Winterizing Gutters and Outside Faucets

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Gutter & Downspout Maintenance

Gutters and downspouts are designed to move rain water and snowmelt away from your home.  They must be kept cleaned and in place to ensure that they work effectively, including gutters with guards.

What if I don’t do this?

Excess rain water and snow melt can spill against walls and windows and saturate the home’s foundation, causing foundation, gutter and downspout damage.

Time needed: 1 to 2 hours

Frequency: each year in the fall

Number of steps: 3

Tools Needed: ladder, goggles or safety glasses, rubber gloves, small scoop or garden shovel, garden hose with spray attachment

STEP 1: Locate Key Areas

  • Locate all gutters, downspouts and downspout extensions.  Most homes with gutters have several downspouts, either plastic or metal.

STEP 2: Plan Ahead for Maintenance

  • Assemble tools that you will need and create a safe workplace.  If you are unfamiliar with ladder use or safety, contact a qualified professional.

STEP 3: Keep them Clean

  • Clean debris from gutters and downspouts.  Be careful not to damage gutters or downspouts with ladder or tools.  Wear rubber gloves and use a small scoop or garden shovel if necessary.  Wash smaller pieces away using a garden hose with spray attachment.
  • During dry periods, small animals will build their homes inside of downspouts and extensions. Check occasionally to make sure they are clear.

Outside Water Faucets

You can prevent water damage to your home by winterizing outside faucets each fall.  Winter temperatures can freeze the water that is trapped in outside faucets and pipe connections.  Turning off the water supply to outside faucets is the best way to prevent this problem

Time Needed: 30 minutes

Frequency: each fall

Number of Steps: 3 to 4

Tools Needed: small pail or container, stool or ladder, towel, pliers, crescent wrench

STEP 1: Locate Outside Faucets

  • Locate all outside faucets – there is a separate shutoff valve inside of each outside faucet

STEP 2: Locate Inside Shutoff Valves

  • Inside valves have similar handles but may be painted different colors.  Inside valves will also have a small cap used for draining excess water from the pipe to outside faucet.

STEP 3: Turn off water

  • Turn off water at inside valves by turning handle clockwise.  Next, open outside water faucets.  Drain excess water inside by opening drain cap with pliers, holding a pail underneath to catch water.  When water stops draining, close drain cap and slightly snug (DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN!!) with pliers.  Close outside faucets.

STEP 4:  Insulated Covers

  • Turning off water and draining at inside valves is the best course of action, however you can purchase inexpensive insulated covers for outside water faucets; easy to install and will offer some protection against freezing.