As a homeowner, gutter maintenance becomes easy to overlook—especially since it’s not the most fun activity for an afternoon. People tend to procrastinate or forget about cleaning their gutters until it becomes too late.
But, keeping your gutter clean is essential for a safe and long-lasting home. Not doing so can end up leading to significant and costly headaches. While it may be an inconvenience for a couple of hours, the effort is well worth it in the long run.
Gutters in Connecticut are particularly more susceptible to damage because of the amount of rainfall the city gets. Constant precipitation and freezing temperatures can lead to overflow or leakage if a gutter gets clogged. Thankfully, there are exceptional gutter cleaners in Connecticut.
Gutter neglect can lead to all kinds of damages on your roof, the exterior of your house, and even your driveway. That is why it’s imperative to know when and how often to clean your gutter so that you can prevent disaster.
What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Gutters?
When it comes to gutters, everything can seem fine—until it’s not. When you dismiss caring for your gutter, suddenly, the years add up, and you realize you have a big problem on your hands. Depending on the damage, it may be too late, and you’ll have to replace the gutter altogether.
But, all hope is not lost! You can prevent getting to that point by knowing what kind of consequences you might face if you leave this chore unchecked.
When you don’t clean your gutters, the downspout can get clogged from leaves, debris, or any matter that can wind up there. This blockage then leaves standing water to collect and eventually overflow.
Left unattended to, the leaves that clog up your gutter can begin to decompose and eventually rot. In a wet climate, like in the Pacific Northwest, mold will start to grow and thrive, leaving the exterior of your gutter blackened and looking filthy. Even worse, this mold can lead to a slew of health problems if it enters your house, and getting rid of it is expensive and inconvenient.
You might not realize that neglecting your gutters can even lead to replacing your entire roof—which is no small or cheap feat. When you have a clogged gutter, rainwater has nowhere left to go but overflow or soak through your shingles and leak into your home. Your shingles then become softened and significantly damaged, allowing for more leakage from rainfall.
The weight of the rainwater can also cause the gutter to rip and damage your roof. Not only would you have to replace your roof and gutter, but you may have to deal with water damage within your home.
Bugs, Insects, and Pests
When leaves decompose, it starts to attract unwanted tenants like bugs, pests, and other critters. The rotting leaves are a rich and accessible food source that draws in all sorts of pests to your gutter—making them one step closer to entering your home.
Another consequence you might not even realize is that a clogged gutter can lead to destruction to your driveway and yard. When there’s poor drainage, the excess water can pool up and cause mold growth on your driveway. In the winter months, that water could freeze and turn into ice that causes dangerous slips and falls.
While all of these outcomes might terrify you, know that you’re still ahead of the problem. Now that you know what could happen when you neglect gutter maintenance, here you can learn how to spot potential damage.
How Do You Find Damage From Unclean Gutters?
While the best first line of defence is cleaning your gutters routinely, there are a few warning signs you can look out for to make sure that the problem doesn’t progress to something more serious.
- Age: How old are your gutters? Typically gutters only last 15-20 years until you need to replace them. Depending on how old it is, it might be more susceptive to damage if you don’t do routine checks.
- Pooling: If you notice pools of water around your lawn or driveway, you may be experiencing some drainage issues from your gutter.
- Water inside: A key indicator that you might have some water drainage or leakage issue is finding it inside the home.
- Dripping gutters: When gutters drip or water doesn’t flow through properly, it’s almost a surefire sign of a clogged pipe.
When Should You Clean Your Gutters
So really, how often should you clean your gutters? Most professionals recommend you to have your gutters inspected at least 1-2 times a year in the spring and fall.
But where you live also plays a factor. For gutter cleaning in Connecticut, where it rains the majority of the year, you might have to have it done more frequently, especially if your home is beside trees that shed often.
Or, if you live in a city that gets below freezing temperatures in the wintertime, your primary concern would be checking your gutters right before winter to prevent any water blockages from freezing up and cause damage to your roof.
Another instance for when you should clean your gutters is after a severe weather storm. Leaves, branches, and debris might find their way to your roof and gutter, causing sudden blockages.
What’s the Best Way to Clean Gutters?
There are two ways you can take care of your gutters; you can do it yourself or hire professional gutter cleaners. Both are excellent options depending on what your comfort level is.
Doing it yourself isn’t that complicated; it requires a ladder and getting your hands dirty. However, it can be exhausting, time-consuming, and unsafe if you’re not careful.
Remembering these tips will keep you safe and protected while cleaning your gutters:
- Wear goggles: you might think you don’t need protective equipment to clear out some leaves, but dirt and debris could get into your eyes if you’re not wearing goggles.
- Have a friend help you: Being on a ladder can be hazardous if you’re not careful. Wear a hard hat, have a friend secure your ladder, and watch for a potential fall.
- Prepare your materials beforehand: You might have to use a hose, sealant, or plumber’s snake tool to get the job done, so make sure you safely place equipment where you can easily reach them. Having to go up and down the ladder only opens you up to more chances of injury.
Additional tips for cleaning your gutters:
- Look out for leaks and use a high-quality sealant to stop water from seeping through the gutter.
- Dispose of the rubbish you retrieve from your gutter in a garbage bag. Don’t clean one mess only to leave another mess elsewhere!
- Check your downspouts for clogs. While you might’ve cleared your gutter, the downspout could still have a blockage that prevents water from draining freely.
- Ensure your gutters are securely attached to your roof. If it’s not connected to the fascia, the longboard that lines your roof, the damage may be more severe, and you might have to remove and replace your gutter.
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