Fall is here, and while the leaves may not be falling in droves where you live, this is still a great opportunity to make sure your home’s gutters are clean and functional.
Gutters are little irrigation systems that guide water away from the home. Usually, they line the sides edges of your roof and lead to a downpipe that directs water toward street drains or gutters. As long as the water is away from your house it does the job well. Why does it matter if these things are clean? Dirty gutters can actually cause some problems that suck money from your wallet faster than you can count it.
Why Is It So Important To Have Clean Gutters?
Clogged gutters can lead to a variety of issues. Most of the issues may be acute at first but really can build up to more serious problems in a short amount of time. A dirty, uncleaned gutter may make your home look a bit raggedy. Your home’s beauty doesn’t rely on a clean gutter, but it is one touch that can be picked out when taking a look at it.
Obstructed gutters give vermin a great excuse to come into your home. Bugs like termites and carpenter ants rely on wood for their daily life. This means they’re always around trees looking for food and shelter. Leaves and twigs may fall off of trees in the surrounding areas where these insects may be latched on. When they stay in the gutters, they either will create nests in the debris, or they will travel around and end up in your home. Since wood is a necessity, they can eat up your homes insides.
Rodents also take shelter in gutters. When there is nowhere for them to go through the roof, they might also go into your house. For warmth or food, these pests will make your home theirs.
Standing water is open to the elements. Mosquitos lay their larvae in stagnant water, which can be found throughout a clogged gutter. When they grow, they can create a nasty environment around the property, and even inside the property.
Checking to make sure there are no pests in your home is important. They can cost you a lot of money when needing to replace food items, personal belongings, and even parts of your home’s structure if left alone for too long. Try to find the source and/or the nest and get it taken care of, whether it be you in minor instances or professionals for a bigger issue.
Dams and Loosened Gutters
The functionality of a dam is to keep water from passing. In this case, we are hoping to avoid that. Anything blocking water, like leaves, sticks, and other debris, is not a good thing when it comes to gutters. The weight of all of this plus water can cause some bolts to come loose. If your gutter system is loose, it loses even more functionality. This will create more ways for water to miss going to the right place. Maybe the clogged gutter will make it build up on the roof, and broken/loose gutters will make the water coagulate close to the outside walls of your home.
Something we rarely have to worry about in Florida is the possibility of ice dams. As stated before, when water is sitting still, it is more subject to the environment. When it gets below 32 degrees, it will freeze if staying still. A clogged gutter will make this water freeze and cause some more blockage. Ice forming on the edges of the roof can hinder fallen snow from melting down and it also can weigh down the gutter.
The biggest problem that comes from a messy gutter is water damage. When water builds up on roofs and around foundations, there is a big risk of it entering the home. It is important to have a clear waterway so this doesn’t occur. If water does end up making its way inside, there is a whole other ball game. What is at stake here? At the start, small amounts of water getting into the home may not seem like a big deal, but even trace amounts create a haven for mildew and mold. The growth cycle for mold can be quick – starting within 48 hours of water contact. Once a mold problem starts, it won’t be long before it amplifies. Mold can be a serious health risk that affects people differently, but it is not a good chance to take when your well-being may be threatened.
The structure of your home may very well be vulnerable. Water coming into contact with the walls, foundation, and roofing is never a good thing. Water can cause wood and drywall to expand while making metals rust. When this happens, these materials can be severely weakened. If weakened, the structural integrity of your property can be compromised. Poor structural quality creates an unsafe living environment; just like mold.
If you think water is coming into the home, it is best to do routine checks. Look at walls for streaks or blotches of black, grey, or green. Note the smell of the air. Musky, earthy smells and discoloration on the walls indicate mold growth. Also, watch for puddles, damp areas, wall bloating/warping, and cracks in the structure – all signs of potential water damage.
How and When to Clean Gutters
The first thing anyone wants to know when cleaning their gutter is how to do it in the first place. Some things you will need are a ladder, gloves, safety goggles, dust mask, and a garden trowel (or something else to scoop out debris).
Basically, your best bet is to get hands on. Climb up the ladder with your equipment and make sure you have a spotter or something to ensure the ladder stability. When you’re all geared up, get in there and scoop everything out to the best of your ability. Some jobs call for assistance or even professional help. Make your own judgment call and decide whether you want to do it yourself or have someone do it for you.
How often should you clean your gutters is another important question you might have. There are some factors that come into play. Depending on where you live and what is your property is important when it comes to scheduling your job. Generally, it is recommended to clean them in the spring and again in the fall. So twice a year. But if you face any conditions other than the average neighborhood
Would, then there may be a need for revising your plan and changing the frequency.
Places like woodlands typically experience more fallen objects. So if you live somewhere that is kind of like a forest or you just have a thousand trees canvassing your home, it is best to clean it once every season. Desert areas are the opposite end of the spectrum. If the place your home stands lack foliage, then it may only be necessary to clean once a year. Places that experience freezing temperatures require a more skillful job too. Regardless of how much debris comes throughout the year, it could be dangerous to do the job alone. It’s great to get in touch with someone that has access to the proper equipment.
However, these are just recommendations. Cleaning habits can be different from house to house and it is best to make your own call. Maybe you clean it five or six times a year, possibly once a month just to be sure. Either way, gutter cleaning is necessary no matter what interval.
Prevention and Professional Help
A good way to prevent foreign objects from getting into your gutters, it is good to have some sort of defense mechanism. Something that protects the gutter, like a grate, will be a great thing to have. It is pretty easy to make one of these yourself using chicken wire, screening, or other mesh-like materials. This will block out debris and makes it much easier to remove leaves and twigs from the gutter system. Though they can still pile up, the water still has a route underneath to flow smoothly. If things do happen to get in, one good safety net is to make the gutter cover removable or retractable using hinges and pins.
If your home already has gotten to the point of damages, it is good to know who you will call. Homeowners often go without a plan when emergencies spring up. It’s best to call the right people for the job. If your home is experiencing any water damage or mold infestation. Restoration USA is happy to help. We use IICRC approved methods and technology to remove all water and mold from any property as fast as possible. Any restoration that needs to be done to get your home back to its former glory is our priority.
Restoration USA works at your convenience. We have been providing restoration services for over 25 years and our team is the upper echelon in the business. It’s great to have someone on your side who is flexible enough to meet your schedule demands. Don’t let the problems go on for any longer, they can only get worse as time goes by. We will help keep the structural integrity of your home and preserve the wellbeing of your belongings to the best of our abilities. Call us at any time for 24-hour emergency service – we know problems don’t wait, so why should you? For inquiries, drop a line at (866)-745-6428 or fill out our contact form on our water damage and mold removal page for a free assessment.