No one wants to throw a gutter ball, and no one wants their business to wind up "in the gutter." In bowling and in life, it seems, gutters get a bad rap.
In the world of home improvement, however, gutters are essential to your property's value and structural integrity. Regular gutter cleaning is an important part of your responsibilities as a homeowner.
Read on to learn more about the importance of gutter cleaning.
The Importance of Gutters
Gutters are an essential part of your home's structure. Clean gutters keep your home functional and structurally sound by allowing water to drain away from the roof, walls, and foundation.
Gutters protect the exterior roof and interior ceilings of your home. When it rains or snows, water can pool on the roof. Over time, standing water can lead to leaks. Fortunately, gutters prevent standing water and leaks in your roof.
By draining water from the roof and away from the house, gutters also divert water from pooling on the ground around your home. In this way, gutters defend your home's foundation from water damage.
Gutters also protect your siding. Without gutters—or when gutters are clogged—rainwater or snowmelt cascades directly off the side of the roof. Eventually, this can seriously damage your home siding.
Finally, gutters safeguard the landscaping that surrounds your home. Gutters shield against a torrent of water flowing directly from the roof causing soil erosion or overpowering of fragile plants.
If you live in a region with seasonal snow or rain, like DuPage, IL, your home’s gutters get a lot of wear and tear and require maintenance and cleaning to keep water flowing smoothly.
The Importance of Gutter Cleaning
Gutters protect your home from various types of damage. Clogged gutters provide none of those protections. In fact, clogged gutters can produce even more problems like leaks and structural damage.
Regular gutter cleaning, during both the spring and fall seasons, defends your home against several potential problems that if ignored, could lead to more serious damage to your home.
1. Clean Your Gutters to Avoid a Leaky Roof
When it rains, clean gutters prevent water from pooling on the roof. But if the gutters are clogged, then you’ll find that pools of water start forming. Over time, this water can damage soffits and fascia. Water can also seep beneath the shingles causing further devastating problems inside your home.
Water that penetrates the surface of the roof continues its path of destruction—wreaking havoc on your home's interior. Structures at risk include your home's drywall, framing, insulation, and ceilings.
Winter weather heightens the risk of these types of damage. Each winter, Mother Nature deposits loads of snow on Illinois roofs. As the snow melts, it can likewise cause leaks.
However, ongoing snowmelt can be even more dangerous. Since your house is heated, the snow on the roof won't wait for spring or even the next warm spell to melt.
As heat from your home escapes through the roof of your house, snow on the roof begins to melt. As it melts, the meltwater drains toward the edges of your home.
If the gutters are clean, this is their time to shine. Clean gutters allow snowmelt to drain away from your home before it can refreeze.
However, If your gutters are clogged, snowmelt collects along the edge of your roof. On these colder surfaces, snowmelt refreezes. In time, the ice that gathers here becomes a dam and additional snowmelt backs up behind it.
Once again, this backup of water puts your home's roof, soffits, fascia, and interior structures at risk.
2. Clean Your Gutters to Protect Your Attic
Clogged gutters lead to leaky roofs. Leaky roofs allow moisture to enter your home. Even small amounts of moisture in the attic of your home can cause discoloration and wood rot. This type of damage threatens your home's structural integrity.
However, it also threatens your stored belongings and other valuable items you may have placed in the attic.
Moisture also encourages pests to set up shop in your home. Common pests, such as termites, love moist and dark locations like attics and basements. These pests, in turn, can cause further problems and damage to your home.
3. Clean Your Gutters to Protect Your Windows
The path of water that flows from a clogged gutter into the roof, and even into the attic of your home, is relatively easy to follow. The connection between clean gutters and clean windows is less obvious, but no less important.
Clean gutters allow for windows to stay clean and free from condensation. When water enters the interior structures of your home, moisture also permeates the air. As this warm, moisture-laden air meets cold surfaces like windows, it condenses.
This condensation obscures your view and creates unsightly streaks. Besides these inconveniences, window condensation can be much more worrisome. As condensation enters the window frames and sills, it can cause these wood structures to decay.
Thus, clean gutters are necessary and allow for windows, frames, and sills to stay clean and strong.
4. Clean Your Gutters to Protect Your Basement
Industry experts estimate that 14,000 homes suffer water damage every day. And even more surprisingly, 98% of basements will incur water damage at least once over the life of a home.
Water damage arises from various sources. These include broken pipes, sump pumps, or hot water tanks. However, moisture damage in your basement can also begin with water that pools outside your home.
When water pools around the foundation of your home, it can seep into the foundation itself. Concrete is a porous material. As such, it absorbs moisture. Eventually, this moisture can cause the concrete to break down.
As the concrete breaks down and cracks begin to form, the foundation of your home can shift. In the cold weather, this moisture can freeze and cause existing cracks to expand.
You may eventually notice cracks in your walls and floors. You may also notice that doors and windows become sticky as your home becomes uneven.
Preventing water damage requires the ongoing fulfillment of home maintenance projects. Among these projects, the regular maintenance of your gutters is a smart move in defending your house.
Clean gutters and well-positioned downspouts divert water away from your home's foundation. As such, water that is prevented from pooling around your foundation is water that is stopped from infiltrating your home.
If your gutters are clogged, however, water won't reach the downspouts and the intended drainage area. Rather, it will overflow the gutters and pool around the home's foundation.
5. Clean Your Gutters to Protect Your Siding
In addition to the basement and attic, your home's siding is another common entry point for damaging moisture.
Once again, clean gutters work to prevent this moisture by diverting the water flow from your roof through the gutters and downspout to an appropriate drainage area.
But when gutters are clogged, water pours over the edges and easily down the siding of your home.
Siding that has suffered water damage can exhibit unsightly water spots or discoloration. It can also create an environment that is hospitable to bacteria and pests. Finally, damaged siding can provide another gateway for water to enter your home.
6. Clean Your Gutters to Protect Your Landscaping
When water overflows off the sides of clogged gutters, it can overwhelm the plants that line the foundation of your home. It can also cause soil and mulch to erode, creating frequent, messy, and expensive cleanups.
7. Clean Your Gutters to Avoid Setting up a Hotel for Pests
The problems related to clogged gutters most often involve water damage. However, there are other potential issues as well.
Leaves, sticks, and other debris accumulated within your gutters make ideal homes for pests. These include rodents, birds, and insects.
Attracted by a protected location and a convenient supply of materials, squirrels can build nests and bees can construct hives. The additional weight of such nests can compromise your gutters which were not designed to board unwanted pests. Besides structural instability, clogged gutters can also put dangerous swarms of bees within proximity to you and your family.
Pooling water from clogged gutters can also provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are more than just pests. The diseases mosquitoes carry are also potential health hazards.
8. Clean Your Gutters to Avoid Dangerous Icicles and Ice Patches
Clogged gutters can damage your roof, your home's interior, siding, and landscaping. However, clogged gutters can also threaten your physical safety.
When snowmelt meets a clogged gutter, it eventually overflows. When this overflow encounters cold air, the snowmelt refreezes and icicles form.
Besides the strain of an additional weight, icicles can potentially fall on you, your family, or your guests. Icicle injuries can be serious and even fatal.
Slips and falls are another winter weather safety hazard. If snowmelt makes it to the ground before it refreezes, it can create ice patches around stairways and entryways.
The CDC estimates that more than 1 million Americans are injured from falls on ice or snow. As many as 17,000 people die from these accidents. Studies confirm that fall-related emergency room visits increase significantly during the winter months.
Cleaning your gutters to prevent clogs can reduce your risk of these injuries. They can also protect you from a lawsuit if a visitor falls on your property.
Gutter Cleaning: A Do-It-Yourself Job or a Job for the Professionals
Semi-annually cleaning your gutters, during the fall and spring, protects your home and family from a host of troubles. It also increases your home’s overall value.
Because the work itself isn’t complicated, many homeowners choose to tackle this type of maintenance themselves. However, cleaning gutters remains among the most dreaded tasks on a homeowner’s to-do list. DIY gutter cleaning can also expose you to significant dangers.
Homeowners who choose to clean their gutters on their own expose themselves to the risk of serious injury. Orthopedic surgeons treat more than 500,000 people for ladder-related falls each year. At least 300 of these falls are fatal.
Cleaning the gutters yourself involves using a ladder and exposing yourself to these risks.
It also means exposing yourself to the risk of cuts, eye injuries, and insect bites. Safely cleaning the gutters yourself requires adequate safety measures, including goggles and gloves.
Even with these safety measures, however, inexperience and the element of surprise can create dangerous circumstances.
A homeowner who is not accustomed to working on a ladder may find the climb distressingly unstable. If startled by a beehive or a tree branch in the eye, this instability can spell disaster.
Hiring a gutter cleaning service provides homeowners with the ultimate personal and property protection solution. Gutter cleaning providers, like Mr. Handyman of Wheaton-Hinsdale, have significant experience using ladders and taking proper safety precautions to get the job done right.
Besides safety, the advantages of hiring a gutter cleaning expert include efficiency.
Many homeowners put off cleaning their gutters because the task—while seemingly simple—can be time-consuming. Spending the better part of a day on a ladder pulling sludge from the gutters isn't anyone's idea of fun.
Fortunately, gutter cleaning experts can provide your gutters with a thorough cleaning in a fraction of that time. They can also recommend additional improvements, like gutter guards, that can make gutter cleaning easier and even unnecessary in the future.
Finally, some companies that provide gutter cleaning services provide other home improvement and maintenance services as well. This means that their expertise extends beyond your gutters and can be that much more helpful to you. Mr. Handyman is such a company; our team is ready to deliver extensive home maintenance and repair expertise.
While cleaning your gutters, a Mr. Handyman professional can identify potential trouble spots around your home. Some of these trouble spots may arise from clogged gutters.
If you've been putting off a gutter cleaning and have developed additional problems as a result, a professional can help you address them. If they notice trouble spots unrelated to your gutters, they can identify these as well.
Finally, Mr. Handyman can help you set a maintenance schedule to prevent similar problems in the future.
Like cleaning the gutters, conducting regular inspections for your residential home or commercial business is an important component of preventative maintenance for your home.
Hire a Gutter Cleaning Service Expert Today
Gutters protect your roof, windows, siding, and landscape. They also protect the interior of your home from water damage. Finally, they protect you, your family, and your guests from health and safety hazards.
If your gutters are clogged, however, they can't provide these protections. Clogged gutters create additional problems for you and your home.
Hiring a gutter cleaning service is the best way to protect yourself from these problems. Contact the professionals at Mr. Handyman of Wheaton-Hinsdale today by calling or requesting service online.