What’s the number one task that strikes fear and dread into the hearts of suburban homeowners every spring and fall? That’s right: cleaning the gutters. Whether you hire a pro or do the job yourself, gutter cleaning is an important home maintenance task.
Why Clean the Gutters?
Leaves, branches and pine needles seem to always find their way into the gutters. When this happens, the debris clogs the downspout and prevents the gutters from draining runoff from the roof and away from your home. Here are the top benefits of keeping your gutters clean:
- Prevent water staining: As water rises to the top of a clogged gutter, it eventually has nowhere to go but over the sides. This results in water running down the side of your home, leaving unsightly water marks behind.
- Protect the siding: Water running down your home can make the siding soggy. The resulting wood rot and mold growth can cause significant damage over time.
- Prevent flooding: Once water from overflowing gutters reaches the ground, it pools around the foundation. This causes two major problems. First, the saturated soil pushes against foundation walls and may ultimately cause them to crack under the pressure. If this happens, water can penetrate the cracks and flood your basement. Second, once the water eventually drains off, it erodes the soil, causing the foundation to settle. This can also cause cracks in the walls and floors, letting in water the next time it rains.
- Prolong the life of your gutters: When weighed down by debris and accumulated water, gutter fasteners experience undue strain. Over time, this can cause gutters to sag and even collapse onto the ground.
- Keep pests at bay: Flooded gutters and piles of debris are a haven for many pests, including mosquitoes, termites and ants. Providing a home for these pests increases the likelihood they’ll stick around and either pester your family or damage your home.
- Prevent ice dams: When melting snow can’t drain down the gutter, it freezes at the edge of the roof. This creates an ice dam, which forces water beneath the shingles and into the attic. There it can damage wood and cause mold to grow on attic insulation.
How Often to Clean the Gutters
Over time, debris from nearby trees and even grass from your lawn gets swept up by the wind and accumulates in the gutters. Plan to clean them out once in the fall after most of the leaves have fallen off the trees and again in the spring. It doesn’t hurt to check your gutters more often than this, especially if you live in a forested area where leaves and pine needles are liable to accumulate in your gutters quickly.
Tips for Cleaning the Gutters
If you decide to break out the ladder and do the job yourself, make sure you tell your family members when you’re about to climb a ladder to clean the gutters. Start by raking leaves and twigs from the roof. Then, donning a pair of work gloves and protective goggles, scoop leaves and debris from the gutter into a bucket. Spray out the gutter to send small debris down the downspout.
Hire a Professional
At best, gutter cleaning is a disgusting, tedious task. At worst, it can be downright dangerous. Still, you can’t ignore the gutters or you could compromise your home’s structural integrity.
Leave the job to the experts at Rainbow International®. We’re happy to clean your gutters so you don’t have to. We also help homeowners recover from flooding and structural damage caused by clogged gutters. To schedule service, contact Rainbow International.