Gutters are a very important part of your property. Gutters are designed to catch the water that rolls off the roof from rain or snow and carry it to an area where it can drain properly. This keeps water from collecting in areas that cannot drain and lead to water damage in other parts of the property. Any time water damage is involved, there is a potential for mold proliferation, extending the damage from the structure of the property to also impacting the health of those living there.
DAMAGE FROM CLOGGED AND BROKEN GUTTERS
Landscaping. Water can fall or pool in your landscaping, drowning your plants or eroding the soil. Both will deteriorate the appearance of the property and depending on the extent, can be costly to repair.
Foundation. Water that doesn’t drain properly can collect at the foundation of your property. It may seep in and flood your basement or create a moist environment to for mold to grow. If the water remains on the exterior it can soften the soil and lead to cracks in the foundation. If it doesn’t drain and the temperatures get cold enough to freeze, the freezing and thawing can also lead to foundation damage. If this continues for a prolonged period of time, it is possible that this damage can jeopardize the structural integrity of the property.
Exterior. Water from overflowing and improperly functioning gutters can run down the side of the building. The damage may appear to only affect the surface, but often there is some rotten wood in the soffit and fascia around the gutter. If left unchecked, the rot can spread and soften spots of the roof, giving rodents easier access to the attic.
Roof. Clogged gutters will continue to collect water. As temperatures drop, the water will freeze. This can further damage the gutters and keep the snow from draining off the roof properly. This can lead to the formation of ice dams, where the water from melting snow does not drain, but instead moves up under the shingles, damaging and compromising the structural integrity of the roof and other interior structures.
WHEN TO CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS
It is important to keep gutters clean so that they can function properly and protect the property. A good rule of thumb is to clean out your gutters every spring and fall.
Do the spring cleaning after the maple trees release the helicopter seed pods and the flowering trees release their petals as new leaves emerge.
Make sure to clean again in the fall after the trees shed their leaves as they prepare to go dormant for the winter.
The debris from trees can build up and impede the ability for water to move through the gutter to an area where it can drain. It also makes a very inviting home for rodents and pests. Bees and wasps, among others, can easily use this material to make your gutters their home.
HOW TO CLEAN GUTTERS
To properly clean any gutters, you will need a ladder. You will have to get above the gutter to get into the gutter to clear it properly. Make sure you wear long sleeves and gloves to protect yourself from anything sharp that might be lodged in there, or from any spider or insect that may bite or sting. It is best practice to wear shoes (not flip flops or bare feet) so that standing on the ladder is most comfortable and your feet are protected. You can also protect your lawn and landscaping by having a bucket or a tarp to throw the debris into as you clean.
- Set up your ladder where you would like to start. Make sure that the ladder is stable and secure. It is best practice to have someone hold the ladder for you; however, if you are working alone, take time to ensure your safety.
- Using your protected hand or a scoop, remove the gunk and clutter from the gutter and put it in the bucket or tarp for easy disposal. Work your way from one end to the other.
- Flush the gutters with water to check for any leaks or clogs in the downspout.
- Examine the final area where water is carried. Make sure that it is far enough away from the foundation and the water is able to drain and does not pool or stay.
Continue to clear and flush the gutters until the water drains properly and is carried away from the property to an area where it can drain. If it does not drain properly at ground level, it is best to call a professional who can create a drainage system that works properly.
If you notice any signs of water damage or mold, call us! We have to know about the problem in order to take care of it; and when it comes to water damage, we want to take care of it asap.