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

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.

Gutter Guards and Leaf Guards "Collecting Valley Water?"

Dome Diverter for Small Valleys This is the fourth post regarding gutter covers collecting all of the water. In the last post I discussed the challenge of collecting water from valley configurations. Most installers of gutter guards do nothing or they are limited to installing diverters to distribute rain water. Usually within two years diverters become clogged with debris resulting in water overshooting valleys. The problem is that it's a challenge to clean from behind diverters without going up a ladder.

The manufacturer of the Waterloov Gutter Protection System has invented and patented two different devices for collecting valley water. For shorter valleys a stealth like dome diverter triangular in shape is used causing the water to be dispersed across the top of the gutter cover enabling it to be collected with the openings in the vertical surface of the gutter cover.

In the next post, I'll discuss the solution to collecting water in longer valleys.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gutter Covers and Leaf Guards - "Not all Gutter Covers Catch all the Water" - Continued

This third post of a series about the ability of gutter covers and gutter guards to collect all the water coming from the roof. The first two posts identified characteristics to look for in solid top and screens that would cause overshooting on any straight gutter.

In this post I'll discuss the most challenging gutter and roof configuration to collect water which is from a roof valley. Typically when two gutters come together at right angles it's from two roof lines intersecting and creating a valley.

The other configuration is a valley formed by a dormer in the shape of an A. In this case the gutter is straight.

With both configurations water from two roof adjacent roofs runs down to the point of intersection which is a valley. The water then flows downward to the gutter and this is where the challenge arises.

Even with uncovered gutters it's sometimes a challenge to catch all the water from a valley. You will often see splash guards installed vertically from the outer gutter lip to keep water that's rushing down the valley from overshooting the gutter.

Because all gutter covers are either solid top or with limited openings, as in screens, the water is all projected to a point in the gutter cover where there are either no or limited openings.

Salesmen of most gutter guards and gutter protectors usually avoid discussing this issue because their solutions are limited to either doing nothing or installing a diverter on the roof to spread the water out across the two adjacent gutter guards.

The problem is that doing nothing is only an option when overshooting at a valley doesn't matter such as if the overshooting water falls onto a bush or a bed of pine needles. But if the water overshoots onto an entrance or walk way then there can be a big problem.

Diverter clogged with debris
Until the late 90's the only other option was to install diverters which work well in low debris areas. The problem with them is that:
1. homeowners object to the metal standing up on the roof.
2. they get clogged with debris in medium-to-high debris areas rendering them useless and cleaning them from the ground can be difficult.

If you have a valley, when you are looking at having gutter guards installed, it's important to ask about how the water is handled in valleys. There is only one manufacturer of gutter guards in the market place that has taken the problem of overshooting in valleys seriously and actually has working proven devices to spread water without trapping debris.

More in the next post.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Gutter Covers and Leaf Guards - "Not All Gutter Covers Catch all the Water"

Years ago when homeowners would see a product like the Waterloov Gutter Cover being demonstrated with water running down a roof and onto the gutter protector they would question whether the product would work in a heavy rainstorm. Years later most homeowners don't think to ask the question because there are so many gutter covers and gutter guards on the market. They assume that gutter covers are like hammers in a sense. That is, sure some hammers are more expensive than others, but they will all do the same thing. But this is not true for gutter protectors. They should ask the question! Why?

It's because the larger the radius of the nose of the gutter guard, the more water that the gutter cover will collect. And this is where many of them differ. The Waterloov gutter protection system uses a large continuous round arc radius of 3/8" which is ideal for collecting all the water on residential applications.

But what about commercial applications with rafter lengths of 30' or more?

Answer: Waterloov is the only company that manufactures a 'High Capacity' panel with an even larger radius bend for commercial applications.

The problem is that some gutter guards in the market place in an attempt to increase efficiency of leaf rejection use a radius bend of 1/8". This small radius bend will allow water in mild-to-heavy rainstorms to overshoot the gutter.

Then there are other gutter covers that instead of a continuous arc use a series of sharp bends. The result is that water can shear off from these bends resulting in overshooting.

Before you sign a contract for gutter protection, ask to see the exclusions. If there are exclusions about water overshooting your gutter in the beginning, do not sign the agreement. Sure after the gutter guard is in service for a period of time, it may improve as the surface weathers making it easier for water to adhere to the surface, but you can well bet, it will be a problem in heavier rain storms and you will forever be feeling that you got a second rate gutter cover.

In the next post, we'll talk about collecting water in valleys--something that's basically impossible for most gutter covers.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Gutter Guards and Gutter Covers "Over Shooting"

Years ago when homeowners would see a gutter protection product like Waterloov being demonstrated with water running down a roof and onto the gutter protector they would question whether the product would work in a heavy rainstorm. With years and years of experience, the question as to whether the rain guard collects all the water has become mute. But it shouldn't. Why?

The larger the radius the more water that the gutter cover will collect
Because all gutter covers with rounded front surfaces are not made the same. The Waterloov gutter protection system uses a large continuous round radius of 3/8" radius.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gutter Covers and Gutter Protection "Rain Barrels"

Rain Barrels like you can see all over the web are becoming more popular as a way of collecting water from gutters. Of course in the northeast part of the country with all the rain we've been having recently this is hardly an issue, however, there are many parts of the country and from time to time the northeast where there is a water shortage and it makes sense to collect all the water you can.

The problem is that if you have trees around your home, the water has too much organic matter and debris. The obvious answer would be to use gutter covers and the one that is most effective at keeping organic debris out of gutters is the Waterloov system. In fact it's been used for over a decade in the Pennsylvania area for collecting water for cisterns where the water can be used for drinking or irrigation.