Cleaning out gutters isn’t really how the majority of us want to spend our weekends, but it is a responsibility that comes along with homeownership. It takes some serious effort to maintain your roof and gutters, but the cost of not doing so can get expensive.
Keeping your gutters free of dead branches, rotting leaves and even birds’ nests elongates the life of your gutters. The whole purpose of gutters is to capture water and direct it away from your home. When debris accumulates in the downspouts and gutters it prevents water from flowing freely away from your property. It can create real problems and wind up being pricey to repair.
What Happens When You Don’t Clean Your Gutters?
Let’s face it, gutters aren’t a top priority for most homeowners. Cleaning your gutters is one of those chores that falls to the bottom of the to-do list. Of course, there are companies that offer gutter maintenance services, but even that expense can be a turn-off.
When you don’t clean your gutters, water collects and overflows, causing a great deal of damage to the exterior and interior of your home.
- Mold – Mold is a much more pervasive problem than one might expect. When gutters become clogged, water starts to pool. The stagnant water, combined with dead leaves and debris will start to grow mold. Mold can lead to a host of health problems if it makes its way inside your home. Mold remediation can get pricey when professionals need to be called in to treat it. It is best to not give it a place to thrive.
- Leaky & Damaged Roof – When your roof falls into disrepair it can mean bad news for the interior of your home, leading to leaks and potential water damage. When you put off cleaning your gutters it prevents water from draining away from the home during storms. The backed-up water can soak through shingles and trim, ultimately rotting them and leaving your home open to leaks. Roof replacement is a headache so extending the life of your current roof should be paramount to homeowners.
- Cracked Foundation – Cracked foundations can be a major problem. The downspouts of your gutters should be free of leaves and debris so that rainwater can be irrigated away from the property. This is especially important in the winter months. When puddles of rainwater start to collect they can freeze and expand, which can then crack the concrete of your driveway and foundation.
- Critters – Clogged gutters are a breeding ground for the creepy-crawlies. Decomposing leaves are a magnet for insects, and where they start to move in, so do bigger animals that eat bugs. If they start to make a home in your gutters, the next stop is inside your home.
- Slipping Hazard – Overall, any standing water on the outside of your home isn’t a good thing. Aside from the mold and the damage frozen water can do to the surrounding concrete and the foundation, it also is a hazard for anyone that needs to walk through it. Puddles of water can be slippery and be a hazard to adults and children alike.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?
Obviously, the frequency in which you clean your gutters has a lot to do with what part of the country you live in. Climates that get more rain and snowfall will require you to clean your gutters out more often to avoid mold and damage to your roof. Even in drier climates, dry leaves that gather in gutters can be a fire hazard.
Most roofing experts agree that cleaning your gutters twice a year is sufficient. Typically, homeowners should clean them in the late spring and again at the start of the fall months. But again, landscaping and location play a major role in when and how often you clean your gutters.
- Ice – Freezing water can pose a challenge. Any water that is allowed to sit and freeze will expand and potentially crack any surface it comes in contact with. For those that live in colder climates, making sure your gutters are free of debris is especially important.
- Trees – Having certain trees in your yard could mean that you need to clean out your gutters more often. Pine trees are gorgeous, but they do shed their needles year round that can really overburden your gutters if not checked and cleared every 3 months.
- Type of Gutters – Properly installed gutters should last you at least 20 years. What your gutters are made out of is also important. Vinyl and plastic gutters tend to not last as long as metal gutters. Seamless gutters, while more expensive, are the least likely to leak because there are no joints in them. Homeowners may also want to look into gutter guards, which will help keep leaves and other debris from getting into your gutters in the first place.
If your home is due for gutter repair, replacement or installation, it is important to call on a professional. Window World of Boston are reputable roofing contractors that will be able to assess the needs of your home and your budget. Contacting Window World of Boston is your best bet in making sure you save money in the long run and avoid further damage to your home or property.