There is no doubt that Vancouver and Metro Vancouver or Lower Mainland has a lot of precipitation. The main rain water leader, right after your roof, is your gutter system, also known as eavestroughs.
Probably everyone has seen overflowing gutters but it can often be hard to identify whether the eavestrough is actually overflowing or leaking. Sometimes it is obvious, but most often it isn’t without knowing what to look for.
A quick clarification: an overflow is a maintenance problem, one or more drains are clogged and the gutters need cleaning.
A leak is a repair issue where the sealant (also referred to as caulking) has broken or failed thus allowing water to pass through.
It would be prudent to be aware of at least some of the signs of overflow versus a leak. One of those is when the water is flowing OVER the gutter as opposed to dripping from the bottom of it: the gutter is filled with water which can’t drain down through the downpipe thus finds the lowest point of the gutter system (often a corner) and spills over. This can be sometimes deceiving though.
Hence a sure sign for an overflow is that it stops happening within minutes that the rain stops. When the water is dripping from a gutter 15-30 minutes after the rain stopped then it is a leak, and as such, a repair issue. This will always happen at a joint of the gutter system let that be a corner or other seam.
A corner looking black or much darker then others, or having algae or moss growing on its outside can often be a sign of a leak. This is visible on dry days too.
Moist spot right underneath a corner or seam shortly after a shower or rain is a sure sign of a leak. If it’s been leaking for a prolonged period of time the water will have worn the cement walkway out or created a crater in the soil.
I often get alarming calls about repairs which, after more careful questioning or latest during the gutter maintenance, turns out to be a “simple” overflow: one or more clogged drain was causing it. By paying just a little more attention to these details anyone can take some of the guess work out of the equation and save a little stress for themselves.
Not to say that maintenance is less important then repair because every drop of water off your eavestroughs says something about you.