Leaf Guard Purchase Tips
What you might want to know before you purchase a leaf guard.
Leaves and tree debris are one of the most common reasons that your home's rain gutter system will fail you. We believe that when you select a leaf guard system always select one that is installed on top of the gutter not down in the gutter. Its a fact that once tree debris gets down into your gutter and is exposed to water and dirt it will not dry out nor blow out, but it will become matted and is there until you climb the ladder and take it out as compost.
Large debris ( leaves, twigs and pine needles) are the bad boys when it comes to clogging gutters. They do not move or flow once in the gutter and therefore trap the smaller material. In many cases, if your problem is with only small debris ( small pine needles, seeds, etc.) installing larger 3x4 downspouts will help solve your problem.
Larger debris may at times lay on top of your leaf guard and this is a concern to many people but it is not a problem, this allows it to dry out and will shed itself over a short time.
Before you install an internal device over the gutter opening to the downspout, you should always evaluate the amount of tree debris that your gutters are exposed to, and they should be used accordingly. If you have a moderate to a large amount of debris, you will not be happy with the performance of products like the ones that fit down over your downspout openings. As the water nears the opening, it will suck the debris to these devices which then becomes matted and will plug them up and restrict the water flow and with no flow, you have no cleaning. Instead of a plug in the downspout, its a plug at the opening- that is the only advantage. Bottom line, it's still plugged with a stagnant pool of water. Water flow is what's needed to carry the small debris down and out your downspout and keep your gutter system clean. By upgrading to 3" x 4" downspout on 5" gutter it will give you better water flow, greater water capacity, and less plugging. A lot of bang for the buck!
Our Testing Results and Experiences.
- Almost all leaf guards or gutter covers allow some form of debris to enter the gutter. Those that keep even the smallest debris out work well in warmer climates, but glaze over with ice in the colder climates of the country. With hooded water adhesion style gutter covers, the water does adhere to the cover (some better than others). The water flows down into the gutter while shedding the larger debris, However, the untold secret is that the small debris will stick to the water and then will follow it around and down into the gutter.
- The size of the outlet from the gutter to the downspout is a very instrumental part of keeping gutters flowing. The clog always occurs at the outlet first, then backs up. If your outlet plugs you no longer have flow, and then the water slowly will seep through the clogged outlet and sediment builds up in the gutter. Water flow is an erosion causing action and if you have water flow your gutters will self-clean.
- The oversized outlets will not bridge over with small debris, allowing all small debris that entered the gutter to flush down the downspout- that is if the sticks and leaves are kept out of the gutter by a quality installed leaf guard. Another plus for oversized outlets is that it increases draining capacity.
Of the 30 + different kinds of gutter guards or gutter covers marketed today, to my knowledge only one or two will keep your gutter completely 100 % clean. Having said that, some problems with icing over with these products do occur. Evaluate your situation first and use simple common sense and buy a proven quality gutter guard product (which is installed over the gutter) that will keep the large debris out (leaves, twigs, seeds) and allow the small debris, which enters the gutter, to flow down and out the downspout. There are many products marketed today that feed on the American Dream (there has to be a better way). They are sold with a great marketing program that feeds on the American Dream, but the bottom line is- These Products Do Not Work!
ONE OTHER COMMENT ON GUTTER CLEANING. I get countless requests for information about products that allow you to remove debris from your gutters while standing on the ground. I ask you, how do you clean something when you can't see what you're doing? Ever go to a car wash and wash your car with your eyes closed? In my opinion, it's just another group of products using the same marketing program to fill the demand of the consumers American Dream (there has got to be a better way). We do not sell these products. We believe that you must be able to see what you are doing to accomplish the task, which requires climbing a ladder, getting on the roof, or calling a professional to clean them.