There are more falls associate with standard home ladders and residents than any other accident at home. Furthermore, most people are not accustomed to climbing a ladder every day, multiple times each day. Equilibrium and balance may be off without a person knowing until it’s too late.
Safety is our business, especially ladder safety. In addition, we carry proper business liability insurance.
We have business liability insurance coverage to do work on ladders at your home. Conversely, a landscaper carries insurance to cut your grass—what happens if that same landscaper falls from a ladder? The answer is simple: the insurance company will refuse to pay and you become responsible.
Our insurance not only protects us, it also protects you.
See the Gutter King Wichita difference for yourself. Call 316-680-6708 for a fast, affordable quote.
Spring is almost here! And spring is the time for heavy and saturating rainfall. Of course, flooding is a serious threat to some areas this time of the year; however, it is the combination of heavy rains and pounding winds that can really mess up a home. Read on for 3 ways to prepare for spring rains and protect your home.
1. Ensure Good Drainage
The number one way to keep water away from your home’s foundation and to protect your home from spring rains is to ensure correct drainage.
Make sure the ground around your home is graded away from the foundation. The soil should slope at least six inches within 10 feet of the foundation. If this is not the case, you need to add a dense soil to the area, to fix the grading and prevent water damage to the foundation.
Install a French Drain
Another option is to install a French drain. Dig a trench around the foundation, line it with gravel, and place a drain with perforations in it to pull the water away. Cover the drain with gravel and add soil over it. Be sure the trench has a 3-5% down slope, so that rain water drains away from the foundation. This is a great way to protect your home from spring rains that bring heavy rainfall.
2. Check Your Basement & Foundation
Be sure there are no cracks.
Look for cracks or deteriorating mortar joints in the walls of your home, especially the foundation walls. If you find any, seal the small cracks with a caulk which is specifically designed for masonry repairs. Fill larger gaps with a hydraulic cement.
Inspect your sump pump.
Another way to protect your home from spring rains is a sump pump. Most homes need a good quality sump pump in the basement floor, to prevent water damage to the home’s foundation. Be sure your sump pump has power to it and test it regularly to make sure it actually pumps water out.
Do not let the soil around your home dry out completely.
When the weather is particularly dry, the soil around your foundation may dry out and shrink. When this happens, you will see a gap between the soil and the foundation. Then when we have a big rain, the rain water will expand and put a lot of pressure on your foundation walls. So monitor the soil at your foundation level, especially during a drought. Keep ground cover near the foundation, but below siding levels. And keep the ground just moist enough to prevent shrinking.
3. Keep Gutters and Downspouts Clean and in Good Repair
Keep the gutters free from leaves and debris.
You need rain water to run freely through your gutter systems. If they’re blocked or damaged, heavy rain sends water down the sides of your house and into the ground close to your foundation.
Check all gutter seams.
Your gutter systems should not leak at the seams or mitered corners. If you see water dripping along your gutters, call us for a free gutter inspection. If you hire us to clean your gutters, we include sealing and tightening your gutters as part of your cleaning service.
Be sure gutters are secure.
Make sure the gutters themselves are properly attached to your home. If loose, not only will the pitch be incorrect and rain water will not flow to your downspouts, but your gutters may easily tear away from your home in high winds.
Downspouts should lead rain water at least six feet from your home.
You may need to extend the downspouts to be sure they do not discharge water right at your foundation. You can use downspout extensions, recessed downspout extensions, or buried extensions.
In conclusion, water damage to a home is easily prevented with a few simple steps. And spring is a time of heavy and saturating rainfall. Call Gutter King Wichita if you need assistance at your home to prepare for spring rains and prevent costly water damage.
Home Maintenance is important; however, there are home maintenance practices that hurt more than help. Read on to discover more.
OVER-TIGHTENING YOUR HOME
Your house needs to breathe. When you caulk around window and door framing, you certainly protect your home from heat/cooling loss. However, there are important openings that you shouldn’t seal. For example, all factory-built storm windows have small weep holes in the lower part of the frame. These permit moisture to drain. Don’t seal these small weep holes or moisture can collect in the window. Check out Bob Vila’s article on storm window weep holes for more information.
Sealing every gap can prevent critical ventilation, it can increase allergens, and it can decrease overall air quality. Home maintenance is important; however, it’s important to perform maintenance correctly.
TOO MUCH LANDSCAPING
Trees and shrub plantings are great; however there are considerations to take when maintaining or planting. For example, overly dense plantings can create big issues. Trees should have their canopy maintained and kept at a height which permits airflow beneath. Also, dead branches can hinder the growth of healthy branches.
If your trees are planted so close together that light and airflow is blocked, health and cosmetic issues will be present. For example, decking, walkways, and outdoor carpeting will host microbial growth.
Trees, shrubs, and ground cover need constant care. Overgrown landscaping will cover windows and grow up into the eaves of the house. This overgrowth can cause extensive damage to your roof and more.
You like to clean. And you may even like to use a power washer to wash your house. You can wash all sorts of things with a power washer. For example, you can clean patio furniture, decking, house siding, fences, and the stone on your house. And it’s easy to rent a full-size power washer, or even buy a small one. A power washer will make stains and grime disappear like magic. But it’s important to perform this maintenance task correctly.
A powerful force of water can destroy the seals around your windows. When the seals leak, you open up the potential to microbial growth and wood rot. And the strong force of water can easily damage screens as you can see above.
If you power wash too close to masonry, mineral deposits can seep from the stone. You will see streaks and stains later, which are nearly impossible to remove.
If you use a power washer on your wood deck, you risk serious damage to the wood. Pressure washing is an effective way to remove old paint, stain, and microbial growth. However, if you or a contractor uses too much pressure, you can damage the soft wood that is between the darker bands of wood.
“Why Are My Gutters Dripping?” is a question worth exploring. It is not uncommon for people to ignore leaking gutters. When you see a little water dripping from your gutter, it is important to understand what may be the cause. Below, we discuss five common causes of dripping gutters that we see frequently.
Discovering the Possible Reasons for Dripping Gutters
First, we recommend that you have a professional meet with you to inspect your gutter systems. Because of varying degrees of issues, it’s impossible to diagnose every cause in an article. But following are the most common reasons.
5 Common Reasons for Dripping Gutters
Begin with a walk around the exterior of your home. You don’t need to climb a ladder and risk a fall.
1. Loose Fasteners
Your rain gutters are attached to the fascia boards with a screw, nail, or hanger. These go straight through the side of the gutter and into the fascia board. When loose, they create small leaks around the hole of the fastener. When there is a hole, there is a dripping gutter. Loose fasteners also cause the next item, improper gutter slope.
2. Improper Gutter Slope
Over time, gutters will sag. One reason is because of loose fasteners. So that rain water drains towards the downspouts, your gutters should be installed with a slight downward slope. When fasteners are loose, rain water will weigh down the gutter and change the slope. And when this happens, you will have a dripping gutter.
When a gutter sags, often times, the best way to fix is to have the sagging sections re-hung.
3. Cracks or Holes
Small cracks and holes are repaired by sealing with a special waterproof gutter sealant. If not repaired, the smaller cracks and holes will enlarge over time and you’ll notice your gutters dripping.
If holes are large, the best way to resolve is to replace the entire section of gutter.
4. Clogged Gutters
Clogged gutters cause rain water to back-up and not flow through the downspout. When water backs up, it will pour over the sides and edges of the gutter.
It’s very important to keep your gutters and downspouts clean from leaves and debris. Worse things can happen with clogged gutters, than just water flowing over the sides and edges.
5. Separated Joints
The gutter section joints–especially in the corners or ends, eventually begin to separate over time. When we clean your gutters, we reseal and tighten your gutter systems.
When it comes to gutters and downspouts, size really does matter. And a single inch may not seem like much. But between 5-inch and 6-inch gutters, size really does matter.
Gutter Do I Need?
For standard residential homes, 5-inch gutters are usually fine.
Material costs for 6-inch seamless gutters are almost twice those for 5-inch gutters. Labor costs are a little higher as well. Yet, 6-inch gutters, compared to 5-inch gutters, can move roughly 40% more water. Therefore, homes with more steeply pitched roofs and increased surface areas could benefit from a larger gutter. The reason is that the 5-inch water trough may not be able to keep up and catch it all when there is increased velocity and volume of rainwater. Also, if a home has larger fascia board, the 6-inch gutter may look better than the 5-inch trough.
What Type of Rain Gutter Do I Need?
Rain gutters come in several types, sizes, and shapes.
We call these profiles. Profiles include U or half-round shapes, as well as K
configurations. Specifically, the gutter front, when viewed from the side,
looks like the letter K. These are made of either aluminum, galvanized steel,
or copper in a standard “K” style.
Downspout Do I Need?
While rain gutters collect the rain water from the roof area, your downspouts move this water away from the foundation.
As mentioned above, for standard residential homes, 5-inch gutters are usually fine. However, the size of the gutter is sometimes less important than the size of the downspouts. Also, whether the gutter trough is kept clean or has any protection or cover from leaves is a factor. Downspouts come in different sizes, such as 2×3 inches and 3×4 inches. Therefore, instead of installing a 2×3-inch downspout on a 5-inch trough, sometimes an oversized 3×4-inch downspout will benefit the homeowner.
Size Really Does Matter
Again, a single inch may not seem like much. But between 5-inch and 6-inch gutters, size really does matter. At Gutter King Wichita, we are dedicated to helping you find the right products for your home. From seamless guttering to gutter cleaning, to gutter guards, we have the products and services to protect your home. When you need expert guttering advice, turn to the professionals: schedule a free inspection today.
Tips to solve problems, save money, and improve your home. Not every home’s a fixer-upper, but all houses need occasional repairs and maintenance. Below are 10 things a homeowner needs to know.
1. Do Not Cut Down a Tree “Just Because”
Before deciding to cut down a tree on your property, consider the risk. Even small trees can fall awkwardly and cause damage to your house or your neighbor’s property.
The tree above is split down the trunk and would likely damage nearby structures if not removed. Sometimes cutting down a tree is required; however, always thoughtfully consider your options.
DO hire a professional tree service to examine your tree and provide options that best suit you and your needs. Furthermore, the longevity of your tree depends on the trimming, pruning, and canopy maintenance. A tree must have proper care from the beginning to provide you with beauty and shade. Also, the shade from a tree ultimately decreases energy bills.
2. Utility Lines Can Kill – Call 811 Before You Dig
3. If a Pipe Bursts, You Need to Know the Location of Your Main Water Shutoff Valve
The main valve is the one to stop most plumbing catastrophes, such as a burst pipe. A homeowner needs to make sure everyone knows where this valve is located and knows how to turn it off.
things a homeowner needs to know
In warm climates, the main water shutoff is typically outside, attached to a wall or underground.
In colder climates, the main water shutoff is typically in the basement. There is also a “curb stop” shutoff that requires a special tool to operate.
things a homeowner needs to know
4. Hot Water from the Kitchen Faucet Can Scald Your Hands
A water heater set too hot is the reason why thousands of children arrive at the hospitals each year with serious burns.
The best temperature for your hot water is 120 degrees F. Although most water heater dials do not have temperature labels, you can check the temperature with a thermometer. Run hot water for at least three minutes. And then fill a glass. Using a thermometer, check the temperature. If the water is above 120 degrees, adjust the dial, wait a few hours, and check once again.
5. A Dirty or Missing HVAC Filter Will Cost You Money
When you set your thermostat to warm up your house, a couple of things happen. For example, a heat exchanger or electric coil activates. And then air pushes through the furnace with a blower fan and is heated by the exchanger. And finally, in a clean system, this air goes through the evaporator coil and into the supply ductwork.
The evaporator coil has a bunch of tiny air passages that make it work correctly. Therefore, if these are blocked, you’re gonna get cold. Not only will the dirt and junk restrict airflow, but it will also limit heat output. And unless you just turn off your furnace altogether, your HVAC system will have to run longer to reach the temperature you set on your thermostat. And the longer it runs, the higher your utility bills.
Your HVAC technician should service your unit once yearly. However, the filter of your HVAC unit tends to get dirty every month. This means that you will either need to call your HVAC every month or check it and change yourself. Although it depends on what type of air filter you use, you need to change it every one to three months.
Check the condition of your filter and change monthly if:
you have pets or
a large family or
your unit is used six months a year to year-round
there is a smoker in the house
you live on a gravel road or in an area with high winds
Change the filter immediately if:
the filter is warped or bent from blocking airflow
there is evidence of microbial growth on the filter
To change the filter:
using a marker, write the date of installation on the filter frame
turn off the unit
follow directions for your unit, to install the filter in the proper airflow direction
also, make sure the filter frame does not bend when you install
replace the lever, seal, or door
things a homeowner needs to know
6. Stop a Running Toilet
The most common cause of a toilet running is a worn flapper that no longer seals properly. In other words, if this flapper leaks, water will seep into the bowl.
To check the flapper: Open the top of the toilet. Use something long like a yardstick to press lightly on the flapper. If the sound of running water stops, you know that the problem is related to the flapper.
However, before you bother to replace it, run your finger around the opening that the flapper rests on. Mineral deposits on the rim will prevent the flapper from sealing. In that case, remove the deposits with an abrasive scrubber. If this does not fix it, replace the flapper.
7. Potato Peels and Garbage Disposals are Not Friends
Some foods do not grind down easily and will clog your sink, jam your disposal, or ruin it altogether. Furthermore, you risk flooding your kitchen and basement ceilings if you try to plunge a clogged sink! Do not put these items into your garbage disposal:
grease will solidify and clog the drainpipe
bones and pits can dull the blades, jam the disposal, or get stuck in the drainpipe
potato peels have a huge amount of starch that can clump up and form a thick paste
glass, paper, metal, and plastic can dull or jam the disposal blades
8. A Small Puddle at Your Water Heater is Never Okay
Do not gamble on your water heater. Water heaters sometimes leak from the drain or relief valves, which are easy to replace. But if a leak is coming from the tank, watch out.
Most leaks come from the hot water tank itself. If the tank leaks, there is a problem. For example, it is likely that one of the components has sprung a leak and caused water to slowly leak out and pool at the bottom of the tank.
Usually, the cause of this is sediment build-up inside the tank. If you leave the sediment long enough, it will begin to crack and rust the steel tank, eventually leading to a leak.
A leak from the tank itself almost always means the water heater will need to be replaced. In this scenario, you can contact a professional plumber to investigate further.
Left alone, a damaged tank will eventually rupture, and then you have an instant flood. It might take months or just days for a leak to become a flood—but it will happen. So, do not gamble; replace that ticking time bomb now.
9. A GFCI Outlet Only Needs to be on a Circuit–Not in Every Bathroom or Kitchen
Do you know that sometimes all bathroom outlets and one or more exterior outlets are powered through a single GFCI located in one bathroom or elsewhere, such as in a random basement room? The GFCI needs only to be in the CIRCUIT. Not in every bathroom or at every sink. For example, we found several homes where the GFCI in the basement powered the exterior electric outlet near the front porch AND the three bathroom outlets.
If there is an outage, locate all of your GFCI’s and push the reset button. That may be all you need to restore power.
10. Clogged Gutters Can Destroy a Home
They really can. We have seen it.
Here are just three ways clogged gutters do big damage:
An overflowing gutter creates pools of water at the foundation. These pools of water will penetrate cracks and pores in the concrete foundation. When the foundation deteriorates, water may make its way into the basement ceiling, walls, and flooring.
Clogged gutters are heavy! This weight pulls the fascia away from the roof structure. Consequently, this allows water to enter the attic and drip down into the interior. Or worse, it can saturate attic insulation and trigger toxic microbial growth.
Overflowing gutters lead water down the exterior walls of your home. Siding is not always completely waterproof and cannot resist continuous water flow. Water will seep behind siding and penetrate exterior wood sheathing. Eventually, the water makes its way into your home. And when this happens, it could saturate your interior wallboards and again, facilitate microbial growth in your home.
We are here for you. Prepare your home for Spring by ensuring your gutters are free of debris and in good shape before the rain sets in.
Your home needs several types of maintenance at different times of the year. Some tasks are performed monthly, quarterly or yearly. Other tasks are performed just once each season. January or February is a great time of the year to check off the items listed below. Here are 10 wintertime tips we hope you find useful to preserve your home for cold months ahead.
1. Check the Fireplace
For example, check for cracks on the chimney structure, as well as loose bricks or missing mortar. A wire-mesh cap should cover the top of the chimney to keep out critters, leaves, and rain. Also, check for creosote build up in your chimney. Call a professional chimney cleaner if you’re not sure when or how to clean your chimney.
2. Drain Sediment From Your Water Heater
We do not know many people who actually do this; however, it most certainly can extend the life of your water heater by years. Sediment will collect at the bottom of a tank and create hot spots which can cause the tank to leak. If you have an electric-powered tank, sediment can cause the lower heating element to fail. Therefore, experts recommend draining water heaters at least once each year.
10 wintertime tips
3. Clean Up & Donate to Charity
Winter months are a great time to go through your house and collect things that you or your family no longer uses. So, put on your favorite music and place a plastic tub in each room.
4. Prevent Outside Water Faucets from Freezing
Oh, the joy of going into your relaxing, cozy den only to discover wet carpet, soggy sheetrock, and water dripping down the wall. Firstly, we’re not pointing fingers here, but garden hoses should be removed from all faucets, including frost-free. The reason is that the water may not drain down properly away from the faucet. Instead, it will expand in the spigot and pipe. And finally, when that happens, you can expect a water leak, costly repairs to the interior, and costly plumber services.
Some homes are more likely to form ice dams than others. Ice dams are contiguous chunks of ice that form along the edges of your roof. They’re no big deal when they’re frozen. But when outside temps warm up, water melting off the roof will flow downward and pool behind the ice. This is when water will seep under the shingles. Eventually, the water will drip through and into the soffits, walls, and even onto your ceilings.
10 wintertime tips
7. Reverse Ceiling Fans
Winter = Clockwise, Slowest Speed
Summer = Counter Clockwise
It’s that easy! In the summer, you want the air pushing straight down on you to help cool. In the winter, you want a gentle updraft to push warm air, which naturally rises to the ceiling, down along the walls and the floor.
10 wintertime tips
8. Protect Patio Furniture
You can extend the life of your patio furniture by taking a few winterizing steps. For example, you can apply a specialty oil finish on wood patio furniture and you can give aluminum powder-coated furniture a coat of automotive wax. After applying these protective coatings, dry thoroughly, then cover with a tarp.
9. Purchase Salt or Sand
Provide traction for family, friends, neighbors, and those delivering your Amazon Prime packages, by stocking up on sand or ice melt. For those with north-side exposure, you may have sidewalk surfaces or driveways in shade. These areas are particularly susceptible to ice or black ice. In the photo, you can see the condensation is on only part of the sidewalk–the section which is closest to the house and the entryway. The reason for this is because the air warmed up quickly today, from 21°F to 52°F. The sidewalk in the sun is warmer than the sidewalk in the shade, therefore we have condensation. Furthermore, ice will form again on this sidewalk in a few hours, when the temperature drop below 32°F.
10 wintertime tips
10. Clean Your Gutters
Clogged gutters in the winter are a particularly bad situation in this area because of the rainy season just around the corner. Your gutters must be free from leaf muck, sticks, pine cones, and leaves, in order to move water away from your home. If you haven’t already, call Gutter King Wichita to clean your gutters.
Unfortunately, it’s no wonder fascia boards rot, and we see it all too often. For example, many times we are called after the damage is done and find a roofline pictured above. No one wants to think about the decomposition of your home, but that’s exactly what is happening if you do not perform routine and regular preventative maintenance.
Fascia Boards Rot
Why Rot Happens
There are three ingredients which create rot. For example, rot needs oxygen, warmth, and moisture. We can’t control the first two ingredients. In other words, we can’t remove oxygen from the air at the exterior surfaces of your home any easier than we can control the temperature of the air. But, we can control the moisture.
By reducing moisture in the rot equation, you can reduce the speed at which decomposition occurs in your home.
The Dangers of Rot in Your Home
Rot isn’t dangerous just because it looks bad! It is a big deal because it can spread and compromise the structural integrity of your home. Wood rot spreads to load-bearing walls or into locations such as your front steps, deck or porch. When this happens, there are dangerous life safety issues which can occur. A deck or porch can collapse. Or worse, a balcony or roof can collapse.
Furthermore, rot attracts animals and pests who will use it for food and shelter. For example, when there are microbes in and around the home, there may also be mice, beetles, or cockroaches. We don’t want uninvited animals and pests in our home, do we?
Common Areas of Rot
Rot can occur in many places around your home, not just fascia boards. For example, rot can occur on:
the foundation of your home
The Good News!
The good news is that you can prevent rot!
Fascia Boards Rot
At Gutter King Wichita, we can help you maintain a healthy home. We repair gutter systems, clean gutters, and much more. For example, when you hire us to clean your gutters, we also check your gutter hangers for deterioration and proper spacing. Furthermore, we check the slope and pitch of your gutters for proper alignment and water flow.