To avoid major repairs, you’ll need to keep up with regular cleaning and maintenance of your home’s gutter system.
Below are answers to commonly asked questions that will give you some overall good gutter maintenance tips:
When do I know it’s time to clean the gutters?
You know it’s time when there is significant leaf, twig, dirt, or debris buildup in your gutters. It is best to clean or schedule a cleaning at the end of each spring and fall season to make sure you aren’t adding any excessive weight to your gutters – putting too much weight on the gutter fasteners causes them to pull away from your house, which is a much bigger problem. You should clean your gutters more often if you have overhanging trees and after a big storm.
Why do I need to clean my gutters?
Not only can debris put too much strain on your gutters and gutter fasteners, but gutters that aren’t clear will not properly direct the water that falls on your roof away from your home. Clogged gutters can lead to basement leaks, cracked wall foundations, moisture damage to your home’s siding and roof, as well as other problems.
How to clean gutters
If your gutters are simply full of debris, you’ll need to schedule some time to manually clear the gutters. This can be as simple as using gloves, a hose and a ladder, but depending on the layout of your home, it could become quite the time intensive project. And, for your personal safety, make sure you’re properly using a safe and sturdy ladder. If you do not think you’re up for the task of cleaning your own gutters, or you do not have the equipment, hiring a professional is an affordable option.
How can I keep my gutters from getting clogged?
Installing gutter guards keeps leaves and sticks from jamming up downspouts and gutters. Gutter guards may not keep all debris out of your gutter, but they can block most of it. While it requires an initial investment, gutter guards will save time and money in the long run by minimizing upkeep and protecting against gutter damage. Do keep in mind that installing guards is not set and forget. They still require maintenance and cleaning as animal can chew them and weeds grow through them.
What Damage Can I Expect from Unmaintained Gutters?
Foundation – Underperforming gutters put your home’s foundation at an unnecessary risk. One of the primary functions of any gutter system is to displace the water that erodes the soil around the foundation. Every homeowner wants to avoid expensive foundation repairs. We recommend that downspouts be extended away from the home a minimum of four feet, with six feet being preferred.
Basement flooding – More water landing at the base of your home means a higher risk of water entering the basement. Preventing water from entering here can stop problems with mold and mildew, as well as preserve walls that might otherwise be exposed to moisture and fungal growth.
Driveways, sidewalks, and other finished surfaces – A good gutter system is also an investment to protect driveways, sidewalks, and patios. If water is being moved from these paved areas, soil is far less likely to be shifted or eroded by rain/snow running from the roof.
Mosquitoes – Clogged gutters make a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mating mosquitoes love stagnant water, so clogged gutters are perfect safe havens. If you have mosquitoes buzzing near your home, your gutters might be a good place to look. Also be on the lookout for containers of standing water such as rain in pots, kiddie pool, sandbox cover, tire or wheelbarrow. Besides causing itchy bites, mosquitoes carry diseases such as West Nile virus. Young children and older adults will be much safer if you take care of mosquito breeding grounds on your property.