Cleaning out your gutters every few months can feel like a hassle, which causes you to put it off time and time again. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, they need regular cleaning and inspection. Without gutter maintenance, they can collapse, fall off the house and ultimately cause water damage to your home. Ones that are clogged or overflowing can be worse than having no gutters at all. Cluttered gutters can create wet basements, rot and leaks at your roof’s edge and even siding damage—all of which leads to expensive repair bills.
Signs of Neglect
One sign of a clog is water in your basement. When water can’t flow through the gutters and away from the house, it will overflow out of the top and pool at the foundation. Eventually, this water finds its way through the concrete and begins to erode the foundation. This may start as a damp basement but can snowball into cracked basement walls and potentially a collapsed home.
Another sign is rot on wood structures near the gutters due to constant water exposure. For homes with wood siding, the risk of wood rot from clogged gutters increases, and can result in rotten siding that needs to be replaced. After enough constant saturation, the boards will rot and fall off the house, possibly taking the gutters with them.
During the winter months, ice dams are created when water in the gutters freezes, causing water to pool on the roof. During a thaw, the water seeps beneath the shingles and damages the interior of your home. This type of water damage can create expensive repairs, including replacement of shingles, insulation, dry wall and flooring.
Become a Gutter Cleaning Pro
Luckily, gutter cleaning is usually a job you can do yourself, and most homes only require you cleaning twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Even if you have a gutter guard for leaves, you’ll still want to keep an eye on them. For homeowners new to gutter maintenance, here are some helpful tips:
- Buy a good-quality ladder: Make sure your ladder has a standoff stabilizer bracket. You’ll also need thick rubber gloves, a scooper and a bucket to collect debris.
- Don’t lean your ladder against gutters: Keep your body inside the ladder rails with one hand always on the ladder. Never hold a gutter for support and don’t clean them in the rain.
- Scoop out leaves and debris: Avoid the temptation to use a leaf blower as they can throw off your balance on the ladder.
- If your downspout is plugged: Stick your hose down the spout and try to break the clog with gentle water pressure. Don’t try to blast the dirt away because you’ll end up with a face full of grime and the downspout is more fragile than other pipes.
- Try a plumber’s snake: If it’s still plugged, the problem is likely in the elbow of the pipe. Disconnect it by removing the screws and cleaning it. If your downspout flows into an underground pipe, you may want to disconnect it before cleaning so you don’t inadvertently clog the drain pipe or dry well.
Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, don’t procrastinate when it comes to your gutter maintenance. It could cost you! To make sure you’re covered for water damage, contact us today!