Can there truly be gutters that are self cleaning? If you live in a forest of trees, this sounds like a wild idea. All year long–not just in the spring or fall–twigs and tons of debris fall. Gutter cleaning is a year round chore–something that needs to be done every week from mid September through mid December and two or three times in the spring. The idea of self cleaning gutters is simply silly if you’ve ever seen a gutter full of leaves and debris.Do you want to learn more? Visit https://www.jaggroofing.com/how-to-best-clean-your-gutters
Most homeowners in this environment attempt to solve the problem first with screens. Anticipation is met with dismay as within twelve months to eighteen months plants are seen growing through the screens and the gutters are overflowing. Examination of the gutter and the screen reveals the gutter full of a very fine soil like debris with the plants rooted deeply within the dirt. It’s absolutely amazing how all this fine debris has accumulated in the gutter from passing through the screens.
The idea of self cleaning gutters seems absurd after an experience of this nature. Besides screens there are many other gutter protection devices. One such device is a membrane that is installed either in the gutter itself as a filter or a brush. Another is a micro mesh filter that covers the gutters. But remembering the nature of the debris you’ll realize that these are not self cleaning gutters either. The same anticipation is met with dismay as the fine soil-like debris accumulates in the gutter and actually builds an impenetrable layer over the filter causing gutters to overflow. The filters in the cover likewise become clogged. If tree debris were like coffee grounds, they’d probably work, but tree debris is much finer clogging the filter requiring cleaning or replacement.
Next are the gutter guards with solid tops and a rounded front nose or fin. The water flows down the front nose through a space about 3/8″ width into the gutter. You would think that the water would just skip off the gutter cover onto the ground but no. It is actually directed into the gutter as it sticks to the surface of the leaf guard. After experience with screens and filters, it makes sense to doubt the ability of these devices to make gutters self cleaning and rightly so. Go to your kitchen sink and run water over a small section of the gutter cover. Water will follow the contour and run downward into what would be the gutter. But what would happen it you place some wet leaves on top of the gutter cover?. If you don’t have leaves, use a dollar bill as it will mimic a wet leaf and will move slowly to the fin and instead of dropping off the fin, watch it follow the fin downward with the water into what would be the gutter.
You’ll notice that this type of gutter guard will pass full sized leaves along with most of the tiny buds and blossoms in the spring time. No doubt about the fin type of gutter being self cleaning. There are two other types of gutter guards we can look into, but so far the idea of self cleaning gutters is only a dream.
Another breed of leaf guards is the fin type with a trough with sieve openings. Yet it doesn’t take a college graduate to see that all the debris that sticks to the fin will indeed go into the trough where it has no place to go except to clog the sieves or deteriorate even further, pass through the sieves in sufficient amount to clog the gutters. No hope of self cleaning gutters here either.
To achieve self cleaning gutters, the size of debris that enters the gutter must be limited. The good news is that there is one more design to look at and that is of a gutter protector which uses two rows of interspersed louvers in the front portion of the gutter cover to replace the one long fin. Because of the size of the louvers nothing longer than 3/4″ can enter the gutter. What’s more is that in order for anything that size to enter the gutter, it has to hit the louver perfectly.
The other difference is that the width of the opening for water to enter the gutter is only 1/8″ instead of 3/8″ further and sufficiently limiting the size of the debris. Visual inspections after twenty years of service (that’s right not one or two years but twenty) shows that as the water cascades into the bottom of the gutter it causes a swirling which constantly stirs up the bottom of the gutter moving what little debris enters the gutter toward and down the downspout. Yes, the hopes of self cleaning gutters for all types of trees–locust, pine, oak, ash and so on is a reality today.