Roof rain gutters or simply put, gutters, are your best defense against the damaging forces of rainwater. They prevent it from entering different parts of your home’s structure by directing the water away from the exterior walls, their foundations, and your landscaped areas.
They also protect against the staining and decay of your exterior doors, ceiling damage, and even basement flooding.
Cleaning your gutters means thoroughly removing any debris that may be on them, such as leaves, rocks and birds nests, to name a few. This could be done through manual processes (ie. removing leaves by hand, with a gutter trowel, with your garden hose, etc), or it can be done with the help of machines (like a pressure washer).
Why Is Gutter Cleaning Important?
If not cleaned regularly, completely clogged gutters can create serious consequences to the structure and value of your home.
According to home building experts Add Ventures, failing to clean your gutters could damage your home in the following ways:
The foundation: If a gutter is clogged, the water in it will overflow and accumulate around the foundation. It can eventually cause cracks to form in the foundation, which could cause it to collapse. Even if the foundation doesn’t collapse, it can still cause mold.
The fascia boards: Fascia boards (the long, straight boards that run along the lower edge of the roof) are typically made of wood. Overflowing gutters will cause these boards to rot and deteriorate. Rainwater may also flow down the sides of a home, so if you have wood siding, it could be damaged too.
The landscape: Clogged gutters often cause water to land on flower beds, bushes or small trees surrounding a home. This excess water can wash away mulch, topsoil and sand, and even kill flowers, shrubs and trees. Besides damaging your beautifully landscaped garden, over time it can cause erosion and affect the drainage capacity of your yard.
The basement: As mentioned before, water flowing over the edges of your gutters can accumulate near the foundation. With time, the water can seep into your walls and cause the flooding of your basement.
The gutters themselves: The debris in your gutters can be heavy, especially when it contains shingle grit and pine needles. This can cause your gutters to bend and sag. They may even begin to pull away from your house. Besides the damage to your gutters, this will accelerate the complications in your siding, foundation and other parts of your home.
Attracting animals and pests: Many animals, including birds, possums, mice, squirrels and snakes, use the debris in clogged gutters to make nests. After a while, they might start getting interested in entering your home and could cause even more problems.
As you can see, neglecting gutter maintenance can lead to very serious issues, potentially requiring extremely costly repairs (in the thousands of dollars) to your home and to your landscape. Additionally, frequent and thorough gutter cleaning will make your gutters last longer, which means you won’t need to replace them as often.
So you end upsaving moneywhen you take the extra time to take care of them and maintain them properly.
How to Tell If You Need Your Gutters Cleaned
Ideally, you should clean your gutters rigorously at a minimum of twice a year: once in the Fall and once in the Spring.
Depending on your climate and the landscape around your house, you will need to do it even more often (for example, if you have pine trees near your home, your gutters will probably require cleaning every three months).
Some signs & symptoms of clogged gutters:
Animals and pests are present: If critters or bugs are crawling around on your gutters, there is a high chance that you have clogged gutters.
Water is overflowing: If water is spilling over the sides, it is highly likely that your gutters are clogged.
Your gutters are sagging: As mentioned before, the debris in your gutters can get heavy, causing the gutters to bend, sag, and eventually pull away from the side. If any of that is happening to your gutters, it is very likely that they are clogged.
Your siding has stain marks: If you notice that your siding has been stained, this may mean that there is standing water in your gutters.
Plants are growing: If you notice a garden growing in your gutter, this is a tell-tale sign of clogged gutters. Seeds and dirt can both easily make their way into gutters.
You haven’t cleaned them out in a long time: If it’s been ages since you last removed debris from your gutters, chances are they’re in need of a thorough cleaning.
Where to Get Help If You Are Unable to Clean Them Yourself
Honestly, cleaning your gutters on your own is a tricky process, especially if you’ve never done it before and don’t have the right tools (like a gutter scoop, gutter cleaning rake, special gutter cleaning attachments for your garden hose, etc). Small mistakes can lead to accidents and cause you serious injury from rocks flying in your eyes to sharp objects cutting your fingers, and in a worst-case scenario, you falling from the ladder. Needless to say, if you’re going to do it yourself do your research and be EXTREMELY careful.
Alternatively, we recommend that you get help from professionals, who have been doing it for years, already possess all the required instruments, have the skills to operate all the appropriate equipment, and know how to protect themselves from all the hazards that come with this delicate task.
How To Get In Touch If You Live In Our Area
Now that you understand what it means to have clean gutters and why it is a highly recommended task to undertake, we encourage you to seek professional help to do so. If you live in our area, United Family Lawn Care Services will gladly handle the job for you. If you live somewhere else, I hope that you can find a good quality lawn care service or other organization that suits your needs.