Are Self Cleaning Gutters Possible?

Can there really be gutters that are self cleaning? When you reside in a forest of trees, this appears like a wild idea. All year long–not just in the spring or perhaps tons and fall–twigs of debris fall. Gutter cleaning is a year round chore–something that should be done every week from mid September through mid December and 2 or perhaps 3 times in the spring. The theory of self cleaning gutters is just silly if you’ve previously seen a gutter full of debris and leaves.

Most homeowners in this environment attempt to solve the problem first with screens. Anticipation is met with dismay as within 12 months to 18 months plants are seen growing through the screens and the gutters are overflowing. Examination of the gutter and the screen reveals the gutter filled with a tremendously fine soil as debris with the plants rooted deeply within the dirt. It is absolutely amazing just how most of this nice debris has accumulated in the gutter from passing through the screens.

The concept of self cleaning gutters seems absurd after an event of this nature.

Besides screens you can find many other gutter protection devices. One particular device is a membrane that is installed either in the gutter itself as a brush or even a filter. Another is a micro mesh filter that covers the gutters. But remembering the nature of the debris you’ll realize that these’re not self cleaning gutters either. The very 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 screens in the cover likewise become clogged. If tree debris were like coffee grounds, they’d almost certainly work, but tree debris is much finer clogging the filter requiring cleaning or replacement.

Then are the gutter guards with solid tops along with a rounded front nose or even 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’s really directed into the gutter as it sticks to the surface of the leaf guard. After experience with filters and screens, perfect sense is made by it to doubt the ability of these products to make gutters self cleaning and rightly so. Go to your kitchen sink and run water over a small portion of the gutter cover. Water will follow the contour and run downward into what could be the gutter. But what would happen it you place some wet leaves on top of the gutter cover? If you do not have leaves, make use of a dollar bill as it is going to mimic a wet leaf and will move in a slow manner with the fin and instead of dropping off the fin, watch it stick to the fin downward with the water into what would be the gutter.

You will notice that this sort of gutter guard is going to pass full sized leaves along with nearly all of the tiny blossoms and buds in the spring time. No doubt about the fin gutter type being self cleaning.

You’ll find 2 other types of gutter guards we can look into, but up to now the concept of self cleaning gutters is simply a dream.

Another breed of leaf guards is the fin type with a trough with sieve openings. Yet it does not take a college graduate to see that the many debris that sticks to the fin will certainly get into the trough where it’s no place to go except to clog the sieves or even deteriorate even more, pass through the sieves in amount which is sufficient to clog the gutters. No hope of self cleaning gutters here either.

to be able to achieve self cleaning gutters, the size of debris that enters the gutter must be restricted. The good news is there’s one other 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 lengthy fin. Due to the dimensions of the louvers nothing longer than 3/4″ can get into the gutter. What’s more is that in order for anything that size to enter the gutter, it’s to hit the louver perfectly.

The other difference is that the breadth of the opening for water to enter the gutter is 1/8″ instead of 3/8″ further and sufficiently limiting the size of the debris.
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Visual inspections after 20 years of service (that’s right not one or perhaps 2 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. Indeed, the hopes of self cleaning gutters for all types of trees–locust, oak, pine, ash etc is a reality now.

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