Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gutter Strainers

The recent rain storms in the Triangle have blown pine straw from the nearby trees into gutters a little earlier this year.  I know what you're going to say next.  "There's always pine straw in my gutters".  For many homeowners here in the Raleigh Durham area I know that is right.

In any event, I would like to discuss gutter or outlet strainers.  These are the light-bulb shaped, mesh devices placed in the mouth or throat of the gutter's outlet, just above the downspout.  They are designed to keep debris out of the outlet and ultimately, the downspout. They are readily available in all the big box stores and some hardware stores in the area for several dollars each.

Over the last 10+ years we have seen hundreds of them in gutters we have encountered.  In nearly every case the strainers work very, very well.  Except when they are neglected.

Rain water pushes the gutter debris toward the outlet, where the strainer lies, providing the gutter is pitched correctly.  The strainer prevents the trash or debris from entering the outlet, as designed. So far, so good.

However, if the strainer is not cleaned on a regular basis (which most are not), the gutter and outlet are now clogged preventing rain water from entering the outlet because debris is packed so tightly around them.  The result is water literally pouring over the top of the gutter rendering the gutter useless.

The bottom line is if you clean and maintain strainers on a regular basis, they perform very well.  If you forget about them for a season or two, you can expect problems.

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