This could compromise your foundation, due to water saturation. It could also pose a safety risk. Be sure your home inspector checks to see that gutters and downspouts are installed for stability.
You and your home inspector should be aware of the laws concerning rain barrels in your city, county and state. Rain barrels are illegal in some areas. Standing water can be a health hazard due to bacteria. There is also a danger of mosquitos breeding in the standing water. Mosquitos are responsible for the spread of many diseases.