Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Never Clog Gutter Guarantee

Don't let the never clog gutter guarantee confuse you. The micro mesh screen gutter covers advertise that they have never had a gutter clog inside. Of course this is every homeowner's dream and is exactly what any homeowner would want from their leaf guards. But what else could clog?

What they fail to mention is that in heavy debris conditions the micro mesh gutter guards will clog and where is the clog? It's on top of the gutter where it can't be seen--only suspected when water streams over the gutter.
Take a look at this YouTube video to see for yourself in a light debris situation.



Has anyone else had any with this type of gutter protection product?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gutters Installed with Spikes and Gutter Guards

Spikes and ferrules are probably the worst possible way to install gutter especially in the hands of an inexperienced crew. Spikes that don't hit a rafter tail depend on the fascia board only to hold the spike in place. Sometimes they even split the fascia board making it impossible for the spike to be held in place for very long.

Unfortunately with mother nature's forces on the gutter (weight of water in the gutter, wind, ice expanding, etc.) spikes work loose and when several of them loosen, the gutter drops loose from the fascia board where water just pours over onto the roof below or the ground.

This becomes a particular challenge if gutter covers that don't get nailed to the roof are installed on the gutter as they end up flapping in the breeze if the spikes let go.

A far superior installation is to use hidden hangers with screws that screw into the fascia board. Now you have both the swelling of the wood and the turns of the screw holding the gutter to the fascia board.

The good news is that when gutter spikes loosen and the gutter pulls away from the fascia board, it can be repaired. The gutter covers are removed, then all the loose spikes are removed to prevent them from interfering with re installation.

A quality hidden hanger is fastened to the gutter minimally every 30 inches and ideally 24 0r 18 inches apart. The gutter is repositioned in under all the roofing and fastened to the fascia board with the screws in the hidden hanger.

The gutter covers are reinstalled and everything is back to normal.

It's not uncommon to find that spikes have been reset several times into other positions because of past failings. Sometimes the spike gets reset into the bottom of the gutter which will leave an opening for water to escape the gutter and damage the facia. A basic solution for this is to use a small piece of scrap metal and lay it over the hole with Geocel 2030 sealant.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ask the Engineer - Are There Really Self Cleaning Gutters?

In order to have self cleaning gutters there are two basic physical requirements:
1. Both the size and amount of debris entering the gutter have to be limited.
2. The gutter needs to be able to flush out any debris that does get in by controlling the way the water enters the gutter to create a swirling action in the bottom of the gutter.

Most gutter screens let in too much debris and because the water drips in from the top, there is no swirling.

Then there are the micro mesh filters gutter guards. They don't let in any debris and the gutter stays free flowing inside. However, on the outside, there's nothing to keep the debris from accumulating on their top side. Nothing to keep it from accumulating like a paper mache that eventually blocks the filters and renders the gutter useless. So what good is it if you have a free flowing gutter but water can't get into it?

Membranes and brushes installed in the gutter aren't much different than basic screens. Too much debris gets into the gutter and clogs the brushes or the membranes rendering the gutter clogged. Click Here for photos of these various leaf guard designs, .

The fin type gutter guards are a step in the right direction. They have a solid top and a front rounded nose (fin). However, they allow too much debris into the gutter--even full sized leaves get in.

Another variation of the fin type gutter cover adds a trough containing sieve openings (screen-like). But it doesn't take an MIT graduate to notice that just as much debris gets into the trough as without the trough meaning that either the trough will clog or the material will break down in size and enter the gutter anyway. Once again, experience shows that too much debris gets into the gutter to keep it from being free flowing and there is no flushing action.

A final variation of the solid top fin gutter covers is the Waterloov gutter protector that has two rows of interspersed louvers instead of one long fin. The size of the louvers limit any debris that enters the gutter to 3/4" in length. Thus only about 8% of the debris that enters the fin type or the fin and trough type gets into the double row louvered system. And because the water entering the gutter from the gutter guards sweeps down the front inside face of the gutter a swirling action is created in the bottom of the gutter.

This swirling action constantly keeps any fine debris such as roofing grit, fine tree debris, parts of blossoms stirred and moving downward toward the downspout where it flows down the downspout making Waterloov the only self cleaning gutter protector design in the market place with twenty years of experience in all kinds of heavy debris conditions.

The design of the louvers allow gutters to be self cleaning and the entire system requires no servicing from ladders.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Should You Be Concerned if Your Gutter Guard Clogs?

Should you be concerned if your gutter guard clogs?

The answer to this question is "Yes" and "No."

It all depends on the type of gutter cover system you have installed on your gutters. Many gutter guards and leaf guards clog where you can't see the clog and don't know about it until it's too late and you end up with a big surprise when the gutter overflows and your basement floods.

Then some gutter guards clog are somewhat visible so you know that you have to get a ladder to clean them out.

Fortunately there is one gutter protector that makes it easy to know when maintenance is needed because any debris buildup is visible on the outside of the system and easy to clean without a ladder.

Click here to read more about all the different gutter cover devices and their benefits and faults.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Did Gutter Guards Cause My Ceiling Water Stains?

It was the day after Thanksgiving that I visited a customer who had the Waterloov Gutter Cover System for about ten years.

The wife noticed the beginning of a leak in the ceiling and wondered if the gutters could be the cause. She thought that the gutter covers had let enough debris in to clog the gutters.

We must get about two or three calls like this every year. I remember one on Mother's day a few years ago with a customer complaining that water was coming through the light socket in the middle of the ceiling. She too thought that the gutter guards were the culprit.

Even though it was a flat roof, I was certain the leak wasn't because of the leaf guards, but nonetheless, I checked because it's something we do--customer support. Sure enough the leak was caused by a tree limb that had been fallen from a nearby tree with such force that it penetrated the roofing. Finding the cause of a leak is usually not that easy.

With the Thanksgiving service call the culprit looked like it could be from a three inch vent pipe going through the roof. The flashing for the pipe was supposed to be installed under the shingles on the top portion of it. However, it was just laid on top of the shingles with caulk to seal it to the shingles--an obvious place for water to enter.

Fortunately the husband was home and what I suggested made sense to him even though his wife was still certain that the gutters were clogged and causing the problem. The good news for me was that the gutters where clean and open when I opened them up to check.

I'll keep posting new service calls as they come up and I'd like to hear about your experiences with roof leaks and gutter guards.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Last Step In Gutter Covers - Ask the Engineer

In my previous posts I wrote about gutter screens, micro mesh gutter guards, fin type gutter covers, fin type of gutter guards, dispersal units and flip clean gutters. In this post, we'll look at what one inventor patented in 1983 that takes the fin type gutter cover system to its logical endpoint.

The main problem with fin type covers is that they do not provide any way to filter out large debris from washing into the gutter along with the rainwater. This type of system also requires the use of some type of clip to connect the cover to the gutter and control the dimension of the opening.

This inventor in his original and subsequent patents envisioned a solid top and a rounded front nose just like the fin type leaf guards but instead of a single long fin he added a vertical front which has two rows of interspersed louvers or fins without creating a trough. So you might say it has many many fins of limited size each of which is approximately 3/4" in length and limits the size of debris that can enter into the gutter. The addition of a vertical front also enable the solid top portion to be attached to the gutter without the need for clips.

What makes this improved system work is a combination of gravity and surface adhesion plus a unique screening system. Gravity carries the water and debris downward and surface adhesion causes the downward flowing water to adhere to the louvers and be guided into the gutter. The interspersed fins effectively reject larger debris flowing along with the water into the gutter.

Because the amount and size of louvered openings debris entering the gutter is limited to such a small size that the gutters inside never accumulate sufficient debris to cause a problem or clog. There is no chance of any debris falling into the gutter and very little chance of debris blowing or washing into the gutter.

Other inventors have tried to overcome the fin type covers' problems by extending the lines of the nose curve into an S curve that attaches to the gutter lip. This approach eliminates the need for clips and somewhat filters the debris but the bottom portion of the S curve creates a trough which collects large debris that washes over the nose and either clogs or needs to be cleaned by hand from a ladder.

The inventors vertical faced multi-fin idea is now the Waterloov gutter protection system which has been successfully protecting raingutters in the harshest of conditions for twenty years. Where this design excels is in leaf and debris conditions that overtax the other types of gutter protection.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ask the Engineer about Flipping Gutters

In the last several posts I looked at what makes gutter screens, hooded fin type gutter guards, hooded fin type with a sieve trough gutter covers and rain dispersal units work. Now we'll look at what makes the flipping type of gutter work.

Some inventors reject the whole idea of using screens or covers to keep gutters clean in favor of finding better ways to clean gutters. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just empty the gutter all at once safely from the ground?

Gutters that flip just like with the rain dispersal units, the existing gutters need to be removed before the product can be installed.

And now as I think of it, one of the fin types that I discussed in an earlier post also requires that perfectly good existing gutters be removed and replaced with and all-in-one leaf guard. The gutter and the gutter cover are made of one continuous piece of aluminum. If you want to see how effective they are just click here to see photos of them after a year of two of service.

Back to the flip clean system. Existing gutters are removed, special brackets are installed to which the new gutters are attached. The hangers are hinged such that the entire gutter can flip downward and dump its contents by using a long pole to release the gutter. It then can be pushed back and locked into position.

What makes it work is gravity alone. Whatever falls into the gutter is simply dumped. The problems with this device are that you can't see what is in the gutter before you dump it so if you forgot to dump it last year, you might end up with a putrid dam of water on your head. The gutters are also known to warp rendering the invention useless. And of course if you have twenty gutters on your home, each one has to be dumped.

Where the old gutters turned a corner the new gutters cannot. In order to be dumped each run of gutter must be a separate unit which interrupts the smooth clean appearance that continuous gutters normally have. Also second and third story gutters may be very difficult to reach to unhinge.

This gutter flipping approach to cleaning gutters does keep the homeowner off ladders but it certainly doesn't eliminate cleaning gutters or make the chore much easier. Only solid top gutter covers can do that.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ask the Engineer about what makes Rain Dispersal Units work.

In past posts I've been talking about the evolution of gutter covers. While most inventors were working to improve screens and solid top leaf guards there were a few who followed a different path. These few asked why improve on gutters when you can replace them with a product that forces rainwater away from the foundation and isn't a trough to collect debris.


Rain Dispersal units have been around for years. At first glance they look like they might be the answer to eliminating the chore of cleaning dirty smelly gutters. But they is a risk in that you have to remove your existing gutters completely in order to install the dispersers and if they don't work, then you're stuck with removing them and having to pay to have gutters reinstalled.
In other words, you'd be back to square one and out of pocket a considerable amount of water and money. At least if you choose the wrong gutter covers or leaf guards, you still have your gutters intact.

Well, let's take a look at rain dispersers and what makes them work. And then what could go wrong with them.

Basically the rain dispersal system is a series of angled vanes mounted horizontally to your fascia board. In theory as the rain water flows off the roof it hits the vanes with sufficient force (kinetic energy) to disperse the water droplets outward away from the foundation of the building.

They look promising until you ask yourself a couple of questions. What happens in slow rain fall when the rain water just drips off the roof-line? And what happens to the leaves and twigs that fall onto the dispersal fins?

Remember that what makes the device work is gravity and kinetic energy. Dripping water has insufficient kinetic energy to disperse in the vanes. It simply drips onto the vanes and drips from them straight down onto the ground leaving a drip line all around the foundation.

And what about the wet debris that lays on top of the unit? It blocks off the vanes so the rain water as it hits the dispersal unit is not dispersed but simply runs off onto the ground.

Again, maintenance involving the use of a ladder is required to clean off the top of the dispersal units. Certainly not a solution to ladder free maintenance.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ask the Engineer More about How Gutter Guards Work


In the last posts I covered screens, membranes, filters and the hooded fin type of gutter cover.

In search of the perfect gutter guard inventors needed to improve upon the fin type of gutter guard since it allowed too much debris into the gutter in mild-to-heavy debris conditions. What they did was add a trough along with a sieve in the bottom of the trough. They added it to portion of the gutter guard that extended downward into the gutter to limit the size of the debris that is allowed into the gutter. Basically it's a trough with openings to allow water into the gutter.

It seems like a step into the right direction. The inventors dilemma was what size to make the openings in the trough. If the openings were too small then all of the debris that would normally enter the gutter from the fin leaf guard accumulates in the trough and clogs. If the openings are too large than the debris can enter the gutter and clog. Each manufacture of this type of cover arrived at their own determination of what the optimum size of the openings should be. In reality there is no optimum size because what works for one type of debris (large leaves) doesn't necessarily work for another (pine needles) type of debris.

After it deteriorates in the trough a sufficient amount of debris still gets into the gutter to clog the gutter.

What makes the fin and trough type of gutter guard work is the use of surface adhesion just as with its predecessor (the fin) and gravity. The inventors reverted back to the screen type which operates only by gravity in the trough in their attempts to advance the the technology in a significant way but failed to doing so.

Again, maintenance involving the use of a ladder is required to remove the gutter guards and clean the downspouts and reinstall the gutter covers. Maybe a slight improvement over basic fin type gutter guard, but not a solution to ladder free maintenance.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More on How Gutter Guards Work with the Engineer

In previous posts I looked at the basic screening systems, filters, and membranes. These would be the simplest form of the logical approach to use gravity to separate debris from rain water. Even using the finest quality of stainless steel mesh still allows debris to accumulate on top of the gutter guard which must be cleaned off. Someone has to go up a ladder and clean the tops of these devices. Basic screens and membranes can be very difficult to clean. Some filters are much easier to clean, but none of them eliminate maintenance involving the use of a ladder.

In the mid part of the last century, inventors worked out how the principle of surface adhesion along with gravity could be applied to leaf guards. The goal was to get rid of openings in the top horizontal surface and the inventors found that they could use a solid top with a rounded front edge to guide the water into the gutter. They invented variations of a longitudinal fin.

Of course there had to be an opening to get the water into the gutter and that was located between the fin and the front gutter lip. It's a space about a quarter to three-eights of an inch wide that extends the entire length of the gutter.

The hopes of the inventors was to have the leaves and tree debris swept to the front of the fin and have them jettisoned onto the ground while the water adhered to the fin and went into the gutter. Certainly for much of the debris this happened, but often times the debris simply stuck to the surface of the gutter cover fin and followed the water into the gutter in sufficient quantity to clog the gutter.

Again, maintenance involving the use of a ladder is required to remove the gutter guards and clean the downspouts and reinstall the gutter covers. Certainly an improvement over basic screens and membranes, but not a solution to ladder free maintenance.

As we will see in future posts other inventors were following a different path because they saw the one extended opening as a potential problem and an obstacle to overcome.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More with the Engineer about What Makes Gutter Guards Work

In my last post I looked at what makes gutter protection work -- gravity and some kind of screening product to keep the debris out.

The first approach to screening was exactly that--flat screening made of metal or plastic with large holes. Being that basic screening left a lot to be desired, inventors tried to make them more sophisticated.

They shrunk the size of the holes and tried different shape openings eventually making the screens into filters and permeable membranes. The membranes get glued into the gutter and may be an inch or more thick. The filters get installed on the top of the gutter and some are made of a fine stainless steel mesh.

The manufacturers of these improved screens have impressive displays of their gutter guards. But then the true display is how the product works after a few years of service. Since both of these types are flat to the top of the gutter, they collect debris on top of them. And yes, for a period of time the rain water finds its way through the debris and into the gutter but after a few years the debris becomes like mud. Yes the filters would work great if the debris were like coffee grinds, but it's not. The mud eventually blocks the openings in the filters and membranes and requires maintenance.

That means someone has to go up a ladder and flush the gutter guards or gutter covers to clean them. Another disadvantage is that some of the membranes break down after about five years rendering them useless in that they can't even be cleaned, they themselves become clogging debris in the gutter. And adding insult to injury, the parts of the membrane that might not break down, is glued into the gutter and often can not be removed without replacing the gutter.

Unlike the inexpensive traditional screening, these filters and membranes can cost as much as $20/foot.

These are just two more types of gutter covers and gutter guards that are great advertisements for more effective gutter protection I like Waterloov.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ask the Engineer What Makes Gutter Covers Work?

Sir Isaac Newton of the 17th and 18th centuries discovered the principle of gravity and gravity is the force that makes all rain gutter covers work.

Gravity pulls down the rain and the debris along with it. Where rain gutters are concerned the idea is to get the rain through any rain gutter guard and screen out the debris.

Screens were the most obvious first choice to accomplish this goal. The first screens had relatively large holes about 1/4" square in size. They certainly kept out large leaves but as the debris lay on top, dried, and became brittle, the rain water would pummel the brittle debris into the gutter in sufficient quantity to clog the gutter.

The only advantage is that these screens are inexpensive and millions of feet are sold and installed every year.

But after you've used them for a while and tried to clean them out at least once you would wonder why anyone would ever use them as they are more of a problem than they are helpful.

Screens are a major reason why homeowners purchase more sophisticated gutter protectors and are a great advertisement for the Waterloov Gutter Protection product.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Engineer discusses Self Cleaning Gutters?

In a recent post I wrote about self-leveling gutters. The fact that low spots in gutters that could otherwise be breeding grounds for mosquitoes get filled in to create a false bottom is amazing. No other gutter protection product does this.

This self-leveling feature helps to enable the gutters to clean themselves.

How can this be possible? A self cleaning Gutter?

There are two things that need to happen for gutters to clean themselves.

First, the size of any debris that can enter through the gutter guard must be limited to less than 3/4" in size. Debris this size or smaller is easier for the water to move along the flat bottom of the gutter unimpeded by larger leaves and sticks. Some gutter protection products like brush and foam inserts sit directly on the gutter bottom. The bottom needs to be unobstructed.

Second, all the water to enter the gutter needs to run down the gutters front wall. The water then sweeps across the flat bottom of the gutter causing a swirling that stirs any loose debris and carries it to the downspout. Water entering through screens and filter products tend to keep this fine debris on the bottom where it builds up.

Although some helmet type products allow the water to flow down the inside front wall of the gutter they do not restrict the size of the debris. The design of the nose of other helmet type products causes the water to bypass the front wall and fall directly on the flat gutter bottom. Both conditions make it impossible for the gutters to keep themselves clean over time.

If a gutter protection product stays clog free over as many as 20 years and when opened up is found to have only a small amount of fine grit on the bottom, only then can it be truely called self cleaning.

The gutter protection product that was designed with both of these features is the Waterloov gutter protector. It has a solid top as well as openings and louvers in the front face that restrict the debris to less than 3/4 of an inch and force the water down the inside of the front wall of the gutter.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ask the Engineer About Self Leveling Gutters

Gutters often have one or more low spots that accumulate standing water. If water accumulates more than a half inch, that's more than can evaporate in the four days it takes mosquito larvae to mature thereby turning the gutters into be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

One of the benefits of the Waterloov Gutter Cover System is that unlike other solid top gutter covers it passes only small debris that accumulates in the low spots of the gutter and fills them in and acts as a false bottom. No water accumulates any more. This is what is meant by self leveling gutters and Waterloov is the only product that does it.

Take a look at your gutters to make sure they are secure and not sagging in the middle. Extreme sagging can be an indication of facia problems or a substandard installation. It may be time to have your gutters rehung or replaced.

Eliminating standing water isn't just beneficial for you it's a public service.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Robot Tries To Clean Gutters!

The most recent issue of Consumer Reports had a small article titled, "Can a Robot Clean your Gutters?

Consumer report bought the device at a price of $170 and tested it. The device is battery powered and remote controlled for distances up to 75 feet. It has rubber tracks instead of wheels with spinning flappers on the front end to whip the debris out of the gutter as it crawls along the gutter. It can not maneuver corners.

They found that in many situations its simply faster to clean by hand rather than to use the robot. The also found that it occasionally sticks and has to be rescued and that "This robot is not so hot. It flipped many leaves back into the gutter or toward the roof instead of the yard."

We can't really call this device competition for the Waterloov Gutter Cover System since it's clearly for the homeowner who really wants to continue efforting at cleaning gutters and maybe have a little frustrating fun.

This just goes to show you how much of a problem clogged gutters are for homeowners who have to deal with them. Homeowners seem to be willing to try anything to help make gutter cleaning as effortless as possible.

Just like with trying to loose weight, quick fixes don't always work as advertised. A real solution to the problem can usually be found by using a proven professional approach thay may cost a little more but will give you the results you're looking for.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Engineer Meets Gutter Cover Owners

A happy Waterloov gutter cover customer recently invited me to a networking event where I had a heart warming gutter cover experience.



I was in a small group of four introducing ourselves to each other and one gentleman asked me what I did. I replied, "I protect gutters." No sooner than I got the word gutters out, he asked, "Are you from Waterloov?"

I was amazed how quickly he remembered the name, Waterloov. He went on to quickly share with me that over the years he's had two homes in the area and on each one he had Waterloov installed.

He said, "I had them come over to give me an estimate and after receiving the quote I paused a moment thinking that it was a lot of money but bought it anyway." He added that "It's the best investment I ever made. I had sixty trees on my last house before I moved into a condo and never once had to deal with my gutters after your product was installed. I had about twenty trees cut down to install an in ground pool and it was still a nightmare dealing with all the leaves from the other trees getting into my pool. But the good news was I never had to do anything with the gutters. "

I can't tell you how good it felt later on during our introductions to the group to have not one but two happy customers amongst all the new people I met to and to have them whole heartedly recommend Waterloov's gutter guards to the remainder of the group.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Other gutter guards that clog

I found a comment posted by a roofer about a particular brand of gutter guard that he found clogs.

This picture came from a page that shows an installation of this product.

Photos that shows other gutter guards in real environments are our best advertisement. You will never see leaves inside of Waterloov.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Silly Way to Clean Gutters

Surfing the web and found an entertaining approach to cleaning gutters. Everyone knows that you can go up a ladder and use a hose to flush gutter clean. Of course you have to remove the leaves by hand and then flush the gutters.

Well, the inventor of this product decided to skip the ladder and use a pipe to get water up to the gutter and then a hook direct it down into the gutter. It's something any third grader would probably think of. But what about all the debris in the gutter? I guess all those leaves and twigs are going to be washed to the downspout and then flow down the downspout?

I find it amazing that anyone would think that device would be of benefit much less purchase it. Again, other products are our best advertisement for the Waterloov Gutter Protection System.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Can Pine Needles Get Into My Gutter Guards?

A customer called a few days ago to tell me that her Waterloov gutter covers were clogged. She had the product for ten years and was fearful that the gutters were clogged. I asked if anyone had ever brushed her gutter guards and she said no.

Sure enough, pine needles were crusted on the lower gutters (more so than the upper gutters). Fortunately it had just rained and it wasn't necessary to wet the louvers. Just a couple swipes with the brush on the end of a telescopic pole and the gutter guards looked like new.

Nothing had gotten inside the gutters and she was amazed how nicely they cleaned up. Once she saw how easy it was to clean them she purchased a telescopic pole and brush to do it herself.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all gutter covers, gutter guards, gutter filters, and screens were this easy to maintain.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Engineer says "It's the design that matters?"

There are over a hundred different type of gutter covers and gutter guards. But if you look at them closely, you'll see that they break down to six basic types of gutter guards and gutter covers. What makes them work and are they effective?

Read an indepth article that looks at each type of gutter protector and discusses the pros and cons of each type.

Ultimately when all is said and done, the one design that stands out among all the others is the Waterloov Gutter Protection System.

There are several reasons why this design stands out:
1. It has discriminating louvers in its' vertical face that limit the size of debris that can enter the gutter.

2. Because of the way rain water is admitted into the gutter, the design of the louvers create eddies that constantly sweep any small debris that enters the gutter along the gutter and down the downspout making it effectively the only real self cleaning gutter.

3. Any debris that accumulates on the outside of the louvers in heavy debris conditions can easily be cleaned away from the ground with a telescopic pole and bush. It's call "suit and tie" maintenance because it can literally be done with the homeowner dressed in a suit and tie. And, it can be done in the time it takes to walk around the home. Every other gutter cover, screen or filter requires a ladder to clean and maitain them.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Don't Take Off My Gutter Covers

Recently a homeowner reported that she was getting water running down the inside of her double window and was wondering if there was something about the gutter covers that could be causing it.

She had an overhang of about 8" with a gutter hung with strap hangers--no fascia board. I told her that I'd be glad to look at the gutter but from past experience didn't expect to see any connection between her problem and the gutters and that the one way to tell for sure would be to remove the gutter covers and see if the problem still persists without the gutter covers.

She was quite adamant that she did not want the gutter guards taken off. She would not give up her gutter guards, period.

I removed one gutter cover at the point of the leak--it was a brand new roof with brand new gutters and the gutter covers were installed under the second course of roofing. There was no way that water was finding it's way into her home from the gutters. There was not even evidence of streaking on the gutters that would indicate that water was bypassing the gutters and being blown into the windows.

I gave her roof and windows a careful look and unfortunately could not locate the source of the leak, but one thing for sure, the Waterloov Gutter Cover System was not at fault.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Which Invention Will Make It?

I was watching a commercial for one of the invention service companies. The commercial showed a fellow with a successful invention and went on to say that prospective inventors should not expect the same successful results.

I realized that what they said about new inventions not necessarily being successful was true and then I thought about the field of gutter covers.

Its amazing how many patents are issued for different devices to keep gutters clean. It seems that no matter how stupid or ridiculous they are, someone will believe that some of them will work and will actually manufacture and market them. And homeowners are so desperate for a solution that they will often buy them without doing much research.

A new invention needs more than a different idea to be successful, it needs an idea that will actually do in real life what the inventor envisioned and do it economically.

An example of a patented invention that improved upon existing gutter protection technology and has proven inself for twenty years is Waterloov.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ask the Engineer "What Happens with Storm Damage?

I received a call today from a contractor who is in charge of an insurance claim to repair storm damage to one of our homeowner's home. Approximately twenty feet of Waterloov gutter protectors needed to be replaced and he wanted to place an order for the material.

I decided to ask him if he might be interested in representing a superior performing gutter protection product.

He told me that he had never seen a gutter guard that didn't either let the gutter clog or clog itself and that he is associated with a gutter installer who uses a name-brand screen product. Even the one his associate uses clogs inside the gutter and it also accumulates debris on top of it that has to be cleaned off.

Well, I shared with him that the gutters covered with the Waterloov Gutter guard never clog inside the gutter but that in heavy debris conditions the louvers can clog.

He found my statement about the gutters never clogging inside a pretty bold statement. I didn't have to defend it at all as I simply suggested that since he's working on one of our installations he take a look for himself. He verified that the home was in a very heavy tree debris area.

As far as the gutter covers clogging, I said that I had no idea as to whether the homeowner had been keeping up with any maintenance and that if any was required it could easily be done with a telescopic pole and brush. But I was certain that the inside of the gutter was clean and free flowing.

He agreed to take the challenge and see for himself. I'll talk to him in a few days to confirm his findings.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gutters Still Clean Inside After 18 Years

We recently received a call from a homeowner in Northern Virginia who had Waterloov gutter covers installed 18 years ago and was having some overflow problems. The dealer who installed this home had retired.

Fortunately we have a new dealer in the area who we asked to take a look at the installation because the customer needed to be serviced and even though we had never seen the installation we knew he'd be impressed with how the gutters looked inside after nearly twenty years.

John, the new dealer, called the day after he visited the customer. He was excited and amazed. "It's amazing, that house has trees all around it and the gutter are totally clean inside." He just couldn't believe it. John knew he chose the right product to represent, sell and install. "I'm going to take my entire sales team to that house just to impress them." The exterior of the gutter guards were also clean as the homeowner kept them brushed.

The overflow problem that the homeowner was experiencing turned out to be from only one of the roof valleys. The original installation used diverters which proved unable to control the large amount of valley water and was done before our ValleyFall™ product was invented to solve this problem.

Of course we were amazed that the customer waited nearly twenty years before asking for help, but we knew what to do--install ValleyFall™.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Engineer asks: "Do Gutter Guards Need to be Strong?"

Someone told me about a video commercial that shows the manufacturer of an "all-in-one" gutter guard driving his jeep onto the product and it doesn't dent. I suppose he does this to demonstrate how strong the product is.

Let me ask you, when was the last time you drove your jeep on your roof? When was the last time you stepped onto your gutter? Is it even something you might want to do?

What do gutter covers need to be that strong for? Fat raccoons? Heavy leaves?

The only impact a gutter and gutter cover sees is from a fallen tree limb. And believe me, if the tree limb hits the "all in one" gutter and gutter guard any place except where the support fastener is located (the place where the tire of the jeep was on the product) it's going to dent the top of the "all in one" system. Absolutely! And you know what? The entire length of the "all-in-one" gutter needs to be replaced if you want it to collect all the water.

We've been manufacturing the Waterloov Gutter Protection system since 1989--twenty years . In the early years the only aluminum we could use was quite thin (.019"). A few years later in 1995 we developed methods that allowed us to use thicker material (.027" the same material gutters are made from).

We changed for two reasons:
1. We figured a thicker metal would be stronger and last longer.
2. It allowed us to expand to twenty different colors.

Twenty years later we find that the early .019" gutter covers are still in service and whether a tree limb damages the thinner leaf guard or the thicker gutter guard, it doesn't matter--either one can be easily fixed or replaced. Even .032" panels get dented.

The question to ask is not, "How strong is the gutter cover?"
but, "Can the gutter cover be easily and inexpensively repaired if damaged by a fallen tree limb?"

An even more important question is, "Will it keep my gutters clean inside?"

The "all in one" gutter protector can clog inside and once that happens, cleaning it is no picnic. You're totally at the mercy of the installing company.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ask the Engineer "What Makes Gutter Covers Work?"

Of over a hundred different gutter guard products from which to choose, they all break down into basically six different categories.
1. Screens
2. Filters, brushes, and membranes
3. Solid top gutter guards with single longitudinal fin to collect the water.
4. Solid top leaf guards with single longitudinal fin in connection with a trough.
5. Flip clean gutters, rain dispersal units...
6. Solid top with rounded front surface leading down to two rows of interspersed louvers to collect the water.

Click here to see an article describing how each type of gutter protector works.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ask the Engineer about the History of Gutter Covers

You can tell by looking at the history of gutter guards and gutter covers what to expect in terms of their effectiveness--it's a natural progression. To read an article which provides this progression, click here. The amazing thing is that even though basic designs were invented years ago, i.e. screens--there are still new designs being invented today. It's like there's an addiction to making screens work and every year of so, someone comes out with a different screen design.

I find it amazing and ask, isn't that the definition of insanity--doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? Sure they figured out how to make the openings so small that only water can penetrate and thereby keep debris out of the gutter, but they haven't figured out how to clean off the top surface of the filter or screen.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do Gutter Covers Clog? Ask the Engineer

Yes, in mild to heavy debris conditions all gutter covers can clog. Click here for an article I wrote a few months back that breaks down over one hundred different gutter guards and leaf guards into six basic types. It explains where each type clogs and what has to be done to clean or maintain them.

I'm Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E., the engineer here to tell you that there is one gutter protector that is easy to clean--the Waterloov Gutter Protection System and after you read this revealing article you'll agree that Waterloov's competition is it's best advertisement.

Ask the Engineer about the Cost Gutter Covers

When it comes to having gutter protection or leaf guards installed it's going to cost money. One would think that the cost of gutter guards would be about the cost of gutters which ranges from a few dollars a foot to about eight or ten dollars a foot in certain areas of the country. But not so, gutter guards are considerably more costly. I wrote an article that's published on the internet. Click here to read it and you'll gain an appreciation of the costs involved in getting gutter covers to and installed on your home. Basically whether its a garbage product or the best in the world, the costs of marketing, advertising... are high. You can bet that a cheap product is going to be around $10/ft. and many products are double that price which doesn't necessarily make them much better.

In fact of all the gutter covers one of the most important questions is to ask, "How can it be cleaned or maintained?" And if the salesman says that it doesn't ever have to be cleaned, then he's a green horn and is in la la land.

It's because all gutter covers and gutter guards except for the Waterloov Gutter Protection system can't be cleaned easily from the ground. Sure this might not be an issue for four, five or so years and then suddenly your investment of several thousand dollars is worthless.

I'm Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E., the engineer and have yet to find a product in the market place that can live up to how the Waterloov gutter guard performs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bargain on gutter covers

I ran across this add on Craig's list for used gutter covers. Just goes to demonstrate what I've been saying--you can lose a lot of money if you choose any product other than Waterloov. Click here for the homeowner's ad. He found out that they won't work for pine needles. And guess what, you can save a lot of money and buy the one's he's removed and find that they won't work for leaves either.

Our competition is our best advertisement--Waterloov Gutter Covers

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ask the Builder?

I've seen Ask the Builder's Tim Carter show up a lot in searches for gutter covers and on youtube. If he only knew as much about gutter protection as he knows about getting position in the web.

I happened across his analysis of the cost difference between getting gutters cleaned by a roofer and the cost of having gutter guards installed. Click here to read the article.

"I think you should call and get gutter cleaning estimates before you buy gutter protection.

Run the numbers and see if it doesn't make better sense to hold onto your money...."


Tim reasons that if you spend $2000.00 for gutter protection you probably will be better off financially after 10 years if you had a roofer clean your gutter twice a year.

Do you only need your gutters cleaned twice a year? In the fall most of our customers needed their gutters cleaned three to four times and in the spring one to two times. That changes the finances somewhat.

But when do you call to get your gutters cleaned? When you notice them overflowing, right. And when is that? After the damage has already begun to happen with soil erosion, basement leaks, etc.

And how quickly does your a roofer get to your house to clean the gutters? Does he drop the job he's on and come the very next day to do an hour's worth of work on your home for only $75.00? No, he gets to you within a week or so unless you want to pay for an emergency service call.

And did you now that every time you have someone on your roof you have insurance exposure issues?

Wouldn't it better more sense to have your gutters clean all the time, not just twice a year. I don't think Tim considered the cost of cleanup and repair of water damage, caused by gutters that were clogged, that happened while you were waiting for the roofer to clean your gutter.

Quality gutter protection isn't just an expense it's also an insurance policy on your gutters.

If you're the kind of person who thinks it's cheaper to pay for doctor visits instead of getting health insurance because your in good health then you'll probably continue to have your gutters cleaned.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Filter Type Gutter Guards and Leaf Guards

If you've been following these posts, a few weeks ago I provided some video of one of the gutter filter systems installed on a gutter in heavy debris conditions after only three weeks.

I found some great photos taken by Portland Gutter Cleaning of what can happen with mesh filter and foam type gutter protectors.

Pictures of mesh or foam gutter guard










How do you easily clean them from the ground?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Water is Leaking in My Crawl Space--Gutter Covers

A customer that we installed Waterloov gutter protection for twenty years ago called to request service. It seemed that water was leaking into a crawl space. We had been there ten years before at the customer's request to brush the gutter protectors.

Upon arrival at the house we noticed that the openings in the gutter covers along the portion of the house with the crawl space were matted over. Three minutes later, the openings were brushed from the ground and completely open once again. Brushing a little more frequently would have prevented the possibility of the gutter covers causing water in the crawl space.

We did however notice some damage to several gutter covers from fallen tree limbs. Sometimes when the panels become crushed from tree limbs the openings are shifted from being in the vertical plane to being in the horizontal plane which means debris can fall and wash into the openings. It's amazing that just this shift in orientation can sometimes pass enough debris to clog a gutter.

A half hour later we had removed all the damaged gutter guards, repaired and reinstalled them. Much to our liking, the gutters were clear and open inside in spite of the deformed gutter guards. We also checked the downspout to make double sure there was no problem and the downspout was completely clear after twenty years of service.

One thing we did find interesting is that there was moss growing on the gutter covers in the front of the home--first time in twenty years that I've ever seen it. Following is a video tape of the service call.



Can you imagine a gutter cover working that well for twenty years in heavy debris conditions?

Friday, August 14, 2009

All In One Gutter and Leaf Guards

Are you considering an "All-in-One" gutter guard which combines a gutter and a gutter cover in one unit. This seems to make a lot of sense--particularly if you need new gutters.

But read on, I've never run across this many people in one place complaining about a gutter protection company. click here

In addition to the comments on that site, you also want to know that there are some considerations you need to be aware of with this type of product. If the "all-in-one" leaf guards are dented the entire length of gutter needs to be replaced. So instead of getting a bill for a few dollars to replace or fix a dented Waterloov Gutter Cover, you'll need to pay roughly $20 per foot to replace the entire length which could total hundreds of dollars.

Again, our competition is
our best advertisement.

The Ideal Gutter Guard

If I asked twenty people what the ideal gutter protector would be like, this list might be the top ten answers:

1. It would clean the gutter for me before installation.
2. It would install itself.
3. It would catch all the water from the roof.
4. It would never let the gutters clog.
5. It would never let icicles or ice dams form.
6. It would never blow out or need to be replaced.
7. It would never need any maintenance or need to be cleaned.
8. It would serve as a drip edge.
9. It would keep the water so clean that it could go into my cistern
10. It would drop dollar bills at night for you to pick up in the morning.

Which answers are unreasonable? Which are reasonable?

The Waterloov Gutter Protector may not drop dollar bills or install itself, but once it is installed, it will do the best job of collecting all of the rain water, keeping gutters free-flowing, and keeping your rain water clean for cistern and irrigation use. Yes, it is maintenance free for over 85% of its homeowners and for the other 15% it's the easiest leaf guard available to maintain.

video

Our competition is our best advertisement.






Wednesday, August 12, 2009

All Gutter Guards and Gutter Covers Require Cleaning

The fact is that in mild-to-heavy debris conditions all gutter covers, gutter guards, or gutter protectors are going to require cleaning. Rather than look at product videos showing new gutter covers--usually on models with flowing water or with graphics of leaves rolling down a roof and off the gutter guards--look for videos showing how gutter covers, gutter guards, and leaf guards are cleaned after they've been in service for a few years. Try to find videos of servicing after ten, twelve, fifteen or more years.

Go to YouTube and search for gutter guards and gutter covers. Ignore anything with less than five years of service. You'll find many videos showing gutter guards that have failed in as little as one year compared to others that don't. The real proof of effectiveness is how well the gutter guard will work after many years of service.

In this video I'm looking at how the premiere micro mesh gutter cover performs. Their website makes incredible claims and I wanted to see for myself. After just one month this is what I found.



The piece of metal between the Waterloov gutter cover and the micron mesh filter is a temporary bird shield to keep birds and squirrels from getting into the gutter.

I'll keep checking to see if the debris on the micron mesh blows away or builds up over time and affects the water flow.

My Leaf Guards are Dented

A customer called recently asking for help. "I have three Waterloov gutter covers that have been hit by fallen branches and they're dented, can you fix them?"

After fifteen years of service (installed 1994) there were three damaged leaf guards. Within a half hour all three gutter protector panels were removed, repaired, and reinstalled. Having extra time, I examined the rest of the gutter covers which showed a buildup of crust on the front surface. This buildup can prevent all the water from being collected. On the other side of the house the louvers of many of the covers were almost completely closed off.

The homeowner told us that he brushes the gutter covers--only problem was he did it after the gutter covers were dry. With a hose handy the gutter protectors were wetted, brushed, and re tested. They caught ever drop of water and the homeowner now knows to brush them just after a rain fall.

The amazing thing is that inside the gutters, it was clean and open--even after they were brushed.

He asked about how our system compares to the "all-in-one gutter guard his neighbor has. One important feature we pointed out was that dents in the "all-in-one" can't be repaired, they have to be replaced at a tremendous cost of about $1,800 verses less than a fifty dollars in labor that he paid to have us repair his gutter guards.

Can you imagine, removing, repairing, and replacing three damaged gutter covers, cleaning debris off a roof, and then brushing over 300 linear feet of gutter in less than a half hour and for less than $50 in labor? And this is the only service needed in fifteen years of service?

Again, Waterloov's competition is it's best advertisement.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I Have a Leak in My House

After 9 years, a customer with Waterloov gutter covers called to report that he thought his gutters were clogged with roofing debris from a new roof he had recently installed. Water was somehow getting into his first floor ceiling.

His house had a flat second floor roof with no eave meaning any water that overflowed the gutter will run down the siding and into any opening it could find.

Inspection of the inside of the gutters found it and the leader completely clear. However, there was a crusting on the louvers of the Waterloov gutter covers. When we ran water on the roof we found that there was considerable overshooting because of the crusting. He had noticed the crusting but paid no attention to it. And quite frankly, I've seen a lot worse. But the problem was that he had no eave line so any water that bypassed the louvers would run down his siding.

A few swipes from our brush atop the telescopic pole cleaned the louvers--it was the first time in nine years that they were brushed--after which they caught every drop of water.

Our customer was very happy with our findings and service. He subscribed to an inexpensive maintenance agreement to keep the overshooting from ever happening again.

No other system in the market place can be serviced this easy without using a ladder and only once in nine years? Wow!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Ideal Gutter Protector

Found an article about finding the ideal gutter protector titled, Guide to Gutter Protection by Patrick (no last name). He says that finding an ideal design is a challenge--particularly one that will collect valley water. He notes that every product has limitations.

He also notes that pine needles are a challenge for most products. He suggests that it's best to look for a product that has been in service for many years.

The actual article doesn't recommend any particular gutter cover or gutter protection product. The Waterloov gutter protection system fits the bill for all the concerns--collecting valley water, having a 20 year reputation, superior design... As I read the article I was hoping that the writer would take the time to research our product. But then I checked one of the links in the article and it went to a single fin product.

Single Fin products are terrible at clogging gutters and crusting in such a way that they can't be easily cleaned as shown in the following video:


In fact the crust goes directly into the gutter along with debris as shown in this video

and contributes to clogging the downspout. So when you read the article go to Waterloov.com for the answers. Also go to youtube.com and search for Waterloov and you'll see how easily the system can be maintained and how the gutters actually look in heavy debris conditions after fifteen years.

Click here to read the article or if the link doesn't work go to:
http://www.guidetogutterprotection.com/05/08/2009/the-perfect-gutter-cover/

Again, our Competition is our Best Advertisement, for when Debris Meets its Waterloov, the War of Clogged Gutters is Over!TM

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Are Gutter Protectors Worth the Investment?

That's an interesting question and if you click here, you'll find an article that may answer the question. Yes, gutter protectors or gutter covers can get expensive and the interesting thing is that the one's often installed by professionals can be about the same pricing. So if you're going to invest, doesn't it make sense that the product you choose is going to full fill your expectations? Why take a risk?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gutter Covers and Leaf guards

Noticed a couple article you might be interested in reading:

Gutter Covers and Leaf Guards That Do Not Collect all the Rain Water and

The Truth Revealed About All Gutter Guards and Gutter Covers

The last one even has a comment from a person who is either a happy homeowner who has a competitive product or is a representative of a competing product.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tree Debris Can Be A Real Mess For Gutter Covers

Here's a gem.

The guy who did the video taping did this after just one year of service and I have no reason to doubt that period of time. What the video demonstrates is that tree debris can be a real mess.

I love all the videos you see of brand new gutter guards or leaf guards on a clean roof and new gutter with water being circulated over the gutter protector. The videos make so much sense until you realize the nature of leaf debris. Leaf debris is not like coffee grounds as the filter gutter guards would have you believe. It deteriorates and becomes a crust that adhere to anything whether it be made of aluminum, plastic, or stainless steel. And this crust is impenetrable by water. The video below shows how the crust accumulates on the fin type of gutter guard.

In fact a crust will accumulate on all types of gutter guards--even the Waterloov gutter system. The difference is in how they are cleaned or serviced. With the single fin example the fellow is cleaning it with a stick. But he might have--I say might have because a brush has to go deep into the fin and that might not be possible--been able to clean it from the ground with a pole and brush if he had the Waterloov System. The best time to do this is just after it has rained and the crust is moist. Look at the video and see for yourself.



The big difference is that by brushing the single fin type, all that gunk would go into the gutter causing it to clog whereas with the Waterloov system, the gunk is knocked away from the gutter guard by the stiff bristles of the brush being released by the louvers as the brush is moved across the louvers--nothing gets inside.

In the video below the gutters are located directly under a canopy of a dogwood tree and generally get brushed only once every two years or so.



Again, our competition is our best advertisement for when Debris meets its Waterloov, the war of clogged downspouts is over!

Flip and Clean Your Gutter instead of Gutter Covers?

I love youtube--I find the most interesting videos like the one for the flip/clean gutter. They have this very attractive gal demonstrating how to flip a single story gutter and a 2nd story gutter. It all looks very fine. And it's nice the way the debris in the gutter just drops out of the gutter. But before getting excited about the product it's important to ask a few questions.



What happens if you forget to flip the gutter for a couple weeks and the downspout clogs up and you end up with a full gutter of putrid water by the time you remember to flip it? It might be a great idea to wear a rain coat to protect yourself from a potentially gunky mess?

And what about a hip roof where the gutters go all around the house? They can no longer be continuous and you'll need more downspouts.

And what happens when the flip gutters warp? Will they lock in position or will you be stuck with a gutter hanging down?

And how will they work 9, 13, 15 or 20 years after they're installed? They don't show you that, why? I know the product has been around for at least 10 years. Look at a product that can show positive results after nine and fifteen years in heavy debris conditions.



Remember, every gutter on your house will need to be flipped on a regular basis.
Remember, you only need to have standing water in a gutter for four days before it could be a source for West Nile Virus outside of your bedroom.

With the Waterloov Gutter Protection System less than 15% of homeowners need to brush the gutter guards and if you forget to brush them--no big deal--you'll never end up with a putrid mosquito breeding mess in your gutters. Most of those homeowners who do need to brush their systems, it's not the entire house--just the problem areas.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Do Gutter Screens Clog?

In my last post we looked at a guard (a fin with trough system) that failed and let a lot of debris into the gutter. In this post I'm sharing another screen video I found on youtube of how screens work.



Notice that the debris lays on top of the gutter guard. Now there's nothing wrong with that. You'd expect debris to accumulate in heavy debris conditions on the water collectors of any gutter cover. But the problem is how to clear that debris. It means someone has to go up a ladder and clean the debris from the gutter guards openings. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of having gutter protection? You want to stay off ladders, right?

Unfortunately the person who shot the video didn't take off the covers to see how much debris got inside to clog the gutters. But then I'm suspecting that this video was not shot during a rain storm but instead someone running a hose of water down the roof onto the gutter covers. But it does show what happens to debris that washes from the roof onto the screen type of gutter guard.

Again even though you'll find that debris in heavy debris conditions will accumulate on the water collectors (the louvers) of Waterloov, no one needs to climb a ladder to clean them, they can be easily cleaned from the ground with "suit & tie" maintenance (a telescopic pole and brush).

In the next post we'll look at how gutters after 13 years of service look inside in an ultra heavy debris environment (right under a tree that canopies the gutter) and how easy it is to clean them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Waterloov Gutter Guard vs Micron Filter Screens

In the last post we looked at video of an expensive fin with trough gutter cover that failed miserably.

In this post we'll look inside gutters that have been covered with Waterloov on my house after I had a new roof installed thirteen years ago. They are under a dogwood tree that canopies the gutter dumping a lot of blossoms in the spring and loads of leaves in the fall. This section of gutter is located above a flat roof so it's a perfect location to access, test and video.

I usually have to go onto the roof twice a year blow off all the debris that accumulates on the roof. Strangely though I only need to brush the louvers on the Waterloov gutter guards about once every two or three years. I brushed them in this video up close to show how the brush works. Then I removed approximately five feet of Waterloov at the downspout to inspect the condition of the gutter inside--no debris accumulation found.



I then installed a micron mesh gutter guard that swears on their website that the product never never never fails. We'll see.

We'll revisit this section of gutter periodically over the next several years to see how the micron mesh guard is doing.

In the next post we'll look at what happens to screens.

Have Fun Cleaning Gutters Covered With Gutter Guards

My last post was about whether you should be cleaning gutters or installing gutter covers. And of course the answer to this is to install gutter covers, right? Well only if you choose the right leaf protection.

I was surfing youtube for gutter covers and ran across this interesting video. It's shows a popular product--one of our competitors (fin with trough design)--that claims clog free gutters. For years I've been saying that they are ineffective but then I'd be biased, right?

Well here's video shot by someone else--looks pretty convincing to me.



You'll never find a shot like this with Waterloov with undamaged gutter covers.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Have Fun Cleaning Gutters?

Have you cleaned your gutters of spring time debris? If not, it's time to do so--especially in the northeast where we've been having lots of rain. In fact next week, we're due to have thunderstorms every day.

I know you hate this reminder. Cleaning gutters is a repetitious waste of time. No one appreciates you for doing it--its simply expected of you. Ladder out and up you go. If you can just drop the stuff on the ground that's great, but sometimes you can't and you have to use a bucket to collect the leaves and debris--and its relentless--the debris never stops coming down.

But there is hope. You can get rid of the repetitious and often dangerous job of cleaning gutters for ever. Wouldn't that be great? But you're probably wondering what product will actually do the job for they all guarantee to give you peace of mind. I know, I constantly see their ads and read their promises.

Twenty years ago I thought that screens made sense. I took two weeks to install the screens on my home and after I was done, felt like a free man--no more cleaning gutters in the middle of a thunderstorm--stupid thing to do--but I did it many times and with an aluminum ladder.

The first year passed without incident and I was glad to leave the ladder retired. However by the following spring I noticed corn and weeds growing from my gutters. Now I was one unhappy puppy. It took me a week to remove the screens and clean two inches of mulch from the bottom of my gutters. I was depressed thinking I'd be a slave to gutter cleaning forever.

Then there was an idea. A cover to cover the gutters completely with openings in the front vertical surface. First we experimented with one long opening and found that enough debris got through the gutter to clog it. We began cutting fingers into the one long louver and found that it screened out the large debris but the water from the fingers made a mess on the ground. Then we added a second row collectors with fingers and ultimately ended up with two rows of louvers to collect the water and reject the debris.

The question was how long to make the louvers. After much experimentation we settled on 3/4" and made our first tooling--that was twenty years ago.

Today we have all of those homes still with this amazing gutter cover that we named Waterloov--how we named it will be the subject of another post.

Since that time--especially in the first ten years I was fearful that someone would invent something that worked just as well as Waterloov. However, after twenty years I can only laugh at the silliness of the other systems. I often wonder why they don't get totally disgusted with their inadequate systems that I've seen gutters covered by them clog time and time again or that the gutters covers themselves clog requiring service from a ladder--going up ladders defeats the purpose of gutter cover

Ultimately we see time and time again that our competition is our best advertisement. If you want a product that has a twenty year impeccable track record, Want the best gutter covers ever try Waterloov. No gutter ever clogs with Waterloov and no other product is as easy to maintain as Waterloov

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Want a Laugh?

Ok, I've seen some funny inventions to keep gutters clean, but if you click here you'll get a laugh. Try out a few images with the following questions and let me know how many laughs you get.

I mean, who wants to drag a vacuum cleaner around the house? With the chord always getting caught on something? And how about dealing with your shrubbery and trees in the way of getting to your gutters? And how about second floor gutters? And how about cleaning clogged downspouts? Is it going to suck the elbows clean? And what about twigs? And how about tripping over your vacuum cleaner as you drag it around your house? And dealing with the extension chord popping loose from the vacuum cleaner plug? And will it suck putrid muck from the gutter? And how about the stiff neck you get from using the vacuum? Looks like good business for chiropractors with all the wrenched necks people get using it. And how about the other contraption they show in the video that looks like a post hole digger in your gutter where you grab the leaves? Maybe it would work for picking cats from trees.

I'd be embarrassed to say that I used either of those devices. Isn't the goal to minimize maintenance? The easiest to maintain system in the world is still the Waterloov Gutter Protection System. In twenty years I have yet to find anything that can come close to it. Nothing else keeps gutters free flowing in all types of heavy debris conditions. No other product is as easy to maintain. And it's comparably priced with filter systems, fin type hoods, and fin/troughs. And it's not new so we're not guessing how it will work. After twenty years we know that gutters covered by it don't clog and that it's easy to maintain.

After twenty years, our competition is still our best advertisement.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Truth about Gutter Covers

There is a very good article about gutter covers and gutter guards at
http://petskidsnlife.com/house-and-home/what-is-the-truth-about-gutter-guards-and-gutter-covers/

I takes over one hundred different products and breaks them down into six classifications and analyzes the design issues/deficiencies/benefits of each type. Guess who wrote it. We'll be doing a youtube video on it as well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Do You Believe the Gutter Filters Really Work?

I ran across an interesting blog post that to the inexperienced would be a vote for using filters designed with micro mesh openings in the top flat surface.

The post is about testing different filter screens to see which handles the most water. He placed them on top of a gutter that was under the discharge of a leader from an upper gutter to demonstrate the ability of micron filters to collect a lot of water and also handle roofing grit. Of the three or so micron mesh filters he tested, they all did a comparable job of handling large volume flows and roof grit.

He acknowledges that no gutter guard would normally be exposed to the volume of water coming from an upper gutter. But from my experience all of them are because upper gutters always drop water onto roofs leading down to lower gutters.

There are several questions and observations I'd like to make. First, twenty years of experience with our Waterloov System never suggests that roofing grit is a problem or has been a problem.

Secondly, why use tests? I mean if a gutter filter really works, why not go to an installation that has been in a heavy debris area for ten years and show us the results--what they look like on top and what they look like inside? That's something we do all the time and we're not limited to ten years, but instead twenty years.

Thirdly, my experience and one of their competitor's videos indicates that the real problem is debris that accumulates on top of the filter.

From the video you'll see that debris does accumulate on top of any filter system and after a couple years you must wonder how this debris that can block off the filter's openings is cleaned or removed? Someone would have to go up a ladder to clean them. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of having an expensive gutter guard (these system cost $17-$20 or more per foot)

Wouldn't it make sense to use a gutter guard that can be cleaned easily from the ground with a telescopic pole and brush? The Waterloov Gutter Cover System has an impeccable twenty year track record, can easily be cleaned from the ground if required, never clogs in the gutter and keeps homeowners off ladders.

To me it's apparent that gutter filters are nothing more than sophisticated gutter screens. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

My Gutter Covers are Overshooting!

This homeowner noted that he was having overshooting on one part of his Waterloov Gutter Cover system. This is a rare, I mean a rare issue.

Upon arriving at his home we found that he had an upper gutter discharging onto a lower roof with the water draining down the roof about ten feet to a lower gutter covered with the Waterloov Gutter Protectors. Normally with that distance (10 feet) the water spreads out sufficiently but in this case for some reason the water was channeling as it flowed down the roof.

The solution was easy--we installed a direct pipe (a leader from the discharge elbow of the upper gutter direct to an elbow inserted through the top of the Waterloov Gutter Covers below. This will be an improvement that:
1. will keep water that's been clarified in the upper gutter from washing roof debris onto the gutter covers below.
2. will keep the roofing from being worn from the continuous flow of water in one area.

We left a happy customer with our reputation intact.

In the next posting we'll look at fine micron mesh gutter covers.

My Gutter Covers Drip!

I had a customer who called to tell me that his front gutter drips so much that there's a drip line in the soil. He said that the Waterloov gutter covers around the rest of his house worked very well and that he thought it was a problem with how the Waterloov system was installed.

I asked him if there's any visible debris on the louvers and he informed me that he brushed the system and that it still drips. I was totally at loss as to why this would be happening and informed him that if there was a problem with installation (very very unlikely) that we'd fix it, but if after we did a water test and found nothing he'd be charged for the service call.

Upon arriving at his home it was evident as to what the problem was just by looking at the gutter. It was a first floor gutter and the louvers were completely covered with debris. He showed me the brush he used (a worn our house broom) which was totally inadequate. I showed him our inexpensive stiff bristle brush. My service man brushed his Waterloov Gutter Covers and we did a water test. Hardly a drop missed the Waterloov's louvers and after some basic education, we gave the homeowner his invoice as our reputation remained in tact and went on to the next service call who also had an overshooting problem.

Now you might think we do a lot of service calls, but we don't. Out of approximately two thousand installations locally, we only are called for service about twenty times per year--that's pretty good and only about ten percent of our homeowners actually need to brush their systems--for others it's completely maintenance free. This is why we say, "virtually maintenance free." It's like modern windows have become virtually maintenance free. It doesn't mean that the windows never need cleaning, it means that the homeowner no longer needs to climb a ladder to clean windows but instead simply flips them from inside to clean them.

No other gutter cover, foam insert or screen can be maintained this easily from the ground by the homeowner as Waterloov can.

More in the next post.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"There's a tree in my gutter!"

I went along on a service call today. The customer called to tell us that his newly installed Waterloov Gutter Covers of just two or three years were clogged and had a tree growing out of them.

Well, the tree part intrigued me and I wanted to see it for myself. My first thought was, "Sure, the gutters will clog when hell freezes over." But the way things have been going with the economy and all, well maybe, just maybe we have a first.

Sure enough when we arrived at the customer's home two miniature trees were visible, but they were not growing from the gutters. They were growing from the valley leading to the gutters. His gutters were clear and open.

Five minutes later we had used our telescopic pole and brush assembly to drag the debris from the valleys and gave his Waterloov gutter covers a brushing to remove debris from the louvers.

He tipped my service man and we left with our reputation intact. The Waterloov Gutter Protection System never lets a gutter clog inside.

Tomorrow another service call from a customer complaining of overshooting on one gutter to the degree that it's caused a drip line. He claims to have been brushing his gutter covers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm Getting Water In My Basement!

A homeowner called last week to claim that his Waterloov covered gutters were clogged because he was getting water in his basement. My first thought was, "unlikely," and scheduled a service call. When I called to confirm the address and time the homeowner indicated that he didn't think now that the Waterloov Gutter Covers were clogged but would still appreciate it if we stopped by and would gladly pay for the service call.

Upon arriving at his home he told me that the gutter he thought was clogged was clear because he observed a lot of water coming from the downspout in the most recent rainfall.

He went on to say that he was thinking about having his roof redone within two years and asked if we should remove the covers before doing so. I informed him that based on condition of his roof, he had at least five years before he'd need a new roof and that his local Waterloov dealer was also a roofer. He was glad to hear that he'd have "one stop shopping," as he put it and that he had an additional few years.

He was still confused as to why he was getting water in his basement from the gutter he thought was clogged.

Upon investigating I found that the end of the leader went into an open four inch pipe which was about 8 feet long. What was happening was that water was flowing into the large pipe with some of it was flowing back to the foundation since the connection between the discharge leader and pipe was open.

The problem was fixed by shortening the leader to raise the discharge elbow and replacing the large open pipe with an eight foot leader stretching through the shrubs and then encasing the leader with the 4" pipe to protect it from any accidental crushing.

As we left, the homeowner gave us names of two neighbors who needed our gutter protection services.

Tomorrow we have another service call from a customer who claims that his newly installed gutter covers of two years ago are clogged. Although it's almost impossible that the Waterloov Gutter Covers are clogged, we'll investigate anyway and report

Monday, July 13, 2009

Overshooting Gutter Covers & Leaf Guards

Overshooting is a subject that you will not see discussed by other gutter guard manufacturers. In fact what you usually see is a "exception" in the contract (the fine print) that they require you to initial before purchase which says that the gutter protector may overshoot for a period of time. And the truth is that that "period of time" could be forever.

Thus far I've discussed what type of designs contribute to overshooting on regular straight gutters and valleys.

There's one other situation that contributes to overshooting and that is when there is a downspout discharging onto a roof from an upper gutter. The water out of a downspout will overshoot any gutter cover (even when they are up to eight or ten feet away). One would think that the water from that distance would disperse and spread out across the roof, but it often doesn't.

The most effective way of making sure the water doesn't overshoot is to install a leader from the discharge of the upper gutter elbow direct into the top of the leaf guard. It just makes common sense, but often times I see that installers of other products have no common sense.

Yet there are some homeowners who object to having a leader extend downward across their roof--an aesthetic issue. For these homeowners, Waterloov has a patented device to spread the water out as it discharges the elbow.

In our next post, we'll look at the type of service calls a gutter cover company can get.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gutter Guards and Gutter Covers "Collecting Valley Water"

This is the fifth post regarding overshooting. In the last post I discussed a patented device used by the Waterloov Gutter Guard System for collecting water in short valleys.

For longer valleys the Valley FallTM Panel is installed catty-cornered in the valley. It's stacked on top of the regular panels that are installed in the valley. Water flows down the valley and onto the valley fall panel where it is spread out across the front collectors of the Waterloov® panel. The water drops down into the gutter and any residual water is collected by the gutter protectors installed on the gutter.

The openings of the Valley FallTM panel are likewise in the vertical surface and can then easily be cleaned from the ground by the homeowner with a telescopic pole and brush assembly.

In the next post we'll discuss overshooting from gutter leaders discharging on an upper roof.