It most certainly isn’t the most fun thing to do over the weekend, but it’s an important one nonetheless. While it’s undoubtedly easier to procrastinate than clean out your gutters, several problems can potentially arise from a build-up of dirt and debris. If you don’t feel like going out and doing it yourself, then it could be a good idea to call in a professional service like ABC Seamless Rain Gutters to do the job for you.
People often overlook the issues that can arise from clogged gutters, but there is a fair number of them. If water is not able to properly flow away from your house, the ensuing damage can be found in several different locations, from your roofing to your foundation. There is a number of reasons to make sure that your gutters get cleaned out. Some of these reasons include:
Damage to Foundations
If gutters are not cleared and water overflows from the trenches, it can potentially fall along the foundation of the property, resulting in the softening of the surrounding soil, which can lead to cracks in the foundation. Also, if the foundation is wet and then freezes due to cold weather, this will cause further heaving and cracks. In extreme cases, the water damage can even cause structural failure in a property.
If gutters are clogged, water will overflow onto the building and also will be trapped in the drain after rain. This moisture will cause rot in wood fascia and soffit boards (the wood near where gutters are attached). This wood rot can spread to adjacent areas, such as the attic, and also provides an easy point of entry for rodents. Not only that, you will find that your gutters will start to sag as a result of the fasteners coming loose from the weight of the soggy debris.
If gutters do not drain properly, this will contribute to ice building up in them during the winter. This will keep melted snow from draining off the roof properly and will hold that water and wet snow against the house. Often, that water will migrate into the house and result in ceiling leaks, wall leaks and moisture in the attic.
The debris in gutters, especially when moist, is a very attractive habitat to insects. These insects will be attracted to the inside of the house when the weather changes, and so can lead to insect infestation within the home. Also, wood-eating insects such as termites and carpenter ants are attracted to rotting leaves and branches that collect in gutters, and so not cleaning gutters can lead to an infestation of those damaging pests.
Just as clogged gutters can damage a building’s foundation by allowing water to collect close to the base of the structure, this water can also infiltrate basement walls. When water collects in large quantities against a basement wall, it is almost inevitable that it will find its way into the basement. If water does leak into the basement, this can cause black mold, smells, water damage and flooding.
The water that falls from obstructed gutters can kill plants and grass living below. When those plants die, their roots no longer contribute to holding the soil in place. The water will then wash away exposed topsoil and sand. If left alone long enough, this erosion can etch away the landscape under the clogged gutter and leave a ditch.
How often should I clean my gutters?
Like many other questions, the answer is, “it depends!” Many experts recommend cleaning your gutters at least twice a year– once in the late spring and once in the late summer/early fall. But there are a few factors that might make you reconsider.
If you have pine trees growing above your house, consider inspecting your gutters every 3 months. The reason for this is because pine trees shed needles year-round (and they have a lot of needles to drop).
If you’re at a higher elevation, ice is your biggest worry. Making sure your gutters are clean throughout the winter is a bit of a headache, but damage to your roof caused by ice is a real pain. Better to catch it before it starts.
What are the warning signs to watch out for?
A visual inspection of your gutters during the fall (before it starts raining) is a great place to start. If you’re not sure what to look for or aren’t comfortable up on a ladder, a professional inspection can help.
Once the weather turns, here are a few warning signs you can look for inside of your house and in your yard:
- Pools of water on your lawn, near your foundation, or on your driveway. All of these are signals that water isn’t draining correctly. It might also mean your downspouts aren’t connected properly.
- Dripping gutters or gutters which aren’t draining at all. If water isn’t flowing smoothly, it probably means you’ve got a clog or a leak somewhere in your gutters.
- Water where it shouldn’t be. Are there drips inside your house? Pools of water in your basement? These are significant warning signs: Your foundation or your roof could be at risk.
- Signs of animal life. Are you seeing bugs in your house? Are you hearing mice in your attic or walls? These critters could be nesting in clogged gutters.
At the end of the day, there are several reasons why you should schedule regular gutter maintenance to ensure that your gutters won’t let you down when you need them the most! We hope this article has gone some way to showing you the benefits of not leaving it till the last minute.