Gutter Clean Day 2018
With winter almost upon us and now most of the leaves have fallen, November marks the time for the Wisbech High Street Projects’ Annual Gutter Clean.
This years event was planned for 22nd November, however due to other works being undertaken on the High Street we waited until Weds 28th to carry out the work. Although we didn’t retrieve as much as the first event, we were surprised by the amount of vegetation, especially moss, which had accumulated over the year. We also recovered several plastic bottles and a trainer – all of which were preventing water from draining away from some of the buildings gutters and drains. This event just proves the importance of annual maintenance and gutter cleaning for all properties.
With time left over again we visited our neighbours at the Rose and Crown and were also able to advise them of a blocked drain at street level which could lead to problems if not addressed.
This FREE service is offered to owners and tenants of High Street properties and is entirely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, delivered through the Wisbech High Street Project. All they have to do is give us their consent and we arrange the rest!
The purpose is to clean leaves from gutters, parapets and downpipes as well as removing vegetation and obstructions which cause blockages resulting in damp and damage to brickwork, especially on older properties.
The cleaning of gutters, parapets and downpipes is one crucial aspect of maintenance to ensure that buildings are preserved and will help owners avoid long term and costly problems in the future. We hope that our presence on the High Street will be a reminder to other owners and tenants to carry out checks on their own homes.
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) has more information on their website about how to care for older properties: www.spab.org.uk. It also offers the following top 10 tips when inspecting your property at this time of year:
- Look for blocked downpipes (best done during heavy rain to see water coming from any leaky joints – in dry weather look for stained brickwork)
- Check ground level gullies and drains to make sure they are clear of debris like and have them cleaned out if necessary
- Every autumn, clear any plants, leaves and silt from gutters, hopperheads, flat roofs and drainage channels. It’s a good idea to do this in spring too to deal with anything that might have found its way into the wrong place
- Remove potentially damaging vegetation from behind downpipes by cutting back or removing the plant altogether
- Use a hand mirror to look behind rainwater pipes as splits and cracks in old cast iron and aluminium often occur here and are not easily noticed
- Fit bird/leaf guards to the tops of soil pipes and rainwater outlets to prevent blockages
- Have gutters refixed if they are sloping the wrong way or discharging water onto the wall
- If sections are beyond repair, make sure that replacements are made of the same material as the originals (on older houses, this is sometimes lead, but more usually cast iron)
- Regular painting of cast iron is essential to prevent rust
- Don’t undertake routine maintenance work at high level unless you are accompanied and have suitable equipment. If in doubt always seek help from a professional
As with most of our Activities, we couldn’t do it without the help of volunteers who supported us again this year.