When you have uncontrolled storm water runoff from your roof, it’s not just a serious threat to your home’s structure, it also contributes to one of the greatest threats to water quality in most of the industrialized world. Because storm water runoff doesn’t soak into the ground where it falls, it ends up going directly into sewers and waterways, carrying with it sediments and chemicals that clog streams, reduce oxygen in the water, poison aquatic ecosystems and render water supplies undrinkable. Runoff also contributes to flooding, and because it doesn’t replenish groundwater supplies, it exacerbates water shortages.
Over time, uncontrolled roof runoff can cause structural damage to outside walls and the foundation of a home or a building. When water accumulates around the perimeter of the house, it eventually seeps in through foundation walls and/or cracks, making your basement, garage, crawl space and other lower levels wet or damp.
Gutters Are the Key -Your Home’s First Defense Against Roof Runoff
Troughs that collect and channel rain running off a roof, gutters play the most important role in protecting your home from roof runoff. With proper slopes, gutter systems carry stormwater to downspouts that deposit the water into the ground and well away from your siding, windows, doors and foundation.
The most commonly used gutter – open gutters – should be regularly cleaned of leaves and debris in order to function properly. Open rain gutters can get clogged with leaves, acorns, pine needles, and other debris. In dry conditions clogged gutters are a fire hazard; and during heavy rains, clogged gutters and downspouts can cause rainwater to overflow, potentially causing substantial damage to your building, landscaping and basement. Adding gutter guards can keep debris out, eliminate clogs and lengthen the life of your gutter system.
Tips for Preventing Roof Runoff
Uncontrolled water run-off from your roof can be alleviated with some easy measures. It’s better to stop the water before it seeps in and causes damage, rather than than trying to find ways to handle water after it has seeped through the foundation.
- Add gutters and downspouts if your home is lacking them and if roof runoff doesn’t drain freely away from the foundation.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts; repair or replace leaking/damaged sections.
- Prevent the accumulation of clog-causing debris in gutter systems with gutter guards.
- Make sure gutter downspouts terminate onto splash blocks or run into a leader that extends away from the foundation.
- Be certain that window wells are clean, drain quickly, and (if needed) have plastic covers to repel water. A recessed basement entryway should have a working drain and, if necessary, a cover.
- Instead of allowing water to go directly into the sewer or to run into the street, direct your downspouts toward a vegetated area, such as your garden or lawn.
- Consider installing rain barrels or cisterns to collect the water so you can save some rain for a sunny day.
We face a growing concern about our dwindling water resources and it is everyone’s responsibility to conserve and reuse water as much as possible. This helps preserve the clean water we need for drinking and cooking. Preventing roof runoff doesn’t just protect your home and landscaping. It is an easy way to help preserve water, reduce the risks of flood and drought, protect vital ecosystems and maintain healthy waterways.