Unclogging the gutter

I mentioned in my last post that we had to address a stopped up and overflowing gutter. It had started backing up the water onto the roof and going under the tiles, causing a leek in the living room. This gave it a sense of urgency, even though I had placed plastic bags and pans to catch the drips.

Now, if you live in a normal house, unblocking a gutter is a trivial thing. But, if you live in the centro storico of an ancient Italian village it becomes more problematic. The gutter is on the top of the house, of course. It is high above, on the edge of an ancient tile roof which is four floors above a tiny street. It is a very long pipe. I have no idea why they needed to make those bends which can easily clog up.

The thing is Italians deal with this stuff everyday. To us, it seems daunting. To them it is all in a days work. First, it was necessary to figure out what sort of company does this. And then learn a whole new and unfamiliar vocabulary. We found four companies who advertise they clean gutters. We reached out and three returned our calls. One said he had a job in Umbertide and he could come right away and look at our job.

Fabio and his sidekick decided they could go up a ladder from our terrace and then cross two roofs to get to the spot. But they first had to don harnesses and secure ropes to protect themselves from falling.

Putting on their harnesses so they wouldn’t fall.
They secured the rope through a window and around a door
Then, they climbed onto the roof.
The gutter is the one that comes in diagonally and connects to the down spout which has several bends which were probably clogged.
Arrival at the problem area.

About an hour later they were finished. Long story short they have unclogged the pipe for the most part. They said it was full of pigeon poop and dead pigeon parts. Disgusting. They said the leak should not happen anymore. The long pipe down to the street is still clogged…with pigeon poop they said. They will return to open the long pipe down at the bottom and unclog it from the bottom up.

Another learning experience. Now we wait for a nice hard rain to see if it actually fixed. we hope so!

8 thoughts on “Unclogging the gutter

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Liz, they used a snake I think. They got past the two curves. It’s the long pipe that still needs unstopping. We have an estimate from them to do several things which we have accepted. I will probably post about it. Yes, I hate pigeons. They are horrible and messy and stupid. Nothing to be done.

  2. liz kessell

    I wonder if they could use those long curving things that plumbers use to clear drain pipes? You have to turn a handle and this metal coil travels down and around drains (or could just as easily go up) Pigeons need birth control put in their food. Far too many and they make such a mess everywhere. Good luck!

  3. Carlo

    My grandfather learned the construction trade growing up in Reggio di Calabria in the early 1900s in his family’s business. It seems they routinely embedded gutters and downspouts in the form of clay pipes inside the walls. In the houses he built later in St. Augustine, Florida, these have been a continuing source of difficulties keeping them clean, unclogged, and sealed. Most have been replaced with external gutters and downspouts. But all the curves and joints you noted do definitely seem to add unnecessary opportunities for clogging. But it sounds like you found a good gutter-cleaning service.

  4. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Matt. Well, I am definitely not fond of pigeons. Never have been. But I hated watching them die slowly. They are nasty messy birds and there are a LOT of them here.

  5. Matthew Daub

    Very interesting post. I can’t see why whoever installed the gutter originally needed that sharp ‘C’ bend at the top either. Seems like a clog waiting to happen. I remember when you tried to rescue the trapped pigeon across the street. Second thoughts now? 😉

Feel the need to comment? You can do it here!