A home’s gutters aren’t generally its most distinctive feature. They are typically designed to fit in with the exterior decor, not to stand out. However, a home’s gutters are one of its most vital protection systems, so homeowners shouldn’t just forget all about them unless there’s a clog or a leak. Gutter cleaning should be a priority.
How to Clean Gutters Safely
One of the top reasons homeowners put off gutter cleaning is that they’re understandably nervous about scaling tall ladders to scoop out leaves and other debris. Thankfully, there are safer ways to clean gutters. Instead of doing it by hand, try using a garden hose with a telescoping pole attachment for extra reach if the gutters are not thoroughly clogged. If there are a lot of large leaves, investing in a wet/dry vac and a gutter cleaning attachment may be a better bet.
For homes taller a single story high, it may not even be possible to access the area safely. In that case, it’s best to hire professional gutter cleaners that have the safety equipment required to minimize risk and insurance coverage to pay for medical care should anything go wrong. The investment in professional cleaning services is always worth it if it means keeping homeowners safe and preventing unnecessary property damage.
No one should be climbing onto the roofs of homes to clean their gutters, nor should people be using unsafe equipment like stepladders to get the job done. Those who don’t want to hire gutter cleaners may want to visit armourconstruction.net to learn about gutter repairs and preventative maintenance measures like installing gutter guards.
The Importance of Regular Gutter Cleaning
Whether they have to climb up ladders or can use ground-level cleaning techniques like those described above, homeowners should always prioritize keeping their home’s gutters clean. If there are no trees nearby, that might mean just washing them out with a garden hose to remove any small debris before winter hits. For properties that feature beautiful shade trees hanging over the roof, removing leaves, twigs, and other debris from the gutters may have to be a more frequent occurrence.
The primary point isn’t exactly how often a home’s gutters need to be cleaned, it’s why they do. Here’s why homeowners need to come up with a maintenance schedule that’s right for their homes and stick with it.
1. Prevent Water Damage to the Home
When gutters get clogged, they can no longer drain water away from the house effectively. Instead, the water backs up onto the roof or flows down the home’s exterior, both of which can cause serious damage. In some cases, the water can even flow down the outside of the home and into the soil surrounding the foundation, where it could cause foundation shifting, cracks, and subsequent structural damage.
2. Put a Stop to Ice Dams
Water gathering in clogged gutters isn’t just a problem when spring rains hit. It can be even more problematic in the winter, especially in cold climates where frequent snow storms coupled with below-freezing temperatures can create a large risk of ice dam formation.
Ice dams occur when the snow on a home’s roof begins to melt, then refreezes when it reaches the edge instead of flowing into the gutters so that it can be routed away from the area. Once the ice begins to build up at the edge of a roof, it further increases the chances of additional snow melt getting stuck and creating an ever-growing problem.
Extensive ice dams can pull up shingles and force water in beneath them, where it will melt and cause damage inside the home. Gutter cleaning helps to prevent the formation of ice dams by ensuring that the melting snow has someplace to go.
3. Keep Pests Away
Clogged gutters aren’t only a problem when they start to fill with water. Even when the sun is shining and everything is dry, they can cause serious issues by providing a perfect breeding ground for pests. Mosquitoes will find even the smallest pools of water, and nuisance animals such as rodents and snakes love taking up residence in the debris found in clogged gutters. From there, they’ll all have easy access to the home and yard.
4. Protect the Landscape
When gutters clog and water can’t make it to the downspouts, it spills over the sides. Whether it drips down the siding or falls over the outer edge of the gutter, any gardens or decorative shrubs underneath will suffer. Keeping gutters clean and clear, on the other hand, allows homeowners to route the water to someplace far from the house where it can be used to create a rain garden or another interesting, intentional landscaping feature.
Gutter Maintenance Prevents Premature System Failures
So far, this article has focused on the other parts of a home and its surrounding landscape that can sustain damage as a result of clogged gutters. Unfortunately, the more direct effects of gutter neglect are just as damaging. Clogged gutters that collect too much water when it rains or the snow starts to melt get very heavy, and even the best systems aren’t designed to deal with all of that weight.
The combined weight of standing water and accumulated debris can cause gutters to pull away from the home. This, in turn, will damage the fascia and leave the home’s foundation completely unprotected. When that happens, scheduling professional repairs immediately is the best course of action.
Take Action Now to Prevent Future Damage
Homeowners should think of gutter maintenance as an investment in their homes. Whether they choose to perform the maintenance themselves or hire professionals, the time or money spent will be well worth it to prevent the potential for future damage not just to gutters but also to roofing, siding, foundations, and landscaping. Installing gutter guards or committing to an adequate cleaning schedule costs very little in comparison to dealing with the catastrophic damage that could occur as a result of inadequate maintenance.