One very important part of home maintenance is cleaning out the gutters. While they might be easy to forget about, keeping them clean and taken care of is essential for protecting your walls, roof, foundation and pretty much the entire structural integrity of your home.
Although it’s common for your gutters to be out of sight, out of mind, they’re always working to protect your home from water damage. Meanwhile, they’re also filling up with dirt, leaves and other debris that can cause them to not function properly or even cause damage over time.
If protecting your home is a priority to you, it’s important to learn more about what you can do to keep debris build up under control and your gutters, even your best gutter guards, functioning properly. You might decide to hire a professional to take care of it or find a way to do it yourself. Either way you choose, it must be done to avoid the many consequences that can occur. Keep reading to learn about when to clean your gutters and why it’s so essential to protecting your home.
Best Time to Clean Gutters
At the very least, it’s important to clean out the gutters once a year. However, it’s more likely that they’ll require more than just one cleaning. There are many different times of year and weather conditions that may cause extra build up of debris. Depending on the area and type of climate you live in, some times of the year may cause heavier buildup than others. It’s best to determine when you’ll need it most and schedule time to do it each year.
The best thing to do is keep a schedule of when you’ll do your regular cleanings. Here are some of the best times to keep in mind when deciding when you’ll need to give the gutters a cleaning:
If you live in a cooler climate, you know that winter is not the time to be outside doing this particular chore. Once things start to warm up in the spring, it’s the perfect time to get up there and clear out the gutters. Some leaves and debris might have been stuck and frozen for a while. It’s also a good idea to check for any cracks or damage that could’ve been caused by the weight of ice or snow.
You also really want to make sure that they’re clean and ready to work through rainy spring weather. Heavy showers can wash the finer debris down off you roof that can quickly block and add extra weight to the gutter, so it’s best to start out with a clean slate.
This seems like an obvious one. Fall brings lots and lots of leaves. If you have any trees around your house, your gutters can fill up pretty quickly. Even if there are no trees directly around your home, strong winds can blow debris into your gutters.
It’s best to keep them clear, especially if you live in colder climates where freezing weather occurs. Full gutters hold water, and if that water freezes, it puts a lot of excess weight and stress on your gutter system. Allowing the gutters to hold too much weight for too long can cause them to crack or break.
If summer is a dry season in your area, it’s essential to keep the gutters clean because build up of dry leaves can be a major fire hazard. If you know you live in a high risk area, this should be a top priority for you.
Additionally, some types of trees will shed some of their leaves during the hot summer months. These include trees like pine and eucalyptus. If you have any of these trees, or other trees that are prone to shedding the heat, summer might be time that you should schedule a gutter cleaning.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Gutter
The main function of your gutter system is to divert rainfall from seeping into your home and leading to an appropriate area to drain. It’s specifically designed to collect water, and in turn also collects everything else that falls into it.
A major part of being a responsible homeowner is doing regular preventative maintenance on the inside and outside of your house. Neglecting to clear out the gutters can have many consequences that can cause you a lot of grief and might even end up costing you a lot of money in repairs.
A Leaky Roof
When leaves, dirt, sticks and other types of debris build up in the gutters, it can cause them to become clogged and water to overflow into places it’s not supposed to. It can seep into the roof and into the interior of your home causing costly water damage.
Over time, continued water exposure can lead to cracking and rotting. To repair damages like these can cost you thousands of dollars. This kind of damage can also cause you a lot of trouble and grief should you ever decide to try and sell you home.
This is especially an issue if you live in a climate that freezes. It’s common for water to gather in blocked gutters and cause ice dams.
Preventing The Breeding of Pests
Rodents and insects are a common household problem that require a lot of care to prevent. Having build up in your gutters is a breeding ground for all kinds of pesky pests. Mice, rats, mosquitoes, bees and more would than love to make your gutters their home.
Dried leaves and sticks make great bedding for rodents that will eventually begin to invade your home. They can cause damage to your house and furniture, as well expose your family and pets to a variety of diseases with their urine and feces. Not to mention all the extra pests they bring with them, such a mites and fleas.
Standing water buildup caused by blockages are perfect nest for mosquitoes to lay their eggs - this can be a real burden and nuisance if you enjoy having outdoor gatherings. Save yourself from the annoyance and the cost of an exterminator by simply scheduling regular cleanings.
Along with the annoyance and unpleasant look of water damage, water buildup and leaking can cause mold. Not only is mold in your home unsightly, it can be hazardous to breathe in and potentially cause health issues in your or your family members. It’s especially dangerous for people with asthma, allergies and breathing issues to be exposed to mold.Sometimes mold isn’t easy to detect and requires a professional to come out and properly test. Once it’s determined that mold is present, the cost to treat it can be very high and sometimes take quite a while. It can damage your home and belongings.
Reduce Your Risk of Brush Fires
If you’ve ever built a camp or bonfire, you know that the perfect timber is dried leaves and brush. If you live in a hot, dry climate, it’s essential to do everything you can to minimize your chances of having a fire. A fire on your roof can be devastating to the entire house and very difficult to control once it’s begun. All it takes is the tinies spark or ember to start a roaring fire.During long periods of heat and drought, fresh leaves will die and become dry and crunchy. Keeping the gutters clear of dried debris is one of the many important precautions you take to protect your home, especially in the summer months.
Protect The Gutter System
The gutters are actually quite small and thin if you think about it. When they begin to fill up and water or heavier debris build up, it adds extra weight to the entire system. This extra weight and stress can cause them to crack, or worse, break away from the house. Not only will you have to spend a pretty penny to get the gutters repaired or replaced, but you’ll most likely need to get your roof repaired as well. When the gutters pull and break away from the structure of the home it can cause more extensive damage to the home itself.
When the gutters begin to drip
In general, it’s good to keep an eye out for unusual dripping or overflow coming from the gutters. Sometimes you might notice dripping or overflowing outside of your regular scheduled cleaning times. This is a good time to schedule an inspection and/or cleaning.
Ideally, you won’t let the gutters get this point. However, if it does end up happening, this may be an indication that your gutters need to be cleaned out more than once or twice a year. If that is the case, you know you need to schedule extra time for gutter maintenance. Hiring a professional several times a year can really add up financially and it might be worth your while to invest in a tool that will allow you to easily clean them yourself.
Product to Review
Some homeowners may choose to hire a professional to take care of the daunting task of cleaning the gutters, but others prefer to do it on their own. It’s a great way to save some extra money, especially if you already hire people to take care of other housework for you, as it can be a bit expensive. This typically would require you to purchase a ladder and climb up to the roof and manually grab, scoop or shovel the debris out by hand.
If you do decide to clean your own gutters there are some products out there that can make it much quicker, easier and less terrifying.
Cleaning your gutters the traditional way yourself can be quite dangerous. Every year, there are countless ladder related injuries and even some deaths. Gutter Fingers eliminates the need to climb up to the roof and makes cleaning out your gutters a safe, and even fun, task.
With Gutter Fingers, you’re able to clean safely clean the gutters of your 1- or 2 story home while staying grounded. This tool is essentially a grabber that opens and closes to grip and grab leaves, sticks and other debris from your roof and gutters. All you need to do is attach Gutter Fingers to a standard pool cleaning pole.
It’s very lightweight, making it easy for the whole family to use. To operate the grabber, you simply tighten and loosen the attached rope. It gives you the ability to easily maintain and clean out your gutters anytime. Regularly clearing out leaves and debris can help you avoid having to do a few big, heavy cleanouts every year. Not to mention, it can also really lower the chances of your gutters taking any damage from excessive buildup that could cost you a lot in repairs.
- Easy-to-use, lightweight design
- Strong grip allows for large bundles of debris to be picked up at once
- Reaches over 16ft
The gutter system around your home does more for you than you may realize. It prevents unsightly water damage and by diverting any rainwater away from your home. While it’s so useful and helpful in that sense, the gutter can also cause you a lot of issues if not maintained.
Cleaning out your gutters is a must when it comes to home maintenance. Depending where you live, there are certain times of year that a cleaning may be more needed - such as during the winter, spring, summer or fall. It’s also important to take into account how many trees you have, what kind they are and if they experience any seasonal shedding that might cause the gutters to fill up faster.
You can either choose to hire a professional to come out and take care of it for you or do it yourself. There are plenty of products available - like the Gutter Fingers grabber - that can help you take care of it with ease. When in doubt, it’s best to just get them cleaned sooner rather than later to avoid any issues that come with blockages.