Gutters serve an important purpose in protecting your home, so it’s worthwhile to keep them cleaned out so they can function properly. They can do their all-important job only if they’re properly positioned and clear from debris. Let’s take a detailed look at how gutters can be helpful in protecting what’s probably your biggest investment as well as how to keep them clean.
Gutter-Related Problems You Want To Avoid
Along with the connected downspouts, gutters help direct water away from your home’s structure. By directing water away from your home’s perimeter, gutters can help you avoid water damage to your home’s exterior and its foundation as well as from entering your basement, causing damage to your home as well as its contents. If you allow debris to bog down your gutters, over time the added weight can actually loosen gutters and make them pull away from where they are attached, potentially damaging your home’s siding or trim.
Depending on where you live, freezing temperatures can combine with clogged gutters, causing ice dams. Ice dams are formed when water overflows the edges of a gutter and freezes. The weight can cause the gutter to pull away from your home’s structure, requiring costly repairs, and can also force water into your home, causing significant damage.
In addition to the direct issues caused by debris, the damp shelter offered by such an environment can become home to a variety of vermin, including mosquitoes, carpenter ants, and even small rodents.
Gutter-Cleaning Tips with Safety First
You can help avoid the majority of gutter-related issues by cleaning and inspecting them bi-annually in the spring and in the fall. (If your home is surrounded by trees, you may need to clean out your gutters on a more regular basis.) You may also want to take a look on a monthly basis to make sure debris hasn’t collected in your gutters and make it a habit to notice whether water flows freely through the downspouts during and after rain.
If your gutters are high enough to require you to use a ladder, you may want to consider hiring a professional to clean your gutters. (Often, hiring professionals will also offer insight into any damage, leaks, or repair needs.)
In case you decide to DIY gutter cleaning, you’ll want to collect these items, first:
- Dust Mask (to keep you from breathing in any dust and dirt)
- Goggles (to protect your eyes from debris)
- Gloves (to protect your hands from any sharp objects)
- Ladder (be sure to have someone available as a spotter, too)
- Garden trowel (to scoop debris instead of having to use your hands)
- Bucket (to collect any debris that you do remove)
- Garden hose (to wash out any remaining dirt)
With proper gutter maintenance, you’ll be able to protect your home from water damage, protecting your investment.