Have you been ignoring your gutters? If you have, then you’re not alone. As homeowners, it’s easy for us to forget about them. Day in and out, gutters dutifully perform their job of diverting water away from our homes. They quietly and effectively do the job of preventing water damage from rain and snowfall. Late spring and the fall are a critical time to give your gutters a bit of your attention and care. Taking the time now for some simple maintenance can mean saving yourself from a possible water emergency in the future.
How often should I clean my gutters?
- Twigs, dirt, leaves, and other debris buildups can put a lot of weight on your gutters causing fastener detachment and damage. Be observant year-round for signs of a needed cleaning or repair. Schedule a set time in the late spring and fall season for some routine maintenance. During the winter months, you’ll want to monitor gutters for ice damns.
How do I clean and repair my gutters?
- When cleaning gutters it is important to be safe. Use a sturdy ladder placed firmly and level on the ground. Use thick work gloves for protection from sharp screws and metal parts. Clean gutters by first scooping out loose debris. Blast gutters with a high-powered hose. Scrub out any extra dirt or grime. Be sure all downspouts are clear and aligned properly. If there appears to be an obstruction in it, use a hose first and if that doesn’t work, a plumber’s auger should do the trick.
- Most gutter repairs are fairly simple to accomplish on your own. Start by checking for leaks, holes, and loose gutter spikes. Spikes often come out of their holes due to wear and tear over the years. New spikes should be purchased and installed, allowing you to have secure gutters once again. Joints and seams should be checked for leaks. If repairs are necessary, clean the area thoroughly and apply silicone caulk for a seal. If rips and tears are present, you may have to consider replacing old gutters for new ones.
- Downspouts need to be checked for proper drainage. Add a downspout extender or splash block to divert water further away from your home.
What can happen if I don’t clean and repair my gutters?
- Gutters that become too heavy from debris can cause extra strain or breakage of fasteners and spikes. That can also mean damage to the boards that anchor them to the roof.
- Water that builds up from a clogged gutter can cause water damage to your homes roof and siding.
- A gutters main purpose is to lead water away from your home. Poor drainage can lead to soil erosion causing possible foundation, sidewalk, or driveway damage. Extra water landing at the base of your home can also mean flooding in basements and crawl spaces. Water in these places can quickly develop into a bigger problem like mold.
- Pooled water from clogs can also be the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. The last thing you want is itchy-bites and the possibility of diseases that these bugs can carry.
Neglecting your gutters can mean big trouble down the road. Plan ahead and protect your home from water damage with some simple maintenance routines. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable doing your own repairs or cleaning, there are companies that will come out and take care of these tasks for you.
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