The roof’s gutters are an important aspect of a home. They protect the home by diverting water away from the building. However, the gutters must be free of debris and blockages to perform this task. Understanding the reasons and methods for keeping gutters clean is necessary for maintaining a home.
Why Gutters Need to Be Clean
When it rains, water slides down the slope of the home’s roof and into the gutters. The gutters then direct the water safely away from the structure. If the water is not properly diverted, it could pose serious risks to the property. Clogs in the gutters will stop the water from flowing as it should. Proper gutter cleaning prevents clogs from occurring.
If clogs are not prevented or cleared before a storm, the water is unable to flow away from the home. If it cannot flow properly, the water will pour over the sides of the gutters. That may cause water damage to the siding on the home but can also saturate the ground and, eventually, seep into the basement and foundation, creating serious and expensive damage.
Some clogs may prevent the water from leaving the roof. The water will then pool and damage the roofing materials. Eventually, the water will cause enough damage that it enters the home. Once the roof begins to leak, it can wreak all sorts of havoc. From damaged materials to risks of mold and other issues, a roof leak is a major issue for any home.
When Should Gutters Be Cleaned?
A lot of debris can build up in the gutters throughout the year. Experts recommend that a home’s gutters are cleaned at least twice a year. Some homeowners may need to perform this task more often, especially if there are trees that are close to or hang over the roof.
Early spring and late fall are the most frequently recommended times to clean the gutters due to the increase of issues that occur during these seasons. However, every season has its risks and issues that can wreak havoc on a home’s gutter system, leaving them full of debris and clogs that need to be cleared to keep a home safe and protected.
Cleaning the gutters in the early spring is a great way to get the house ready for the frequent rain this season can bring. Some people think a springtime cleaning may be the most important cleaning the gutters receive.
In the spring, the gutters may have remnants of the fall leaves and tree debris that settled on the roof and made their way into the gutter system. Early seed pods from trees and pollen may also be building up in the system. Cleaning during the spring also allows homeowners the opportunity to identify any damage that may have occurred over the harsh winter months.
By the summer months, everything is in full bloom. Small animals and birds are enjoying the weather and building nests and homes in any space they can find. Sometimes, that space is the home’s gutters. Tree sap may even be dripping into the gutters and creating a big mess.
The summer months are often the time when less cleaning of the gutters is necessary. However, homeowners must watch the water flow to ensure there are no clogs or problems. A bird’s nest or an accumulation of debris from the shingles could quickly create a problem. When this occurs, a day cleaning the gutters may be in order.
Although many consider the spring most important for gutter cleaning, the fall often brings the most clogs and debris. Cleaning the gutters late in the fall is a necessity for any home. The fall months bring lots of leaves from deciduous trees. These leaves fall on the roof and make their way deep into the home’s gutters.
If the leaves are not removed from the gutters, it will prevent water flow and most likely will lead to damage to the home. This is also the time to check for pests and their remnants in the gutters. If there are any openings around your roof, pests will make their way into the home to avoid the upcoming winter months. Cleaning the gutters gives homeowners an opportunity to look identify any damage to their roofs.
If proper care of the gutters has been taken, they will not need to be cleaned during the cold winter months. However, homeowners need to keep an eye on the gutters during this time. Iced-over gutters can be a sign of a big problem for the home.
Even just a bit of debris could slow the water flow in the gutters. If this happens, that water can freeze and create an ice dam. If left uncorrected, the ice buildup can grow to become a large ice block over the gutters and the roof itself. Heavy ice on the gutters and roof can lead to serious damage to the home. It is important to remove ice dams as soon as possible to prevent further issues.
Before taking on the task of cleaning the gutters, homeowners should consider their safety first. If they’re unsure how to proceed or inexperienced with such a job, hiring a professional may be the safest option. The experts are experienced and equipped to perform the cleaning safely and efficiently.
Always stay safe when using a ladder, and never climb above the top level marked by the manufacturer of the ladder. Ensure the ladder is in a flat and stable area and avoid any wet ground. It may also be a good idea to have a partner to help with the job to ensure the safety of both individuals.
Preventing Clogs and Debris
There are methods for homeowners to help reduce or prevent the debris that makes its way into the home’s gutters. There are gutter guards that can be installed over gutters to prevent debris from entering. These mesh shields allow water to enter the gutters but keep larger items out of the system.
Although often overlooked by homeowners, the home’s gutter system plays an important role in protecting the structure from water damage. Proper care of this system will ensure it performs its job properly for the life of the home.